NHL Playoff Clean Sweep

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The Stanley Cup playoffs (French: Les...

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April 14, 2015, 11:25 AM

Like regular season fantasy hockey leagues, there is more than one way to win a playoff league. Here are the different draft strategies to employ for fantasy playoff drafts, as well as a few tips to keep in mind.

A few tips to remember:

First, always know the draft settings. Figure out what the weight of the points are (How much are goals worth in relation to assists? Are there bonuses for game-winning goals? What are goalies worth?), and draft accordingly. There is no quicker way to sink a draft than employing the wrong strategy because the settings were not investigated.

Second, mind the bracket. For example, the winners of the St. Louis-Minnesota and Chicago-Nashville will face each other. While a drafter’s hand may be forced at the end of the draft to take players from these four teams, there’s no sense in taking David Backes in the second round and Mike Ribeiro in the fourth. It’s guaranteed that no more than one of those players...

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When a team eliminates their opponent using the minimum number of games without sustaining a single loss in a multi-game series they are said to have swept the other team. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs that means winning the first four games of a best-of-seven series.

Of the NHL's 651 best-of-seven playoff series since the league's origins through 2016, 113 (17%) have ended in a sweep. The most sweeps in a single postseason during this span is five (1969, 1992). Only three times since all postseason series were expanded to best-of-seven in 1987 has a Stanley Cup Playoff series gone without a sweep (1991, 2002, 2016).

Over the past 29 postseasons (since the 1987 expansion to best-of-seven series), a sweep has resulted in 61 of 435 series, representing 1 in 7 (14%) of all playoff series. The chart below describes playoff sweeps by year, noting the number and round in which sweep(s) occurred.

(P = Preliminary, Q = Quarterfinal, S = Semifinal, F =...

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As per our annual custom, SI.com’s parcel of puckheads pull out the crystal ball and attempt to forecast all four rounds of the playoffs. We also give you their picks for dark horse team to watch, heavyweight that is most vulnerable to an upset, the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, and a prognostication that is sure to raise eyebrows if not hackles. On that note, off we go.

• Complete coverage: schedules, breakdowns, more | FancyStats pick Cup champ

ALLAN MUIR

Blinn's Crystal Ball

Why the Blackhawks?

I can come up with a dozen reasons to support the notion of the Hawks being knocked off in the first round, no problem. So why pick them to skate the Cup? In a field that’s as wide open as ever, there’s comfort in the familiar. We’ve all seen what

Jonathan Toews

can do in this situation. Same with

Duncan Keith

and

Brent Seabrook

and

Marian Hossa

. This is a veteran squad that’s been through these wars before. It knows how to...

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Get all of Allan Muir’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.

We feel for you, Canada.

We know you'll be watching the NHL playoffs when they get underway next week, but we know your hearts won't quite be in it. Not without a rooting interest to keep you hanging on every shot, every save, every ... coach's challenge.

You need to feel some kind of investment this time of year. Even if it is only temporary.

We're here to point you in the direction of that investment: The San Jose Sharks.

Hesitant to climb on the bandwagon? We get it. Embracing the Sharks might pose a few challenges. Maybe you're a Canucks fan who is still bitter about that four-game sweep back in 2013. Maybe you remember that San Jose's last trip to the playoffs back in 2014 didn't quite go the Sharks' way. Or maybe you live east of Winnipeg and...

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Super Rugby's quarterfinals this weekend contain the scenario for tournament organizers that all four semifinal places could go to New Zealand teams.

Four of New Zealand's five teams qualified for the playoffs and, on current form, all four could progress to the penultimate weekend.

That will trouble SANZAAR, the tournament's governing body which set out to structure a competition this season which ensures playoffs matches are shared across Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The tournament format allows teams with inferior win-loss records in Australia and South Africa to host playoff matches, ensuring those matches are spread across a range to time zones for broadcasters and fans. A New Zealand sweep of quarterfinals would lump both semifinals in New Zealand.

The defending champion Highlanders play away to the ACT Brumbies in Canberra on Friday; the Wellington-based Hurricanes, who finished the regular season in...

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Someday, when LeBron James retires and we discuss his contributions to the NBA, far down the list will be the three-man postgame press conference. But that’s largely a LeBron creation, first in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, now in Cleveland with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. He seems to like the public show of unity to a media crew that is constantly looking for fissures between James and his teammates—and to remind people that in Cleveland and Miami, he was not just the star of the show, but the casting director. And maybe the best thing that happened when James, Love and Irving sat on a podium together at 12:18 Monday morning was that they all looked bored out of their minds.

Nothing interesting had happened, and what a relief that...

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Get all of Allan Muir’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.

This was the year things were going to be different for the Washington Capitals. They entered the postseason as the Presidents' Trophy winners and the favorites to capture the first Stanley Cup in their franchise history. They were deep, well-coached and highly motivated.

And then their season ended as it always seems to, with a crushing loss in the second round. This time, at the hands of their hated rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Objectively, this failure is tougher to swallow than any that came before it. And it was a failure. No way around that.

But that doesn't wash away the successes of a regular season that featured a franchise-best 56 wins, a league record-tying 48 victories from netminder Braden Holtby, and Alexander Ovechkin's seventh 50-goal...

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In our first ever Fan Misery Index, the first installment of which was published in January 2014, we looked at the 10 NHL franchises whose organizational incompetence exacted the heaviest emotional toll on their fans.

This time around, we’re changing it up a bit by considering the mindsets of fan bases across the entire league.

We considered a number of factors in our thoroughly unscientific formula, including both recent and long-term history of success (or lack thereof), managerial competence, system strength, staffing moves, recent trades and signings, and anything else that might lead us to a snapshot understanding of the hope, or hopelessness, surrounding each of the NHL’s 30 teams.

Clearly, some fans have reason to be in better emotional shape than others. Some have experienced such dramatic change this summer that the prevailing optimism overrides years of bumbling and buffoonery and outright suffering. Others, puffed with pride not long ago, have...

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