I know there are some guys on here who are really into the numbers and things like Corsi and Fenwick. Thought you might find this info interesting that I compiled for a class I took last year.
Professor gave us a list of about 150 different ideas for a project, one of which involved the Stanley Cup Finals. So, choose it. Found some interesting results. Note: This was done last April, so last year's Chicago-Boston Final is not included.
Best of 7 for the finals started in 1939. Since then, their have been 20 sweeps, 17 times it has ended in 5, 20 times in 6 and 16 times in 7.
From 95-98, we had 4 straight sweeps, but since 99 only once has a series not gone 6 or 7 games (2007 Anaheim beat Ottawa in 5).
From 71-2000, the series lasted 7 games only 3 times (71, 87, 94). Since 2001, 6 of 11 have gone 7 games.
Looked at the teams, but for this we didn't count 1995 (no, not because the Devils won) since the teams played completely different schedules. The team with more points in the regular season has won 54 times out of 70. Twice (75 and 92) the teams had the same amount of points, but in both cases the team that held the tie-breaker and thus home-ice advantage won the series.
Since 87 (again not including 95), the team with home-ice has won 18 out of 23 times.
The team with home-ice has LOST 3 of the last 4, but the same thing happened from 83-86. From 87-2008, the team with home-ice has won all but 2 (90 and 97).
So, if you want to place a wager based on history, take the team with home-ice if you are laying odds of 3.375-to-1 or less. Take the other team if you are GETTING odds of 3.375 to 1 or better.
Also compared Points Percentage of each team (# of points earned in regular season divided by number of possible points). Most likely to see an upset if there is a difference of 5-9.99%. 13 times there has been an upset when the difference is less than 10%. Only 3 when the difference was greater than 10%, did the underdog win. One was 1980, and the other 2 were during the Original 6 days.
Quickly looked at play-offs. Since 87 when the first round went best-of-7, no team has ever won the Cup if they lost more than 6 games in the first 3 rounds combined. Only 4 times a team got to the Finals if they lost 7 games in the first 3 rounds (all 4 teams lost in the Finals). Nobody has ever got to the finals if they lost 8 or 9. If the Kings and/or Rangers win they will be the first to get to the finals after losing 8 (or 9). If the Rangers beat Montreal, we will also be guaranteed to have a team win the Cup after losing 7 or more.