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EA Sports simulates the NHL season, crowns L.A. Kings again

Opening day's in one week, hockey fans, and EA Sports is here to save you a whole bunch of time by simulating the upcoming season in NHL 15 and telling you who wins the Stanley Cup.

That'll be the Los Angeles Kings, again, subduing odds-on favorite Chicago 4-3 in the Western Conference Finals before dispatching Boston 4-2 in the Stanley Cup Final.

According to this simulation, the Eastern Conference won't be much different from the 2013-2014 season; seven of last year's eight playoff teams return, with the Maple Leafs joining the party at Detroit's expense. Columbus, the seventh-place finisher in the east, will make it to the Eastern Conference Finals; the 15-year-old franchise has never won a playoff series in two appearances to date.

The Western Conference is a different story, with five 2013-2014 playoff teams — Anaheim, St. Louis, Colorado, San Jose and Dallas — not making it back this year. The simulation says Calgary finishes last overall in the league, with 64 points.

Here's how EA Sports shows its math:

A simulation is conducted by artificial intelligence or logic of the video game that uses real-life data from each player. Results are extrapolated by the video game when two teams match up based on player ratings, line combinations, and include variances such as injuries and hot streaks to give a realistic outcome of a game or series.

Despite his team getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs by Columbus, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins will take home four individual awards, including the Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the league's MVP.

Opening Night in the NHL is on Oct. 8, commencing with four rivalry matches — Montreal-Toronto; Philadelphia-Boston; Vancouver-Calgary and San Jose-Los Angeles. For more on NHL 15see Polygon's review. We scored it a 5.5, praising the on-ice action but lamenting the glaring absence of gameplay modes that had made the game so engrossing on the previous console generation.

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