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Tuesday (The grind of a seven-game series) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Wild coaching, Wolves news Updated: May 6, 2014 - 10:24 AM

Just how much does it take out of a team to have to play a seven-game playoff series? Numbers guru Nate Silver attempts to answer that question, albeit using the league -- the NBA -- that is of lesser use to a Minnesota sports fan right now. Per Silver's research:

Since the NBA went to a best-of-seven first round in 2003, teams that swept their first-round series won their second-round series 76 percent of the time. Teams that needed five games to beat their first-round opponent won the next series 60 percent of the time. But those teams that needed six games to win the first round won the second round only 34 percent of the time, and those that took the full seven games did just 36 percent of the time.

One may assume these results reflect selection bias: The teams that won their opening series in four or five games were presumably better, on average, than those that took longer to do so. But this is only part of the story. Suppose we look only at teams seeded No. 1 or No. 2 in their conferences. Since 2003, teams from this group that swept the first round won the second round 94 percent of the time. Those that required five games won the second around 77 percent of the time. And those that needed six games or seven games won the second round 62 percent of the time.

It stands to reason that teams that won in just four or five games were on a roll and/or better rested as they headed into those second-round matchups. What is harder to quantify is the emotional wear and tear that comes from a seven-game series.

How does this translate to the NHL? Well, we went back and looked at the previous five years of NHL playoffs, from 2009-13. We didn't just look at the first round, but every round leading up to the finals. Teams that needed seven games to advance were an even 11-11 in their next series -- with a handful of those matchups being a meeting between a pair of teams that had advanced from seven-game marches. Teams that swept a round 4-0 ... well, they were even worse off, going 5-6 in the next round.

Maybe the sample sizes are too small. Or maybe it just doesn't matter as much in hockey. Either way, Wild fans can take heart. At least in terms of history, this series against Chicago is far from over. In 2003, for a final piece of history, the Wild won back-to-back seven-game series. Then it was whitewashed in four games by Anaheim, but for this round anyway the point stands.

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NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Phoenix 97
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 3
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
UCLA 82
(5) Baylor 68 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77

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