NHL Simulation Says Vancouver Canucks Win in Game 7

Jake WestrichSenior Writer IJune 14, 2011

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 10:  Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins during Game Five of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Every now and then, a simulation squirrel finds a simulation nut.

Back on April 12, Whatifsports.com's NHL simulation engine simulated the entire 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs bracket 1,001 times. The end result placed the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks on the final two lines.

As a No. 3 seed, the boys from Beantown had the "best" chance of winning the Cup at 35.96 percent. The top seed out of the Western Conference, Vancouver, nipped at their heels with a 35.86 percent chance of winning it all.

The Canucks are in search of their franchise's first Stanley Cup. The Bruins have gone 39 years without drinking from the supersized goblet.

The good news for Vancouver is it has appeared to grow stronger as it advanced through the playoffs. The Canucks won the first round in seven games, the quarterfinals in six and the conference finals, over the Sharks, in five games. Boston hopped on a 7-4-7 (beat Montreal in seven, Philly in four, Tampa Bay in seven) to reach the Final.

2011 Stanley Cup Simulation Results
Matchup Win% Avg. Series Avg. Goals/GM WIS Interactive
Boston Bruins 42.8 3 1.93 Simulate Stanley Cup
Vancouver Canucks 57.2 4 2.30 for FREE!

Using the same NHL simulation engine that accurately predicted a Stanley Cup Final showcasing the Bruins and Canucks, we simulated the 2011 Final 1,001 more times. The Vancouver Canucks won 57.2 percent of the time by a series average of 4-3.

Now, before Boston fans fire off an e-mail wondering what happened to the initial 35.96 percent chance to win it all, let me explain. When we first simulated the entire bracket, Stanley Cup Final matchups would vary. So, when you see the Bruins with the best chance to win the Final, that win percentage encompassed wins over not only the Canucks, but the Sharks, Predators, Coyotes, etc.

The 35.96 winning percentage wasn't a case of Boston vs. Vancouver head to head. Thus, when faced with a team-specific matchup, the simulation believes the Bruins will fall in seven games the majority of the time.