Some of you asked to see a similar analysis for the postseason, and because we aim to please, your wish is our command.
Here are the results for the first round, and things look pretty good if you're a fan in Detroit or Boston.
-- If the St. Louis Blues want to look for a scapegoat for not winning a game against Vancouver, they can point directly at their power play unit. The Blues were a top-10 team with the man advantage during the regular season, and scored just one goal in their opening round loss to the Canucks. It certainly wasn't due to a lack of opportunities as they had 24 in the four games, six more than their opponents. You can pretty much sum up St. Louis' power play by its performance in the overtime period of game 4. With the series on the line, the Blues had two power plays in the extra period, including a four-minute advantage following a Ryan Kesler high-sticking penalty, and they failed to capitalize. A minute after Kesler's penalty expired, Alex Burrows scored the game-winner for Vancouver.
-- Detroit was tied for the league lead in power play goals in the opening round (seven) despite playing just four games. Moral of the story: stay out of the box against Detroit.
-- During the regular season Carolina (+73) and San Jose (+54) were two of the most rewarded teams in the league when it came to power play/penalty kill differential. Not so much luck in the postseason. Of the eight teams to advance to the second round, the Hurricanes had the worst power play in the opening round going 2-for-29.
-- Montreal was the only team to not score a power play goal in the opening round, going 0-for-8 against Boston.
Now that we've seen how it played out for the teams, let's take a look at which referee duo had the quickest whistle in the first round. Couple of things to keep in mind here: 1) For the most part, the same referees worked together in each game, while they rotated around from series to series. 2) The chart below simply shows how many penalties were called by each referee (excluding fighting majors) and does not show power plays. If players received coincidental minors for roughing, that obviously counts as two penalties in the chart.
This might give us an idea as to who "lets them play" and who, in the words of Mike Milbury, "wussifies" the playoffs.
When Mike Hassenfratz is on the ice, penalties are going to get called, same thing with the Chris Rooney/Brad Watson duo, and the Dave Jackson/Kelly Sutherland team. Paul Devorski and Ian Walsh? They're going to let you play.
Something to think about as we look ahead in the playoffs. We'll update all of these numbers at the conclusion of the second round.