The regular season is all about one thing, making the playoffs. The entire season hinges upon putting your team in the best position to win the Stanley Cup, but if the first two days of the Stanley Cup playoffs have shown one thing, it is that teams are never truly ready for the grind of the ‘second’ season.
The playoffs are still really just ramping up. So far all 16 teams have played just one game, with more games scheduled for later tonight. With that in mind, there has been a crazy trend over the first two days of the playoffs.
Home ice, a modern day blessing or curse in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Of the first eight games, six of them have been won by the visitor. Teams battle all year long hoping to finish with home ice in the playoffs. It is the incentive for being one of the top teams in the league. Here we are just a few days into the postseason, and fans are now seeing just how much of a different beast the Stanley Cup playoffs are.
A team with home ice gets four games in front of their home crowd in a best of seven series. Their opponent will get just three at home should the series go seven games. So, one way to look at it is if you are the number one team like Boston, all you have to do is win your home games to make it out of the series. Obviously that is normally not what happens, but still, at the end of the regular season the main thing teams have to show for it is whether or not they have home ice.
In fact, since 2014, 39 of the 80 first round series have had game one been one by the visitor. That is pretty even, and shows that sometimes having home ice just does not mean much in the playoffs. There might be some reasons for that.
When the playoffs start, the road team is more united as a group. They are together at a hotel and are maybe in a little bit of a different headspace than the home team. Add in the fact that the home team might be taking their opponent a little too lightly thinking they have the series locked up, and it just goes to show sometimes starting the postseason on the road might be better.
Of the 39 series that have seen the road team win game one since 2014, 21 have ended with the team that wins game one winning the series. Obviously six of the game one wins are from this season so we will have to wait and see how those end up. So from the opening round since 2014, the away teams have won the opening game almost 50 percent of the time, and if they win game one they have won the series 64 percent of the time.
The playoffs are a long battle, but starting things off on the right note is imperative to winning a best of seven series. How all the playoff teams answer in game two will be interesting to see.