There were 4 playoff games in the NHL last night. Tampa Bay tightened their hold on Detroit, Pittsburgh reclaimed the series lead, the Blues pushed to the Blackhawks to the brink of elimination, and the Ducks dodged a big hole, claiming their first win.
Before we start, the charts work like this:
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 to the game charts…
Sustr was the best in this one, a welcome sign for the Lightning. Brendan Smith (yes, the one who is sometimes a healthy scratch Brendan Smith) was at the top of the game chart too (as he always is). Drouin posted 5 iCF and has certainly looked like he belongs so far.
At the other end, the owners of the game’s worst Corsi differentials are a familiar group. Abdelkader, Ericsson, Kronwall, and Sheahan were the game’s worst. Nothing new.
The Lightning are on the verge of a round 2 berth.
Lightning lead 3-1.
Letang won’t win the Norris this year but there was a lot to like about his regular season play on a blue line ravaged by injuries and a lack of depth. His heroic blue line work has continued into the playoffs. He was the game’s best in this one and posted 6 iCF.
The only player with more iCF? Phil Kessel. He’s looked good so far in this series and it’s pretty easy to cheer for a fellow who suffered under the heavy media scrutiny in Toronto.
At the other end, Skjei posted an atrocious Corsi differential – around -16. McDonagh, Boyle, and E Staal struggled too.
This series has some back and forth to it but Matt Murray could be the key to the Penguins eventual triumph. He looked good in this one – though the Rangers didn’t bother to test him much (only 42 Corsi in the entire game – yikes).
Penguins lead 2-1.
The Blackhawks launched twice as many total Corsi attempts on goal throughout the game (66-34). Most of Chicago’s skaters finished with a positive Corsi differential, including game leader Artem Anisimov (7 iCF). Heck, even Seabrook was a plus.
On the flip, Pietrangelo, Stastny, Bouwmeester, Parayko, Shattenkirk…some of the Blues’ most important skaters finished with Corsi differentials in excess of -10.
And it didn’t matter.
The Blues have edged the Blackhawks to the brink of elimination. They can close out in their next game.
Blues lead 3-1.
The Ducks and Predators finished a mixed bag of results. Stewart and Perron were best. Despres posted 6 iCF. Ellis posted 5 iCF and Ekholm was near the top of the chart. The chart flops back and forth between Anaheim and Nashville skaters.
On the negative side, Josi was worst but only finished at -9 in Corsi differential. Bad, but not so, so bad. Weber and Vatanen were next worst. Neal was near the bottom as well despite 4 iCF – that tells you he was involved in high-event play (no surprise).
In the end, the Ducks have finally entered the playoffs. One more victory and they reset this series that was starting to look like a lost cause very quickly.
Predators lead 2-1.