There were two games in the NHL last night. The Stars and Blues game was the kind of fast-paced, end-to-end hockey you don’t expect in late April. The Sharks stormed the Predators for five goals in the third period. Defenseman Brent Burns was nominated for the Norris too.
There’s plenty to look at but, before we start, the usual on reading the game charts:
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 games…
This game had the feel of a track meet as the two teams eventually warmed up then seemed to race down the ice for the latter half of the game. Klingberg and Goligoski finished with the game’s best Corsi differentials. Spezza, Eaves, and Benn were also sharp.
For the Blues, Tarasenko was strong, Lehtera and Fabbri finished in the positives, and Parayko came out just above break-even.
At the other end of the game chart, Backes, Russell, and Steen struggled most. However, all were better than -10, so there isn’t much to worry about for any of the three. Steen can usually be relied upon for positive differentials, so don’t expect to see him this low again anytime soon.
This series is going to be fun.
Stars lead 1-0.
This game erupted in the third as the Sharks swarmed the Predators and scored five times in the third period. Ward, Donskoi, and Couture finished with the game’s best differentials and Vlasic, Martin, and Burns were strong again too.
On Burns, he led all skaters with 9 iCF on the night he was nominated for the Norris. While Doughty and Karlsson have stolen the spotlight in the best defenseman debate, Burns deserves to be counted among the elite at the position as well.
For the Predators, Ellis and Ekholm were solid. Ekholm has peaks and valleys to his shot differential performances but Ellis has been a steady plus in the playoffs.
At the other end of the game chart, Salomaki, Gaustad, Nystrom, Weber, and Josi were worst. Nothing new for this group of skaters. Weber and Josi logged a ton of 5v5 ice time relative to everyone else, which explains the mostly red bars on this game chart.
Sharks lead 1-0.