Few sports can match NHL playoff hockey for drama and nonstop excitement. In postseason hockey, it seems like players skate faster and check harder; shots seem to have extra power to them, and goalies demonstrate almost superhuman reflexes. The postseason has become the NHL’s showcase for its product, a high-pressure crucible where reputations can be forever earned – or trashed – within a single 30 second shift on ice.
Unanimous A. I. has been bringing together weekly hockey swarms since February to predict the outcomes of NHL regular season games. The hockey UNU Swarm was able to successfully predict the outcome of 60 percent of the games it considered across eight weeks of the season, including a swarm this month where the group perfectly ordered the games it felt most confident in forecasting. Because of this success, the research team at Unanimous A. I. was eager to have this same group swarm the outcome of the Stanley Cup playoffs this season.
Beginning last year, the NHL has structured the Stanley Cup playoffs with consistent brackets throughout the postseason. That means that matchups are not re-seeded in each new round, so the playoffs follow a more constant “tree” structure, like the NCAA’s March Madness brackets. The top three teams in each of the four NHL divisions earn playoff spots, along with two wildcards that go to teams holding the two best records from the remaining non-playoff clubs. That structure provides the first-round matchups for the hockey UNU Swarm to predict.
There are three first-round series that the swarm feels very confident in, as well as at least one series that this UNU sees as completely unpredictable. A look at Vegas's current wagering odds suggests that the public sees a Washington win over Toronto as a foregone conclusion. While UNU also thinks the Capitals will win, the swarm disagrees with that sentiment and thinks that Chicago and Pittsburgh will have a comparatively easier time in their first round matchups. We can take a look at both to see what a game at the top of the prediction chart looks like, versus one at the bottom:
Because the NHL no long re-seeds for subsequent playoff rounds, Unanimous A. I. can ask the NHL UNU Swarm to predict potential matchups later in the postseason. Using the results of the first-round predictions, the swarm can move on through subsequent playoff rounds to determine the team they think has the most likely chance of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup next month.
As you can see, if UNU is right once again, they might need to change Chicago’s nickname from Windy City to Title Town.
Every week Unanimous A. I. brings together swarms of regular people just like you to help us predict sporting events, investment opportunities, and technology as well as provide insight into everything from pop culture to politics. If you’d like information on joining one of our swarms – or just want to know what UNU sees for the future – please drop by UNU.