There was one game in the NHL last night. The Caps and Pens are locked into a highly entertaining series that may have been better cast as the Eastern Conference Final, rather than a second round matchup.
As with any meet between these two, a discussion of penalties swirled up last night as well. Japers’ Rink posted something interesting:
Basically, the Penguins have generally enjoyed more power plays when playing against the Capitals. That becomes even more pronounced in playoff games (red bars).
I’ll leave it with no more comment than this – it’s war when these two teams lock up.
Another interesting story is the lopsided, all-situations Corsi battle. The Caps blasted 85 shots at the net (Corsi) last night. The Pens responded with only 36. That’s not a differential that leads to long-term success.
Finally, the league’s response to the Letang hit will be very interesting, especially because of the Orpik suspension. Here’s the hit:
Johansson was fine and came back to play in this one. Regardless of whether or not a suspension is leveled, this series will be even hotter the rest of the way.
Okay, 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.
As you might expect with such a lopsided all-situations Corsi differential, the 5v5 story for individual players is tilted in the Caps’ favour.
Carlson was the game’s best. Orlov, Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Ovechkin finished near the top. Carlson and Ovechkin led all with 9 iCF each. Only Crosby, Hornqvist, Kunitz, and Pouliot finished with positive Corsi differentials for the Penguins.
At the other end of the game chart, several Pens were blasted. Kuhnackl, Letang, Hagelin, Dumoulin, Fehr, Bonino, and other finished worse than -10 in Corsi +/-. The list of Pens in the negatives goes on and on.
Somehow, Winnik, Beagle, and Alzner finished as slight negatives despite the Capitals shot onslaught. Their results don’t look so bad but, given the context, it’s strange that any Washington skater managed to come out on the wrong side of the puck possession battle last night.
Penguins lead 2-1.