A busy night in the NHL featured 20 teams in action. Kessel and Letang continued to roll in Pittsburgh, Weber was a plus (again!), Hemsky and Foligno were game leaders, and 2/3 of all Staals were Corsi differential negatives in their head-to-head matchup.
Before digging into the game charts, the usual words:
A couple of notes on reading the charts:
- the Corsi differential is based on 5v5 play and is score-adjusted, as per war-on-ice.
- players at the top (with bars extending to the right) posted positive differentials (good)
- players at the bottom (and to the left) posted negative differentials (bad)
- the colour of each bar represents the player’s time on ice (see legend at the bottom)
- each players individual Corsi For attempts are included in parentheses
- a player with a strong C +/- but a (0) for iCF didn’t directly contribute to his strong showing.
- a player with a weak C +/- but a strong iCF score (i.e. greater than 5) may have been hindered by linemates. Maybe.
- like any reasonable person, I don’t believe that Corsi is everything. But it’s a very important part of the everything.
And now, onto the graphs.
Foligno led all but was followed closely by Strome and Kulemin, who both posted positive Corsi differentials for the Isles. Campbell was worst (typical) and Lee joined him at the bottom of the chart.
Interestingly, Shane Prince continued his negative possession play with the Islanders. He was a plus player on a team with few while in Ottawa. Yet, NYI hasn’t seemed to agree with him thus far.
Kessel’s been hot as a dog of late and Kris Letang contributed 5 iCF in another strong effort. Weber was a plus too, part of a recent trend of positive Corsi differentials for the World Cup of Hockey defender.
Justin Schultz was also a Corsi differential plus and must notice a major shift going from a perennial bottom feeder to a playoffs-bound squad.
The Staal brothers were all involved in this one. Eric managed a positive Corsi differential in his homecoming. Marc and Jordan weren’t so luck – each finished on the negative side of the Corsi differential.
Brown, Hainsey, and Ryan led this one and Jeff Skinner wowed with 10 iCF. When dialed in, Skinner an excellent linemates.
Byron and Galchenyuk led. Pacioretty was close behind and posted 7 iCF.
On the negative side, Sustr struggled most, posting ~-10 Corsi differential. After that, only a handful of skaters were around the -5 mark. The puck battle was tight in this one.
Games like this are a hopeful note for Habs fans hoping that Price’s return is the only missing ingredient for a successful 2016-17 season.
Huberdeau, Jagr, and Barkov led as the rats rained down in Florida. The Panthers and their fans sense the magic in this season’s run and the team is likely more than happy to swap a couple of minor penalties for the sense of fun and team that surrounds the group right now.
On the flip side of the chart, New Jersey’s Palmieri found himself near the bottom again. Helgeson and Boucher struggled most. Larsson and Greene were among the most negative in Corsi +/-. These are standard happenings for the Devils.
So it goes.
Coyle and Karlsson led the way and young Sens defenseman Fredrik Claesson posted a game-high 6 iCF. Ben Harpur was also strong in his debut for the Sens, in limited minutes. For the Senators, these glimmers of hope are needed as the team preps for an off-season of old-school roster management.
Fontaine, Granlund and Zucker struggled most for Minnesota. The Wild have been up and down all year long. The time to find consistency is running out quickly.
Nelson was strong for the Sabres last time out. Last night, the young Sabres’ defender led all (in limited TOI). Larsson and Foligno were strong for Buffalo as well.
The Leafs juggled their lineup a little as Kapanen, Campbell, Froese, and Lindberg received extended looks. Nylander was a plus again and Lindberg was just above break-even in his debut.
Oh, and Gorges and Ristolainen were pluses, which briefly caused the game charts to enter a diagnostic mode to check for errors.
Hemsky made use of a pre-game time machine to return to 2008. He led all and posted 4 iCF. The veteran skater has actually provided some value to the Stars roster this season.
Klingberg, Goligoski, and Johns – all with negative showings of late – bounced back to post positive Corsi differentials in this one.
For the Coyotes, Michalek, Connauton, and Grossmann struggled, which has been a common enough refrain throughout the season. This defense corps has not been an NHL-calibre group this year and needs time to improve.
The Capitals, Stars, Ducks, Penguins, etc… are scary teams as the playoffs approach. But no team carries the silent and deadly profile of the Los Angeles Kings. Capably dominating puck possession every night, the Kings appear poised for a deep, long playoff run.
Schenn led the way in this one (which says something about the quality of this team). Carter and Brown each posted 7 iCF.
The Kings are very, very good.
For the Flames, Bennett was demolished, finishing in excess of -20 Corsi differential. Brodie, Jooris, and Ferland weren’t far behind.
Burrows led all in this one and Gaunce made another appearance at the top of the game chart. Ward and Donskoi were best for the Sharks.
Bartkowski had a great night, posting 6 iCF and a positive Corsi +/-.
Granlund and Wingels struggled most, each registering ~-8 in Corsi differential.