There was one game in the NHL playoffs last night. The Tampa Bay Lightning inched a step closer to a Stanley Cup Final return, sinking the Penguins in overtime by a final score of 4-3.
Despite the frequent punishment he’s absorbed, the OT winner was off of Tyler Johnson’s back as he battled in front of the net:
The Pens returned to Marc-Andre Fleury as starter in this one. Fleury looked sharp early but finished with only 21 saves on the night. Expect the goalie carousel in Pittsburgh to spin full speed until game six.
The Penguins are now one win away from elimination and the Lightning are poised to compete for the Cup without their biggest star and their number one goaltender.
Before the game chart, the usual preamble on how to read the graph:
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 all-situations Corsi battle was almost dead-even in this one. The Lightning managed 56 shot attempts and Pittsburgh managed 54. At 5v5, the Penguins had the edge.
Maatta, Lovejoy, and Kunitz led the way. Malkin, Rust, and Bonino were at the top as well. Only Koekkoek, Drouin, Carle, Paquette, and Palat registered a positive Corsi differential for the Lightning.
Though neither exceeded -10, Letang and Crosby were the worst two on the game chart. That’s extremely odd. Even crazier is that Letang posted 8 iCF, the game-high, while finishing at the bottom. Callahan had 7 iCF and finished as a negative as well.
In the end, the Penguins face elimination as the extremely resilient Lightning are poised to return to the Cup Final. This will make for a must-see game six.
Lightning lead series 3-2.