Steelers to face Cardiff Devils in playoffs

Sheffield Steelers will be facing the Cardiff Devils in the playoffs.

The first leg takes place in Sheffield this Saturday, followed by a trip to Cardiff on Sunday.

But who will earn their place in the next stage of the playoffs? We’ve analysed the statistics for you to see what they can tell us about the two teams and their chances this weekend.

The Statistics

Looking at the season as a whole, the statistics suggest that Cardiff are the favourites for the game.

The Devils finished second in the league, drawing on 92 points with champions the Belfast Giants.

Sheffield finished 7th, five points above the relegation zone.

Cardiff are superb defensively and have conceded the least goals of any team in the league. They have also managed to combine this defence excellently with attack, scoring over 50 more goals than the Steelers.

Unsurprisingly this had led to more wins for the devils, earning 43 wins from 60 games, compared to 30 wins for the Steelers.

Cardiff also have the highest shot conversion rate in the league, scoring 11% of the time from their 2,133 shots. There 91.3% save rate is the second highest in the league, 0.1% behind the Belfast Giants.

However, a comparison of the teams more recent form suggests the game might be a tighter affair.

Both teams have won 4 of their last six games, with the Steelers actually beating the Devils 5-4 in March. However Cardiff did thrash Sheffield 6-0 in a game a couple weeks before.

Cardiff will also have to get over the psychological effect of losing the championship in the last game of the season following their 3-1 defeat to Coventry last weekend.

Cardiff have maintained their excellent defence during the last six games, conceding only nine goals.

However, despite scoring 21 in the same period, this number has been inflated by their nine goal smashing of bottom place Milton Keynes Lighting. Failing to get more than one goal against Dundee and Coventry highlights the problem the Devils sometimes face in attack.

Sheffield have managed to score 23 goals in their last six games, scoring at least four in five of these.

The Reaction

Sheffield Head Coach, Tom Barrasso, speaking on playing Cardiff in the playoffs said: “They are fallible and they can be beaten, we’ve beaten them ourselves on one occasion and they’ve made us look bad on a few occasions.

“It’s gonna be about work and commitment to doing the things that we do and compete as hard as we can.”

Both sets of fans seemed confident on Twitter however.

Over 2,500 tickets have already been sold for the game in Sheffield.