Stanley Cup 2011 Sparklines

I’ll share with you the graph that inspired me to create the site.  I originally published it on my personal blog, but I thought it was worth re-sharing since it started the ball rolling for

“How many minutes has each team led in the Stanley Cup?” wondered fellow GraphGraphian Andrew as we were watching the tail end of Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup.

After Game 6 concluded, Boston tied the series at 3 games a piece.  Using the Sparkline feature in Excel 2010, I looked at the minute-by-minute scores and the results are interesting.  Despite the series being all square at that point at 3-3, Boston dominated minutes lead 164 to 36 (45% to 10%).

After a dominating Game 7, Boston lead 50% of the minutes compared to Vancouver which only lead 9%.

I also took a look back at the last time Vancouver was in a Game 7 final in the Stanley Cup, and that was 1994 when they faced the New York Rangers.

The conclusions that I can draw from seeing this:

  • While in both years the series went to seven games, minutes lead was more evenly distributed in 1994.  In 2011 the games they won, they took the lead late.  Meanwhile the games they lost, the lost the lead early on.
  • A win/loss sparkline setup, along with clear color distinction can give an easy view of the trends across the minutes of a game in a setup that hockey fans can easy understand.