Comparing PHT editor and reader predictions to first round results

It’s not easy to make forecasts for many things in life. When it comes to predicting the weather, meteorologists receive all kinds of vitriol if they guess incorrectly. If you want an amusing example of this phenomenon, just watch Nicholas Cage in “The Weather Man.”

Predicting the outcomes of sporting events can be pretty random too, but we typically don’t have to worry about getting fried chicken thrown at us if we’re wrong. (At least in my experience.)

Either way, part of the fun of predicting the outcomes of games comes when we find out if our wild guesses picks are accurate. Let’s take a look at how the first round’s results compare to the PHT editors’ picks (Joe Yerdon, James O’Brien and Matt Reitz) as well as the top choices of PHT readers.

Eastern Conference quarterfinals

1. Washington Capitals vs. 8. New York Rangers

Actual result: Capitals win series 4-1.
PHT readers pick: Capitals win series 4-1. (33.5 percent)
Joe’s pick: Capitals win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Capitals win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Capitals win series 4-1.

2. Philadelphia Flyers vs. 7. Buffalo Sabres

Actual result: Flyers win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Sabres win series 4-2. (35.1 percent)
Joe’s pick: Flyers win series 4-3.
James’ pick: Flyers win series 4-3.
Matt’s pick:  Sabres win series 4-2.

3. Boston Bruins vs. 6. Montreal Canadiens

Actual result: Bruins win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Bruins win series 4-2. (35.65 percent)
Joe’s pick: Bruins win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Bruins win series 4-1.
Matt’s pick: Bruins win series 4-3.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 5. Tampa Bay Lightning

Actual result: Lightning win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Penguins win series 4-2. (41.69 percent)
Joe’s pick: Penguins win series 4-3.
James’ pick: Lightning win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Penguins win series 4-1.

Western Conference quarterfinals

1. Vancouver Canucks vs. 8. Chicago Blackhawks

Actual result: Canucks win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Blackhawks win series 4-3. (31.03 percent)
Joe’s pick: Canucks win series 4-1.
James’ pick: Canucks win series 4-1.
Matt’s pick: Canucks win series 4-2.

2. San Jose Sharks vs. 7. Los Angeles Kings

Actual result: Sharks win series 4-2.
PHT readers pick: Sharks win series 4-1. (44.01 percent)
Joe’s pick: Sharks win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Sharks win series 4-1.
Matt’s pick: Sharks win series 4-1.

3. Detroit Red Wings vs. 6. Phoenix Coyotes

Actual result: Red Wings win series 4-0.
PHT readers pick: Red Wings win series 4-1. (36.71 percent)
Joe’s pick: Red Wings win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Red Wings win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Red Wings win series 4-2.

4. Anaheim Ducks vs. 5. Nashville Predators

Actual result: Predators win series 4-2.
PHT readers pick: Predators win series 4-2. (39.51 percent)
Joe’s pick: Ducks win series 4-3.
James’ pick: Predators win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Predators win series 4-2.

Overall records:

PHT readers: 5-3 (with two exactly correct)
Joe: 6-2 (with three exactly correct)
James: 8-0 (with two exactly correct)
Matt: 6-2 (with three exactly correct)

Ovechkin shrugs off Caps’ Game 1 loss in very Ovechkin way

1 Comment

You know, it happens. Maybe not always in those exact words.

The Washington Capitals carried the play during portions of their 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and even down 1-0 in the series, just about every player seemed happy with their overall game.

(Granted, Braden Holtby picked apart two of the three goals he allowed, and so on.)

Still, Alex Ovechkin shrugged off the disappointment in a way that wasn’t quite Rated R, but probably ranks in the PG-13 range:

The penalty element is interesting, though.

When asked after the loss about the lack of power plays, Matt Niskanen merely offered a “no comment.”

The Penguins experienced some sprawling moments, yet they avoided taking a penalty each time. Often, when a team carries long sequences of play, they’ll go on the PP (especially with home-ice advantage) … but not the Capitals in Game 1.

via Natural Stat Trick

It’s a situation to watch as the Capitals hope to even the series against the Penguins with Game 2 coming on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. (You can watch online, via the NBC Sports App and follow the livestream here).

Holtby takes blame for two big goals in Caps’ loss to Pens

1 Comment

It’s just about a consensus that the Washington Capitals believed that they generally played a strong game despite falling 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Braden Holtby‘s teammates likely wouldn’t agree with his assessment that the Game 1 loss is on his shoulders, but the perennial Vezina candidate took the blame for Sidney Crosby‘s first goal of the night and Nick Bonino‘s game-winner.

Noting that the Penguins are a dangerous rush team – making them a different threat than the Toronto Maple Leafs – Holtby believes that he should have had his glove in position to stop the 1-0 goal. He said he’s capable of making such a stop and “will next time.” Check out Crosby’s two goals below, with Holtby having a beef with the first one:

It’s really difficult to place too much blame on Holtby for giving up Nick Bonino’s game-winner, as it seemed like a great rush play that few goalies would be able to stop.

Judge for yourself in the highlights:

The Penguins were ultimately able to take a 1-0 series lead, but the Capitals seem capable of shrugging off questions about frustrations, even with naysayers starting to gain confidence in claiming that there will be more than the same.

If Washington’s going to get over this big hurdle, Holtby is likely to be a big part in doing so.

Fleury, Penguins hang on for Game 1 win against Capitals

26 Comments

The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a 3-2 Game 1 win against the Washington Capitals, but Thursday’s thriller probably prompted a sigh of relief.

(Washington, meanwhile, might have uttered a sigh at such unpleasantly familiar feelings.)

The first period ended 0-0 in part thanks to Jake Guentzel‘s sprawling “kick save.” Business really picked up in the second after Sidney Crosby raced off to two quick goals, only for Alex Ovechkin to give Washington a shot thanks to a booming goal and some physical play.

It sure felt like this one might head to overtime, especially after Evgeny Kuznetsov was tying things up and flapping his arms like wings. That was not to be, however, as Nick Bonino took advantage of a pretty area pass to beat Braden Holtby for the decisive tally.

Now, it was only decisive because Marc-Andre Fleury was at the top of his game. Oh, and also because the Penguins did a collective Guentzel impression in frantically denying a tying tally.

Makes you want to wipe some sweat from your brow, eh?

The Capitals dominated by just about every statistical measure … except, of course, goals on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh will gladly take that 1-0 series lead, then.

Expect a desperate Washington team in Game 2, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App (click here for the livestream link).

Karlsson makes difference for Senators vs. Lundqvist, Rangers

8 Comments

Swedish superstars Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson were both stupendous in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

Still, it was Karlsson’s game-winning goal (from a seemingly impossible angle) against Lundqvist that made the difference as the Senators beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. With that, the Senators are up 1-0 in the series.

That Karlsson goal really deserves a special look.

Whether you blame that 2-1 tally on Lundqvist or not, the Rangers would be foolish to do anything but praise their red-hot franchise goalie. He stopped all 21 Senators shots in the first period and ultimately made 41 out of 43 stops in defeat.

Craig Anderson was strong in his own right, mind you, stopping 34 out of 35 shots (including all 28 at even-strength) to help Ottawa take that tight contest.

Anderson’s strong play highlights the fact that Rangers – Senators doesn’t merely come down to Lundqvist vs. Karlsson … but even so, both Swedish superstars really did stand out in this one.

Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream link.