The Blues' Game 1 Victory Over the Wild Turned the Series on Its Head
By any measure, the Minnesota Wild had a superb regular season and are one of the NHL's best teams.
The Wild won 49 games and tallied 108 points, the second-most in the Western Conference. According to our numbers, they were the third-best team in hockey, the top team in the West, and had a 7.8% chance of winning the title -- which was, again, the best mark in the West.
So it was no surprise that Minnesota was, per our numbers, a big favorite in their first-round playoff matchup against the St. Louis Blues, a quality squad but one that sat 11th in our power rankings. Prior to last night's Game 1, our models gave the Wild a 61.5% chance of besting the Blues in the best-of-seven series, making them the biggest first-round favorite in the West.
Then Jake Allen happened.
The Blues' goalie played an all-time great game Wednesday night, turning aside 51 shots in a remarkable showing as St. Louis took Game 1 in Minnesota. It was the third-most shots against in a playoff game in Blues history, and the 51 saves were a career high for Allen.
There's standing on your head, and then there's what Allen did in this one.
sweet heck jake allen pic.twitter.com/KqugKTwAZ7
— AOL KEYWORD: Mike (@mikeFAIL) April 13, 2017
A lot can change in one night. Not only did the 51-stop masterpiece completely reverse Allen's playoff history -- he owned a .902 save-percentage in 12 career postseason appearances -- it flipped the series on its head.
As we touched on in the intro, according to our models, the Wild entered the series with a 61.5% chance to win the series. Here's how the likelihood of the different scenarios broke down.
|Blues win in 4||4.32%|
|Blues win in 5||8.34%|
|Blues win in 6||13.49%|
|Blues win in 7||12.35%|
|Blues win series||38.50%|
|Wild win in 4||9.29%|
|Wild win in 5||17.09%|
|Wild win in 6||17.44%|
|Wild win in 7||17.68%|
|Wild win series||61.50%|
Now, with the Blues up 1-0, it's St. Louis who is the favorite. Our numbers give the Blues a 56.9% chance of eliminating Minnesota.
|Wild win in 5||9.05%|
|Wild win in 6||14.99%|
|Wild win in 7||19.05%|
|Wild win series||43.09%|
|Blues win in 4||9.88%|
|Blues win in 5||14.98%|
|Blues win in 6||18.03%|
|Blues win in 7||14.02%|
|Blues win series||56.91%|
Clearly, the Blues are no lock to pull the upset -- and if they allow 50-plus shots each night, they'll be in trouble -- but the Game 1 win improved their series odds by 18.41%.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are merely one night old, and they're already getting crazy.