There were four games of NHL playoffs action last night. Philadelphia hung tight with Washington, Florida and the Islanders played a wild one, Dallas dominated, and the Sharks sunk the Kings. Some analytics-friendly names hopped to the top of the game charts too.
Before we start, the blurb on reading the graphs:
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 the games…
Full points to the Flyers for keeping this one close. Some have suggested that this series may be closer than predicted. Still, the Caps prevailed and Williams led the way. Kuznetsov was excellent, as usual. He amassed 7 iCF. Washington dominated the top of the chart.
At the other end, several Flyers sunk to the bottom of the graph. Gudas and Manning were the game’s worst, both posting Corsi differentials in excess of -10.
Ovechkin was held to 2 iCF in this one. If the Flyers have designs to steal a game or two in this series, continuing to limit Ovechkin will be key.
Capitals lead 1-0.
Campbell led all, Gudbranson and Barkov posted 6 iCF each, and the Panthers dominated the top of the game chart. In the end, their decent puck possession work wasn’t enough. The Islanders snuck enough shots past Luongo to steal this one away.
Still, Bailey was awful and Pulock, Leddy, and Hamonic owned the game’s worst Corsi differentials. If the Islanders continue to chase the puck, the Panthers will remain a good bet to take this series.
Islanders lead 1-0.
For a long stretch, the Stars skated circles around the Wild, limiting their shots and dominating the puck. Oddly, by game’s end, this effect had mitigated. Granlund, Scandella, and Pominville were the game’s best. Faksa led the way for the Stars.
The Wild owned the bottom of the graph as well. Carter, Fontaine, and Stoll were the game’s worst. Interestingly, despite 4 iCF, Klingberg posted a negative Corsi differential.
This was a weird one. Expect the Stars to continue to roll.
Stars lead 1-0.
The Sharks emerged with a hard-fought victory in what is probably the first round’s tightest matchup. Paul Martin, one of the more underappreciated defensemen in the league right now, emerged as the game’s leader. Melker Karlsson was huge, posting 9 iCF. Shout out to Chris Tierney on the plus side.
A couple of oddities at the negative end of the game chart. Martinez was the game’s worst (not typical) and Jake Muzzin was a negative despite blasting 6 iCF. Doughty was a negative on the night as well.
This series will start anew with each game. Expect a back-and-forth series all the way to seven games.
San Jose leads 1-0.