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Predictive Analytics in Sport – Stanley Cup 2011 Game 7 analysis

Yesterday's expert analysis here decided that Boston has a slight advantage in spite of the finals going to game 7 in Vancouver. We decided to dig a little deeper into the data and try out a quick decision tree analysis using RapidMiner.

We are trying to find out if the data reveals any interesting trends from all the games Vancouver has played at home. Is there a particularly interesting trend whenever they have lost at home? They have lost only 11 out of 40 games (and only 3 of 11 playoff games) at home.

Boston's on-road record is a little more upbeat for their fans and hence the conclusion of a slight advantage mentioned earlier. The question we are addressing is what factors influence their away wins?

Our data set for Canucks included all their home games this season - about 41 samples. The decision tree appears quite uncomplicated, but revealing. To win comfortably, Boston has to resort to real aggressive offense and score no less than 4 goals (see decision tree below). Anything less, i.e. a conservative style of play might not work.

nhl vancouver rapidminer decision tree model CupFinal 6of7games

Analysis of a similar dataset for Boston (i.e. all their AWAY games from this season) shows a slightly more complicated decision tree - see below, but indicates the same strategic route. The key variable is conversion rate (goals scored/shots taken). Any rate higher than 9% will ensure that they can take the game away from Vancouver.

nhl boston rapidminer decision tree model final noSO road games cup finalIn this series Boston's conversion rate has been hovering around 9.3%, so we are tempted to give this last game and the cup to Boston. A few more hours will show how good this model is!






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Comment by Jozo Kovac on June 22, 2011 at 6:32am

Yeah, cool! 

If you score goals, you win an ice hockey match. Who would say that? 


Boston lost first 2 matches by 1 goal, one in overtime, one in the last minute of match.

Won home matches by 4+ goals.


You really need DT to make a prediction? N, you don't.  Just MAN WITH A HAMMER SEES NAILS EVERYWHERE!

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