There were 4 games in NHL playoffs action last night. The Panthers and Islanders completed their back-to-back, the Detroit/Tampa Bay and Chicago/St. Louis series played their second games, and the Nashville/Anaheim series started.
Lots of interesting game chart placements to get to. Before we start, here’s how to read 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.
Let’s get at it.
The Panthers dominated the puck last game out and blew their lead. The Islanders won the Corsi differential battle in this one and lost. Sometimes Corsi doesn’t match what we expect it to match. That’s always good to note.
The Tavares line was unreal. Dispelling any fears that he might be injured, JT, Nielsen, and Okposo pelted the Panthers’ net, each registering Corsi +/- in excess of +15. Okposo launched an excellent 9 iCF on goal. Leddy and Hickey were also strong.
At the other end, Gudbranson was worst and Matheson was nearby at the bottom of the game chart.
Yet, the Panthers emerged with the victory and evened this series up. So it goes.
Series tied 1-1.
In the wake of Stralman’s injury, the search has been on for a replacement for the key Swedes TOI and sublime puck management. Tonight, Garrison and Sustr stepped up to fill the void. The two led the Corsi differential battle. Killorn and Drouin weren’t far behind as Drouin is playing very well. Tough to form a coherent take on him right now based on the roller coaster season.
Hedman led with 6 iCF and is Tampa’s clear leader. He didn’t look great on the Larkin goal but Larkin’s burst is unbelievable.
The bottom of the game chart contains a predictable group. Dekeyser was the game’s worst, followed by Coburn, Glendening, and Paquette. This isn’t a first for any of these skaters.
So far so good for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay leads 2-0.
Aside from the Kings-Sharks series, this is round one’s tightest matchup. Toews rose to the top of the game chart last night with Hossa and Ladd nearby. Shattenkirk and the ever-underrated Steen were the best for the Blues.
Berglund mustered 7 iCF to lead all skaters. It’s also worth noting that Edmundson remained a plus (as always) but Parayko fell into the negatives in this one. Considering Parayko managed 6 iCF, that’s some high event play for the rookie blue liner.
Svedberg and Gunnarsson were the game’s worst but no one finished -10 or worse. That’s indicative of a reasonably balanced puck battle overall.
This series looks like a seven-gamer.
Series is tied 1-1.
The last series to start, the Preds won a tightly-contested game one against the Ducks. Johansen was the game’s best (hey Tortorella!) and James Neal blasted 11 iCF (huge). Ellis and Jackman were in strong spots for Nashville as well.
On the negative side, Fowler and Kesler were he game’s worst, finishing around -15 in Corsi differential. Silfverberg had a forgettable night and Weber sunk back to his usual territory after finishing the regular season on a mini-tear.
Predators lead 1-0.