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Welcome back to the TWC Playoff Power Rankings!
Here at TWC, we use a statistical model to effectively rank teams on a week to week basis. The model takes into effect winning percentages, CF%, SCF%, HDCF% as well as SV%. Each statistical category is weighed and scored differently, giving each team a unique TWC Score that determines their ranking after each week. The formula puts the highest emphasis on winning percentages over other statistics. All numbers are taken in all situations, to incorporate special teams into the fray.
We got some excellent feedback from our readers as to how we could improve this model moving forward. We have slightly altered the weightings of the statistical categories, but also added a large recency component to make sure that each week the teams that are riding hot streaks are more appropriately demonstrated in the rankings.
For this year’s playoffs, initial rankings and performance was primarily impacted by the Qualifier and Round Robin series that took place before the start of the official Stanley Cup Playoffs. Don’t like where your team is ranked? Unfortunately, they will have to turn it around on the ice, as we take zero personal opinions into effect.
Have any suggestions for the TWC Playoff Power Rankings ? Leave us a comment and let us know!
|Rank||Change||Team||Team Name||Last Week||Record||TWCScore|
|1||+2||Tampa Bay Lightning||2-0||9-2||1147.8|
|2||-1||Vegas Golden Knights||1-3||8-5||1081.7|
|3||-1||New York Islanders||1-3||8-5||1049.8|
Power Ranking Notables
We’ve now moved into the third round of the playoffs: The Conference Finals. Instead of our usual rundown, we’ll dig into each of the four remaining teams on a more detailed level to see what makes up their TWCScores.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning find themselves atop the power rankings which really just means they’ve been the most solid team so far in the playoffs in terms of underlyings.
With only two losses so far, the Lightning truly are the cream of the crop in the NHL. They’re firing on all cylinders and getting contributions from up and down their lineup making them a very difficult team to beat. The Islanders found that out the hard way last night letting in eight goals to the Bolts.
Tampa isn’t leading the league in any of the major offensive advanced statistics. This is a bit of a deviation from how these are normally presented (5v5) but at all situations, the Lightning rank fourth in CF%, fourth in SCF%, third in HDCF%, and fourth in xGF%. They’ve also only scored the fourth most goals of all playoff teams.
However, where the Lightning make their money is on the other side of the ice. They’re not really know for being a stingy defensive team but their ability to limit their opponents’ chances has been second to none. When you look at rates, the Lightning allow the fewest goals against at 1.81 GA/60 and the third fewest expected goals against at 2.19 xGA/60.
They rank first (fewest in the league) in scoring chances against and high danger chances against as well. And to top things off, they’re getting incredible goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning have the best SV% in the league at .9322, and are either first or second in save percentage, scoring chances, and high dangers chances among remaining teams.
They’ve got a potent offense, but what sets them apart is how good the Lightning are on defense and in goal as well. They’re a powerhouse.
Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas has been the fancy stats darling team through the playoffs so far. A good chunk of their dominance in terms of possession metrics is surely due to how they ran the show against Vancouver but couldn’t seem to solve Thatcher Demko until the final game of the series, but at the end of the day there’s no denying the Golden Knights’ ability to control the flow of a game.
They rank first in the NHL in CF%, SCF%, HDCF%, and xGF%; some by an incredibly wide margin to boot. In terms of rates, they are ahead of the next remaining team by almost 10 CF/60, seven FF/60, five SF/60, and five SCF/60.
They are absolutely the best team in the league at generating offense and it’s nor particularly close. They shoot a lot of pucks at the net, generate a ton of scoring chances, and score a bunch of goals. And it’s not that they don’t deserve it either, they lead by over 0.5 xGF/60 over the next highest remaining team.
On offense, the Golden Knights have it made. It’s very rare for them to not be in total control of the game flow. Again this is all situations so non 5v5 play is included, but still, Vegas is a monster in the offensive zone. On defense it’s much of the same. In every stat the Lightning aren’t leading in, the Golden Knights are. They allow so little against, largely due to them owning the puck basically all night and keeping it in the offensive zone.
They did not own the game against Dallas in Game 1 of the conference finals though, which is a definite departure from the dominating play they’ve show through the playoffs so far. A reason for that might be that Dallas exploited Vegas’ weakness: shooting percentage.
As good as Vegas has been, they just can’t seem to find the back of the net nearly as much as they should be. All it took was one goal by the Stars to win in Game 1, and if Vegas can’t turn their luck around, it might be a much longer series than they want it to be.
Of all remaining teams, the Golden Knights are the worst in terms of shooting at just 7.01%. They’re bad at finishing from all areas, especially on scoring chances, and that’s their problem area so far.
New York Islanders
The Islanders are an interesting team. They’ve been the underdog basically throughout the whole playoffs and have knocked out some pretty solid teams. Out of the top four, they don’t lead in any of the advanced statistics and really look like a middle of the pack team now that the field has been reduced to four.
They made it to the conference finals, but if the Islanders’ underlying numbers continue they will have their work cut out for them against the Lightning.
Out of the four remaining teams, the Islanders are last in CF% and second last in SCF%, but first in HDCF% and second in xGF%. They have the second best shooting percentage but the second worst save percentage.
Rates wise they score basically the exact same number of goals/60 as the Lightning, but allow almost 0.5 goals/60 more than the Lightning. They are definitely a team that wins by committee and they will need to be stout defensively to advance to the Cup finals.
The good news for the Isles is that compared to their opponents they generate the most high danger chances. With how good the Lightning have been, especially Vasilevskiy, this will be a major key to staying in the series.
Game 1 was a bit of an anomaly where they allowed eight goals; don’t expect that to happen every night. The Islanders scored two GF on 2.82 xGF compared to eight GF on 2.84 xGF for the Lightning. The scoreboard makes it look a lot worse than it could have been.
The regular season defensive powerhouse Stars have suddenly figured out how to score which has made them a true Stanley Cup contender. They took Game 1 against Vegas by merit and if you picked them to win the Cup at the start of the playoffs you’re loving what you’re seeing.
However, the Stars are the furthest thing from a fancy stats darling. With just four teams remaining you’d think all would be at least above 50% in every category but that’s just not the case for Dallas. They rank last among remaining teams in SF%, SCF%, HDCF%, xGF%, and GF%. What’s even crazier is that they’re underwater in CF% and xGF%. It’s just not something you’d expect out of the 2020 Dallas Stars.
The area you’d expect Dallas to be good at, goaltending, is also not great. Between remaining teams, they’re actually last in SV%. On the defensive end of things, the Stars are downright atrocious.
They’ve allowed 46 goals (14 more than the next team), over 41 xG (11 higher than the next team), allowed 229 scoring chances against (51 more than the next team), and allowed 163 high danger chances against (34 more than the next team). It’s crazy to see how much the Stars allow against after being the stingiest defensive team in the regular season.
So, how are they winning? They’re shooting at a league leading 10.9%. They’ve scored 50 goals, seven more than the next best team, on just 40 xGF. The Stars are simply filling the net and that’s what has propelled them to the conference finals.
To this point though, they haven’t been nearly a top two team in the West and will need to fix a lot of their defensive issues to beat Vegas. Game 1 was a phenomenal start; they’ll need to keep it up.
What are your thoughts? Are you surprised where your team landed this week? Let us know at @wincolumnblog.
All data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.