With the 2015 NHL playoffs in full swing, EA Sports ran their annual Playoff simulation using the NHL 15 engine. The sim once again mirrored what happens so often in the playoffs when it comes to hockey.
You had perennial powerhouses upset, newcomers surprise and the eventual champion being a team that got hot at the right time.
In the West, the playoff starved Winnipeg Jets won all of their home games only to fall short to the Anaheim Ducks who did so as well, eliminating the team from Canada in a hard fought 7 game series. The Calgary Flames looked poised to make a run for the cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in 6 games but their effort was hampered by an Anaheim Ducks team that grinded out a victory in a decisive game 7.
The St. Louis Blues had a great regular season but came up short losing to a team with a hot goaltender in Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild who would go on to play in the Western Conference finals only to fall short to the eventual Stanley Cup winning Anaheim Ducks.
The Eastern Conference meanwhile had similar storylines. The Tampa Bay Lighting surely locked in for a deep run at Lord Stanleys cup after getting swept in last years playoffs, once again fell short of their goal by losing to an underdog Red Wings team in just 6 games.
The Rangers made sure they kept the Garden crowd on their toes as they took every series they played in to 7 games. That included a thrilling 2nd round matchup with cross-city rival, the New York Islanders in which the Rangers were victorious behind stellar play from their star Rick Nash who scored an impressive 12 goals with 8 assists in all.
The Canadians meanwhile gave hope to fans north of the border to possibly get the Cup back to Canada after defeating both the Senators and Red Wings in just 5 games each.
They would however run into a proven, gritty Rangers team who has been there just last year and New York would go on to defeat the Canadians in 7 games to ensure a second straight Stanley Cup finals berth.
The Stanley Cup Finals
Anaheim came in just like the Rangers, having played in 7 game series’ across the board. The immaculate play of Ryan Getzlaf however proved to be the difference in the series which also went the distance. The Ducks of Anaheim ensured that Lord Stanleys Cup stayed in southern California for at least one more year as they defeated the Rangers in an epic game 7 thriller. Getzlaf took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Playoffs MVP, finishing with nine goals, 17 assist in a total of 28 games played.
We will know in a few weeks how accurate this simulation made by EA’s NHL 15 engine was but if the results so far are any indication, the first round at least seems to be pretty close to the outcomes predicted.
However, if you think you can do better than EA did, you can still sign up for the 2015 NHL Bracket Challenge and compete directly against the EA engine for some pretty cool prizes.
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