Whether you love the NHL's playoff format or not, you have to admit the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs was filled with sheer entertainment from start to finish. From shocking upsets to sweeps to seven-game series, it was everything hockey fans love about the postseason. But after so many classics in the opening round, the question now is: Are there any good matchups left?
Aside from rooting for their hometown teams, most hockey fans are simply looking for series to go the full seven games. Are any of the second-round matchups in this boat? We can figure this out by the numbers.
Three statistical areas tell us a great deal about the overall strength of a team: Corsi for percentage, goals and scoring chances. If we look at the differentials of possible opponents, we can find the closest matchups by adding up the percentage difference between each team's even-strength Corsi for percentage, goals for percentage and scoring chance percentage (all stats via Natural Stat Trick).
For example, if Team A has a 52.03 Corsi for percentage and Team B has 51.00, the differential would be 1.03, advantage Team A. The lower the overall number, the closer the matchup. Among first-round series, the difference between Boston and Toronto was 0.08 and between San Jose and Vegas was 0.32; lo and behold, both series went seven. Will we see anything that close this time around?