There was one game in the NHL playoffs last night. The Lightning squandered a golden opportunity to eliminate the Penguins. Pittsburgh roared out to a 3-0 lead, let Tampa Bay sneak back in to 3-2, then finished with two unanswered goals.
As part of the 3-0 build, Crosby showed that he’s still the most talented overall player in the game, recovering a puck, changing speeds to enter the offensive zone, sliding through two defenders, and finishing with deft accuracy:
Matt Murray returned to the net for the Pens, which was certainly the right call. Vasilevskiy continued to hold strong for the Lightning.
It’s worth noting that Bryan Rust sealed the win with a beautiful 4-2 goal. That’s right. Bryan Rust.
So, the series comes down to game seven in Pittsburgh. It’s a shame this series has to end at all – it’s been filled with the highs and lows that people hope for when they think of playoff hockey.
A few words on reading the graphs before we get to the game chart:
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 chart…
The overall, all-situations Corsi battle was tight in this one; 60-55 for the Lightning. At 5v5, the same story played out. Tampa owned the top of the chart but the Pens and Lightning mix together liberally throughout the positives.
Sustr was the game’s best and Killorn, Kucherov, and Paquette followed immediately behind him. Letang, Dumoulin, and Crosby were best for the Penguins. That’s great news for Letang and the Pens as the star blue liner was awful last time out.
At the negative end of the chart, Lovejoy and Maatta were dominated. Each finished around -10 in Corsi differential. The HBK line was near the bottom too. Carle, Palat, and Drouin were worst for Tampa Bay.
Killorn led all with 9 iCF, which is a strong total. Hedman managed 7 iCF but finished in the negatives. Not his best work.
It all comes down to one game…
Series tied 3-3.