The Stanley Cup Final resumed last night and the Sharks finally made some noise in a series that was slowly slipping away.
Scoring late in the third period at the tail end of a four-minute penalty to Nick Bonino, Joel Ward yet again showed why he was a shrewd pick-up for the Sharks this season. He crossed the blue line and launched a long blast that Murray should’ve stopped…but didn’t:
The pensive, nervous crowd in San Jose was re-invigorated and the Sharks seemed to finally gain some traction. In the first overtime frame, Donskoi took advantage of a flaw in Murray’s game, swooping around the back of the goal and scoring up high:
Goaltending expert Greg Balloch explained the issue with Murray’s positioning on the play.
Murray has been a saviour for the Penguins. He stepped in to a difficult situation and has been strong in his first playoffs run. But, like any goalie (especially a young goalie?) he has his flaws. One of those flaws was taken advantage of last night by Donskoi.
We’ve got a series.
In fact, Donskoi’s overtime goal swung the series win probability immensely.
That huge drop at the end of game three returned the series win probability to approximately the same level as the end of game one, which makes sense. That’s a huge swing with on shot on goal.
Before the game chart, the usual on how to read them:
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…
Letang was the game’s best. He contributed 8 iCF to his game-best Corsi differential as well. Dumo was strong, and Malkin, Cole, and Schultz (again!) finished at the top. Couture, Thornton, and Pavelski were the only Sharks to finish in the pluses.
Burns had another weird night. He finished with 12 iCF (excellent) but finished with a negative Corsi differential (not excellent). That indicates some truly high event play.
At the negative end, Maatta and Lovejoy logged a difficult night, each finishing near -15 in Corsi +/-. But the game’s worst was Nick Spaling, who amassed a mark of nearly -20. Only four Penguins finished on the negative side of the ledger.
The Penguins still lead the series and the Sharks continue to chase the puck in this series. But San Jose now has a win and another home ice game up next. SJ isn’t going out quietly.
Penguins lead series 2-1.