Kings Improbability

As a Los Angeles Kings fan, I am ecstatic about their improbable Stanley Cup run.  Their drubbing of the Devils in Game 6 was absolutely amazing.  This led me to use different ways to find the probability of this run.

Of course, one can argue that everything gets thrown out the window when the play-offs roll around.  Using that simple approach. the probability of the Kings winning the cup is one-in-sixteen, or 6.3%.  However, it’s too simple, and regular season success has to count for something.  In the Kings’ case, their lack of regular season success should count; they almost missed the play-offs!

So I created a simple formula.  This, like most of my articles, is a thought experiment, not a die-hard account.  However, I devised this formula in order to give an abstraction of probability.  (Note that if you want to see my calculations, they are available at kingsprobabilitymatrix.)  The formula is:

Probability=team in question’s points/((team in question’s points + other team’s points) + ((team in question’s seed number-other team’s seed number)*3))

The probabilities for the Kings winning each round are:

  1. Canucks: 41.9%
  2. Blues 42.8%
  3. Coyotes 45.9%
  4. Devils 46.8%

I would be willing to assume that the actual probabilities are lower than that; I guess that’s what dummy variables are for.  All in all, this leaves the total probability of the Kings winning all four series was a puny 3.8%!  In other words, 19 out of 500.  That really puts it into perspective, although I will admit that it’s higher than I had expected.

Of course, part of what was so amazing about the Kings’ run was that they defeated all three of the Western Conference’s division winners.  (Note that the odds of the Kings beating all three opponents was 8.2%.)  So, I decided to determine the probability, based on the same formula, that the Kings would even have the opportunity to accomplish that feat.  For the sake of the calculations, I will still assume that Nashville won the Nashville-Detroit series.  I also threw the Kings’ probability of defeating their prior opponents in these calculations.  The probabilities are:

  • Vancouver-LA matchup: 1 (it was decided from the beginning)
  • St. Louis-LA matchup: 24.0%
  • Phoenix-LA matchup: 4.5%

Calculated out, the Kings only had a 1.1% of facing all three division winners!  That is just staggering.

I think this is another way to show how simply the Kings’ run has been.  Although this may not be the most scientific way to show it, a way is a way.

Please comment.  Thanks for reading, and come back soon!


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