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Behind the Numbers

Behind The Numbers

James Neal, Reilly Smith should key offense for Golden Knights

Vegas expected to be outshot often, will lean on Marc-Andre Fleury in shootouts

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

The Vegas Golden Knights had the freedom to craft their identity in any number of different ways in the NHL Expansion Draft. Based on the underlying numbers, general manager George McPhee opted for a roster that is at risk of getting outshot but that is focused on winning close games with grit and clutch scoring, and should be able to be successful in the shootout.

Among its 30 selections and the several additional players acquired through trades, the Golden Knights lineup will include top goal-scorer James Neal, do-it-all top-six forward Reilly Smith, hard-hitting defenseman Alexei Emelin, master shootout goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, and a defense with below-average shot-based metrics.

Here is a breakdown of some key numbers:

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Behind The Numbers

Predators could be winning Stanley Cup Final, according to metrics

Numbers show Nashville deserves better than to be trailing Penguins 2-0 in series

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

Two games into the Stanley Cup Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins have a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series and have outscored the Nashville Predators 9-4. On the surface, it appears the defending Stanley Cup champions could make short work of the Predators, but the underlying numbers suggest otherwise.

To many, the Predators appeared to outplay the Penguins in the first two games but struggled in goal and were on the wrong side of the bounces. If so, Nashville already is playing well enough to win the series and could do it with improved goaltending and a little bit of luck.

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Behind The Numbers

Behind the Numbers: Penguins vs. 1997-98 Red Wings

Pittsburgh trying to become first back-to-back champion since Detroit nearly two decades ago

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

If the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final, they will become the first team to win the Cup in back-to-back seasons since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

Any comparison to those Red Wings is flattering; they swept the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1997 Final and the Washington Capitals in the 1998 Final. The roster included eight members of the Hockey Hall of Fame: forwards Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov, defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Larry Murphy and Slava Fetisov, and coach Scotty Bowman.

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Behind The Numbers

Penguins vs. Predators key statistics

Matchup between Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, Pittsburgh offense could determine Stanley Cup champion

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

Competing in the Stanley Cup Final is nothing new for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are doing so for the fourth time in 10 seasons. But it will be a first for the Nashville Predators, who had won three Stanley Cup Playoff series since entering the NHL in 1998-99 before matching that total this season.

According to the numbers, the Cup Final will feature back-and-forth games featuring high-scoring top lines and excellent goaltending that could be decided by explosive third periods.

Here are five factors to focus on in the Final:

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Behind The Numbers

Keys to winning Conn Smythe Trophy

Members of Cup-winning teams, top scorers boost chances for playoff MVP award

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

Depending on which team wins the Stanley Cup, forwards Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks, goaltender Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and defenseman Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators are likely the front-runners for the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Behind The Numbers

Penguins vs. Senators key statistics

Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, Pittsburgh's possession numbers could be keys in Eastern Conference Final

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

The Eastern Conference Final will be a showdown between two of the most effective captains in the NHL. Center Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will continue their quest to win the Stanley Cup for a second consecutive season against defenseman Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators.

Game 1 in the best-of-7 series will be at Pittsburgh on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

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Behind The Numbers

Ducks vs. Predators key statistics

Play of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf likely will determine series winner

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

When the Nashville Predators acquired defenseman P.K. Subban from the Montreal Canadiens in a trade for defenseman Shea Weber on June 29, it was the kind of bold choice that either could have spelled disaster or been the final transformational move to building a Stanley Cup contender.

If the Predators can defeat the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Final, it will be safe to classify the decision as the latter. The series begins at Anaheim on Friday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Behind The Numbers

Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel of Penguins among first-round standouts

Jake Gardiner of Maple Leafs, Pekka Rinne of Predators, Henrik Lundqvist of Rangers also excelled

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

As we get ready for the start of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which begins Wednesday, here is a look at the first round and some of the interesting stats it produced.

Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel of the Pittsburgh Penguins were among the most effective forwards; Jake Gardiner of the Toronto Maple Leafs handled some of the toughest minutes among defensemen; the Minnesota Wild dominated the St. Louis Blues in shots; goalies Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers played their best hockey of the season; and forward Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs was among the handful of first-year players who made his presence felt.

Here are five interesting statistics from the first round:

 

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Behind The Numbers

Senators vs. Rangers key statistics

Play of New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson will likely determine series winner

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

Two of the NHL's most valuable players, goalie Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and defenseman Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators, have guided their teams to the Eastern Conference Second Round, where they will face each other for the second time ever in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Rangers defeated the Senators in seven games in 2012.

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Behind The Numbers

Capitals vs. Penguins key statistics

Scoring depth, ability to convert rebounds could be determining factors in series

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

One of the most anticipated matchups of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will see Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals face Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. It's a battle between this season's Presidents' Trophy winner, and last season's Stanley Cup winner.

According to the numbers, this series includes two great offenses, but Pittsburgh has the added challenge of facing one of the League's best goalies.

Here are five interesting stats about this series:

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