According to a poll on ESPN the public believes Buffalo is pretty much guaranteed to win their first round series against the Islanders:
57.5% Sabres in five
19.1% Sabres in four 16.1% Sabres in six 2.8% Islanders in seven 2.4% Islanders in six 1.1% Sabres in seven 0.5% Islanders in four 0.5% Islanders in five
- 6 goals on 13 shots against the Islanders in the season series were either scored on Dunham or an empty net.
- The other 9 goals were scored on Dipietro or Dubielewicz on 108 shots. (0.917)
- Buffalo has 121 shots on goal, NYI have 119 in the season series.
- Buffalo has outperformed expected even strength goals for by an astonishing +30%. This is unsustainable.
- New York is equal to Buffalo in terms of expected goals for
- The Islanders have a better power play and Smyth makes their penalty kill much better
- Miller isn't an all-star, but he isn't as bad as some of this seasons stats might indicate.
- The Islanders have 7 even strength goals in the season series and Buffalo has 7.
- The difference in the season series was special teams (for Buffalo), but this is where the Islanders are better on paper. (6 PP, 2 SH vs. 3 PP, 0 SH)
This image displays the two team's records and goals for (GFA) and goals against (GAA) rates against only teams who made the playoffs. In addition I added my 'trademarked' estimated team value rating (I sum up all my estimated worth[$'s] of the current lineup) to give an idea about how good the lineup is in relation to the performance over the year. You can see the season series below that, and a small number in the bottom right is the number of penalties per game in the season series. The big percentage are the likelihood, based on a simplistic prediction model, of the team to win the series. The percentages are updated after every win or loss. F,D,G represent Forwards, Defense and Goaltending respectively, and are just my best guesses. If you think they're wrong tell my why and I'll likely change them.
The winner column displays the dominant team in that category. The more pictures of the team's logo the more dominant the team is in that category
All the non-percentage numbers are scoring rates. For example on the first row, the Buffalo Sabres have an even strength scoring rate of 3.58 goal for per hour. [GF = goals for, GA = goals against Exx = expected xx, SV% = shot quality neutral save percentage].
In the power play section in order to calculate the expected scoring rates I multiplied the goals for rate of one team and the goals against rate of the other and divide by the league average in order to get the expected rate for these two teams combined. So for example, the Buffalo Sabres have a power play goals for rate of 6.57 and the New York Islanders have a penalty killing goals against rate of 6.83. So 6.57*6.83/6.5=6.91 [league average is 6.5].
Outperforming expected goals for is a sign of a lucky team. Outperforming expected goals against is a sign of either a good goaltender or luck as well.
Each category listed has a different importance to winning, so be careful how you read these. Being able to score short-handed isn't going to win a lot of hockey games.