There was one NHL playoff game last night. The St. Louis Blues bounced back, pounding the Sharks 6-3 and evening their series.
Interestingly, Ken Hitchcock found a way to credit the offensive outburst to his goalie switch:
For some, the idea that a goaltending switch might lead to a change in a team’s offense is a bit of a stretch:
Mercadante expertly pokes fun at the notion that goaltenders have a major influence on a team’s offense. A post hoc argument that a goaltender change could spark their team’s goal scoring is easily made when a team’s fortunes change. But it’s hard to argue that Allen himself was huge for the Blues (which is why Nick sarcastic tweet is great).
If goalie changes really do elicit an offensive response, Reimer’s entrance into last night’s game in relief of Jones should have propelled the Sharks to a comeback.
One way or the other, the Blues are back in this series and we have a game chart to examine. Here’s the usual pre-chart blurb:
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 chart…
The Sharks won the Corsi battle by a fair margin, which helps to explain how the individual Corsi differentials break down. Hertl was the game’s best and the familiar Sharks’ names joined Hertl near the top; Vlasic, Burns, Braun, Thornton, and Pavelski.
Brodziak’s offensive outburst was reflected here – he led the Blues in Corsi +/-. Edmundson was a plus as well.
Burns led all with 8 iCF. This is a recording.
Bouwmeester suck to the bottom of the game chart, post ~-14 Corsi differential. Brouwer, Steen, and Pietrangelo joined him at the bottom. For Steen, normally a productive shot generator, these playoffs have been a struggle. Here’s how his line has looked as a group:
Among line combos with more than 60 minutes of TOI together, Steen, Berglund, and Backes have been on of the worst lines in the playoffs in terms of shot differential.
In the end, this series has drawn back to even, just when it appeared the Blues may lay down.
Series tied 2-2.