There was only one game in the NHL last night. The Capitals and Penguins faced off in the fourth game of their round 2 series. Despite Kris Letang’s absense as he served his one-game suspension, the Penguins used speed and swarming defense to suffocate the Caps and steal a win in overtime.
Cullen scored the partial breakaway goal pictured above and Hornqvist cinched the game in overtime.
Incredible to think that the Penguins won without Fleury in net and without Letang on defense. While Letang’s return will cause a Pittsburgh-sized sigh of relief, Matt Murray may be permanently stealing the job as starter.
Before we get into the game chart, here’s the usual read on how the graphs work.
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…
The big guns for the Capitals were the best in this one. Backstrom, Ovechkin, Oshie, and Carlson led the way. Backstrom had 6 iCF, which tied him with Williams, Kuznetsov, and Dumoulin for the game-high in the category.
Only Kunitz, Malkin, and Rust registered positive Corsi differentials at 5v5 for the game. Cole was close, which is interesting to note because he did soak up a fair amount of ice time.
At the negative end, Lovejoy, Cullen, and Chimera were worst. But, each of the three were ~-7. This isn’t good but it certainly isn’t bad. It’s not rare to find skaters between -15 and -20 (think, Dan Girardi, Nik Grossmann, Josh Gorges, or Josh Bailey). Still, the Penguins will want to correct the Corsi balance as a group going forward.
Overall, the all-situations shot differential finished at 69-61 in favour of the Caps. Washington probably deserved a better fate but the Pens are using speed, defensive swarming, and opportunism to sink them. The Pens can close this series out in the next game.
Penguins lead 3-1.