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Advanced Analytics Hate the Rangers. They Keep Winning Anyway.

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01.06.2022

Some sports-analytics concepts can be pretty complicated to grasp, but the Deserve to Win O’Meter isn’t one of them. The online gadget, created by the website MoneyPuck.com, is used to project — you guessed it — which team in a given hockey game deserves to win. In a nutshell, its simulations factor in both how many shots each team takes and the relative quality of those shots, assuming average goaltending on both sides.

On Wednesday night, the Rangers will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in game one of the Eastern Conference Final, after beating the Hurricanes on Monday in their second game seven of this postseason. Through their first 14 games, the Rangers have prevailed on the Deserve to Win O’Meter only five times, including just twice in that second-round series against Carolina. And while a couple of playoff series is a small sample size, this phenomenon has characterized the Rangers almost all season long — without yet leading to their downfall.

Despite finishing with the seventh-best regular-season record in the NHL, the Rangers were in the bottom third of the league in a whole bunch of stats that typically signal a team’s strength. Their problem, in layman’s terms: They attempted fewer shots than their opponents and hit the net with their shot attempts less often than their opponents. Factoring in the quality of those shots, they were then expected to score less often than the teams they........

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