Evolving Hockey 2024 Playoff Preview: Stanley Cup Final

We’ve reached that point, once again. The Stanley Cup Final – the best any sports’ playoffs have to offer, at least most hockey fans would argue (they’re probably right). The Conference Finals this year were exceptionally fun, which continues a trend for this spring’s contests. Few underdogs have made runs (unless you believe the stats that indicate the Rangers aren’t as good as their performance seems to indicate), but in a way that feels kind of refreshing. Just a solid lineup of great matchups throughout. [Windhorst voice] now why would the playoffs without the Minnesota Wild be more fun? Why would they? I joke, the Wild, after all, are my favorite team, and I had to find some way to fit them in during Cup Final discussion.

I’m not stating anything that others haven’t already stated publicly, but we really are in for a treat this year. Arguably two of the best teams in the league, and also two of the most fun and electrifying (this is the first time I’ve ever earnestly used this word), enter the Stanley Cup final. The storylines have already written themselves. A legitimate chance for a Canadian team to bring home the cup for the first time in over 30 years. A Florida team that might just have a better chance. The best player in the league playing in the last game of the season. Another piece of evidence to support the inequality of state income taxes in the league? There’s a lot going on here. Really, I’m just happy the playoffs have been so great this year, and if everything goes well, will continue to be. That said, we’re massive Oilers fans now.

Conference Finals Results:

Conference Home Away Round 3 % Outcome
East NYR FLA 37.9% – 62.1% 2-4
West DAL EDM 53.1% – 46.9% 2-4



Stanley Cup Final

Florida Panthers (A1)     vs.     Edmonton Oilers (P2)

41.0%                         59.0%

Maybe it was what everyone (the stats) predicted, maybe it was a poor matchup, maybe it was luck, but the Panthers really looked impressive in their Eastern Conference series win. In typical New York Rangers fashion, the even-strength goal line throughout the series was much closer than the Corsi (Florida generated 110 more shot attempts at even-strength in the 6 games), but Florida’s powerplay, like we noted in our prior preview, was potent in games 3 and 4. Despite this, the Panthers head into the finals with possibly their toughest opponent, although the Stars would’ve been equally difficult. Sergei Bobrovsy continues to be quite good – disregarding a poor showing in game 3, he saved over 6 goals above expected in the other five games. Our model(s) have been lower on him due to his extreme age (I’m the same age as he is), but few if any teams in the league bring with them the kind of shooters that the Oilers do. We said that about the Rangers too…

Despite what may have been one of the closest and grindiest series this year, I’ll only really remember that 17% even-strength expected-goals share for the Oilers in game 6. What a hilarious game. Dallas threw everything they could at Edmonton, but in the end I guess a turtling that hasn’t been seen in a decade was the way. I mean, what is there really left to say about the Oilers? Not only do they bring with them two of the best forwards in league, they also carry possibly the best defensemen pair in this playoffs (Bouchard / Ekholm). The difference maker, in terms of our model and simulation, seems to be Edmonton’s stars and young goalie. Don’t get me wrong, the Panthers have better depth, but it’s hard to underrate just how good the Oilers’ stars are, not to mention 25-year old Stuart Skinner who was fantastic in the 3rd round. Edmonton has their work cut out for them here, however… it’s the Cup Final after all. But there’s something poetic about us, the infamous Edmonton Oilers haters, favoring them in the Cup Final. This will be a close series, one which could easily go to game 7. I know who we’ll be cheering for.


Luke and I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for sticking around with us through another great NHL season! We really appreciate everyone who continues to support the site and subscribe. It’s hard for us to convey our gratitude in this regard. We have a lot planned this summer and will have a “State of the Site” article up in a month or two going over our plans! In the meantime, we’re looking forward to what appears to be very entertaining and intense offseason. Have fun out there. We hope your favorite team does all the good moves, gets all the players you want, and wins the Cup next year.

Josh & Luke

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