There was only one game in the NHL last night but it was a doozy.
Many folks picked the Penguins to take this series despite the fact that the Capitals enjoyed a dominant regular season. There’s lots to like on both sides. The Penguins, rejuvenated under Mike Sullivan, are deep at forward and dominate puck possession. The Capitals are led by strong goaltending, depth throughout the lineup, and one of the game’s best coaches.
The series should be very tight – don’t expect this to be the last of overtime between these teams.
Before a look at the game chart, here’s the usual on how to read it:
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…
Hagelin, Kessel, and Letang led the way in this one. Richards (?!), Carlson, and Burakovsky were best for the Capitals. Crosby and Ovechkin both finished as pluses as well.
Kessel was excellent in this one, launching 10 iCF. He’s been very god throughout the playoffs and is getting plenty of shot attempts. Carlson led all players in iCF with 11. The Capitals’ defenseman does a good job of regularly contributing to the offense by getting pucks at the net at 5v5.
At the other end, Matt Cullen struggled most, posting a Corsi differential of ~-15. Kuznetsov was right behind Cullen and was the worst for the Caps. Rust, Daley, and Williams (strange) round out the bottom five in Corsi +/-. Don’t expect Cullen or Williams to repeat in this spot on the chart.
Great start to what should be an excellent round two series.