There were three games in the NHL yesterday. The Blues beat down the Stars, the Capitals crept back into the series against the Penguins, and the Sharks sunk the Predators. All three series have moved to 3-2, making this an impressively even conference semi-final round.
Oh and Bruce Boudreau got hired last night. Somehow, GM Dorion and the Senators botched their shot at landing the hotly pursued free agent coach. The Wild swooped in and inked Boudreau to a four-year deal at $2.76 million. Thanks to data at Capfriendly, here’s a chart of the coaching salaries for which we have public confirmation.
It’s worth noting that Tippett is set to move up based on his new extension. Hitchcock is also missing because he is a free agent at season’s end, unless the Blues ever decide to stop letting him dangle in the wind.
Okay, back to 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.
Let’s have a look at the games.
Hemsky has enjoyed a nice surge in the playoffs. He led all with 6 iCF in this game and posted the best Corsi differential. Roussel and Faksa joined him at the top of the game chart. Goligoski was strong for the Stars as well.
For the Blues, only two skaters managed a positive Corsi +/- at 5v5 – Jaden Schwartz and Jay Bouwmeester. Not a recipe for success, long-term.
At the negative end, Gunnarsson, Berglund, and Parayko struggled most. However, no one was worse than -7, indicating that the puck possession battle was fairly close at even-strength. Nothing to fret about for these three.
Blues lead 3-2.
On the brink of elimination, the Capitals showed they won’t quietly into that goodnight. Alzner led, and Niskanen and Burakovsky posted good shot differentials. For the Penguins, Schultz, Kunitz, Rust, and Malkin were all solid pluses.
That’s great news on Schultz who’s trying to earn some leash on a thin Pens blue line.
Burakovsky, Kuznetsov, and Crosby tied for the game-high with 6 iCF. 6 or 7 iCF is a fairly typical game-high. Nothing remarkable.
On the negative end, Carlson was demolished in this game. Beagle, Chimera, Orlov, and Williams round out the bottom-five. If the Caps wish to force a game seven, Carlson can’t be the game’s worst – he logs too much TOI for that.
Penguins lead 3-2.
Vlasic was the game’s best (nothing new) and Braun and Marleau posted strong games as well. Bitetto, Johansen, and Forsberg looked good for the Preds, mixing in with the game leaders in Corsi differential.
Hertl and Couture led the way with 7 iCF each. Burns posted 6 iCF but finished just barely in the negatives.
At the bottom of the chart, Ekholm and Ellis stand alone. The two were blasted, each finishing well in excess of -10. Ward and Tierney struggled most for the Sharks but weren’t remarkably outplayed.
The Sharks will get their chance to continue slaying their playoffs demons next time out.
Sharks lead series 3-2.