What are the Senators' chances of winning Game 7?

The Pittsburgh Penguins are favoured to win Game 7 of the East final, but what are the odds the Ottawa Senators upset the defending champs? We asked the experts.

Stats experts weigh in and explain their rationales

Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, left, and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby both hope to tip the odds in their respective teams' favour. (Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins are favoured to win Game 7 of the East final on Thursday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET), but what are the odds the Ottawa Senators upset the defending champs?

Depends on who you ask.

Generally speaking, with the amount of parity that exists in the NHL, even a clearly superior team might only be expected to win six out of 10 games against a weaker foe in the playoffs. In any game, anything truly can happen.

In the case of Game 7 between the Pens and Sens, we asked multiple hockey statisticians to weigh in on Ottawa's chances of winning. Here's what they said:

Dawson Sprigings

Odds of Sens upset: 46.5 per cent

Sprigings uses a relatively simple mathematical model for his predictions: he looks at each team's percentage of goals scored and allowed in the past 25 games of the regular season, which has shown to be a strong indicator of a team's future performance. However, his model doesn't factor in how a team's strength might change with injuries.

Ian Fleming

Odds of Sens upset: 46 per cent

Fleming's model is called Scoring Likelihoods from an Individual Model, or SLIM. He builds his probabilities based on how individual players perform with goal-scoring rates when those players are on and off the ice. He factors in particular line combinations and roster changes, but since he doesn't know the exact lineup for Thursday night, his numbers are still something of an approximation.

Craig Anderson has given Ottawa an edge in goal over Pittsburgh, and he could be the difference in Game 7. ( Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Micah Blake McCurdy

Odds of Sens upset: 42 per cent

In McCurdy's system, puck possession is given top priority. Next, he factors in home-ice advantage (which can vary in importance from team to team) and then goaltending and a team's ability to draw penalties. He does account for injuries and makes educated guesses at replacements on the basis of who has been favoured by a given NHL coach previously in the season. McCurdy notes that at the outset of the series, he gave Ottawa a 40 per cent chance of winning, but the team's chances in this individual game run higher in large part due to strong goaltending from Craig Anderson.

Peter Tanner

Odds of Sens upset: 41.6 per cent

For Tanner, home-ice advantage is a big part of the Penguins' edge. He says that roughly half of the team's eight per cent edge over the Sens is due to Game 7 being played in Pittsburgh, and that the rest is due to their overall goals-for percentage. He also uses several puck possession metrics as well as other more minor factors.

Dom Luszczyszyn

​Odds of Sens upset: 37.8 to 42.5 percent

Luszczyszyn makes very specific note of what several of Pittsburgh's injured players could add to the team's chances of victory. The return of Conor Sheary would improve the Pens' chances by 1.2 percentage points, while Patric Hornqvist would add 1.7, Justin Schultz 0.7 and Mark Borowiecki 1.1. It can be difficult to calculate the difference for who gets taken out of the lineup, but Luszczyszyn thinks the odds of an Ottawa victory could be as low as 37.8 per cent if Pittsburgh heals up enough.


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