There was one game in the NHL last night. Sidney Crosby netted an early OT winner, evening the Penguins vs. Lightning playoff series at 1-1 with the 3-2 victory.
Despite the obvious speed on both sides, the teams seemed to thwart each others’ shot attempts. The final all-situations Corsi differential was 69-44 in Pittsburgh’s failure – a middling total given the offensive skill of both teams.
In the end, the Penguins didn’t mind. Down 1-0 in the series prior to tonight’s game, and facing the return of Anton Stralman to the Lightning lineup, this was an important win to ensure that the Conference Final didn’t get away from them.
Before we get to the game chart, the usual words on how to read the graphs:
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.
Now, on to the game…
Kunitz led all (despite the eye test of many) and was followed closely by Letang, Crosby, Hornqvist, and Cullen. The Penguins dominated the positive side of the Corsi differential – no Lightning skaters finished as a plus. Garrison, Boyle, and Killorn were the closest to breaking even.
The case of Kunitz is interesting. Here are some of the current thoughts on Crosby’s winger:
Whether you’re a Kunitz supporter or not, Ryan’s right – when he’s on the ice, the Pens have the puck more often than not. Linemates, usage, etc… are factors, for sure.
Letang led all with 10 iCF – an excellent total for a single game. It’s incredible that Letang played in this game at all given the elbow shot to the head that he suffered in game one.
At the negative end of the game chart, Ondrej Palat was absolutely thumped. He registered a Corsi differential of ~-20. Filppula, Drouin, Coburn, and Carle were nearby.
Somehow, despite the strong puck possession work by the Pens, Hagelin and Bonino finished in the negatives (slightly). Interesting.
Series tied 1-1.