There were 3 games on the NHL schedule to kick off the playoffs on Wednesday night. The Lightning survived the Red Wings, the Pens rolled over the Rangers, and the Blues blanked the Blackhawks.
The game charts are unchanged from the regular season. Here’s the note on how to read them:
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.
On with our first night of playoff action…
The first game between Detroit and Tampa Bay was exactly the type of seesaw battle that many predicted prior to the playoffs. Braydon Coburn was the game’s best, which is a good sign for the Lightning as they wait on one of their defensemen to claim Stralman’s minutes during the playoff run.
The iCF totals weren’t outstanding. Kucherov enjoyed a strong match and posted 6 iCF to lead all skaters. Drouin mustered 5 iCF and showed that he can plug part of the hole punched out by Stamkos’ injury.
For the Red Wings, Glendening did what he always does – chase the puck. Green, Ericsson, and Helm weren’t much better in terms of Corsi differential.
Series: TB 1 – DET 0
Yandle hardly gets the love he deserves in New York. He remains a top-notch defender and led all in this game. His performance included 5 iCF as well. Brassard and Marc Staal posted 7 and 6 iCF respectively to lead all skaters in individual attempts.
On the flip side, several Penguins owned the bottom of this game chart. Maatta posted the game’s worst Corsi differential, Kessel was close behind, and Schultz, Cole, and Hagelin dotted the bottom of the chart as well. The Pens will take the big win but better puck management will be needed going forward.
Crosby and Letang were minuses. I wouldn’t bet on that repeating.
Joel Edmundson has enjoyed a quietly successful season. His regular season Corsi differential was almost always positive and he led the way in the first playoff game between the Blues and Blackhawks.
Shattenkirk led all with 8 iCF and the timeless Marian Hossa posted 7 iCF.
But the true tale of this game was a pounding by the Blackhawks. Bouwmeester and Pietrangelo both registered ~-15 Corsi differentials and Berglund, Steen, and Backes weren’t far behind. The Blues cannot afford to have some of their top TOI skaters get pummeled like this if they hope to bounce the Blackhawks out of the playoffs.