Thanks to Patric Hornqvist's Overtime Winner, the Penguins Are Now Clear Favorites to Win the Stanley Cup
The Washington Capitals were the best team in hockey during the NHL's regular season.
But the Pittsburgh Penguins have been the best team in this second-round, best-of-seven series.
The Penguins took a commanding 3-1 series lead against the Presidents' Trophy winners last night, thanks to the great play of rookie goaltender Matt Murray and a fortunate overtime goal by Patric Hornqvist.
Hornqvist OT winner pic.twitter.com/O2gLEyrZI2
— Stephanie (@myregularface) May 5, 2016
Had the Penguins lost Game 4, they were looking at an uphill climb to win the series, as our algorithm would've given the Capitals better odds to take it. But thanks to the Hornqvist game-winner, the Penguins are sitting in the driver's seat with 85% odds to win.
Just how tough will it be for the Capitals? Well, consider this:
The Penguins last lost three games in a row in mid-December. So Washington's best hope is for the Penguins to fire their coach.
— DJ Gallo (@DJGalloEtc) May 5, 2016
This series is a big one. Prior to the start of the second round starting, the Pens and Caps had the two highest odds of winning the Stanley Cup, despite facing one another in one of the round's seven-game series. In other words, the winner of the series was bound to be Stanley Cup favorites.
That's not much of a surprise -- the Capitals were the best team in hockey according to nERD (the number of goals we'd expect a team to win or lose by against an average squad) entering the playoffs, and the Penguins were the hottest team in hockey, having seen their nERD score rise to third-best before the postseason began.
Thanks to their 3-1 series lead, the Pens are now big favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Our algorithm currently gives them 27.66% odds, which is up from the 14.38% odds given to them before the Capitals' series. That's also over 10 percentage points higher than the St. Louis Blues, who have the second-best odds.
But ending the Capitals' season won't be easy.