Last night, the Sharks climbed back into the Stanley Cup Final series, holding off the Penguins in Pittsburgh and forcing a game six back in San Jose.
San Jose stormed out early in the first, relinquished their lead, and then scored the 3-2 marker. That lead stood for the rest of the game as the Sharks relied on Martin Jones to do virtually everything else:
Jones made 44 saves in all as the Penguins won the all-situations Corsi battle 76-36.
That’s right. 76-36.
Clearly, this isn’t the kind of play that San Jose should rely on in the long-term. But, in a short series, anything is possible. After last night’s game, the series odds are still widely in Pittsburgh’s favour…just not as much as the Pens were favoured prior to the game.
Before the game chart, a few words on how the graph works:
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 chart…
Letang was a dominant force, leading all in Corsi differential and 5v5 TOI, while managing 5 iCF. Crosby, Hornqvist, Sheary, and Malkin joined Letang at the top of the chart. In fact, the Penguins occupy 15 of the 17 positive slots on this game chart.
For the Sharks, only Dillon and Donskoi were above break-even.
Hornqvist led all with 9 iCF. Burns managed 7 iCF but was buried deep on the game chart, finishing at ~-10 in Corsi +/-.
The game’s worst differentials belong to Martin and Vlasic. Martin approached the -20 mark, while Vlasic was closer to -15. Spaling, Burns, Ward, and Nieto joined them at the bottom of the graph. The Sharks own 16 of the 19 negative slots.
Last night, the Penguins deserved a better fate. But ask San Jose if that matters to them at all as the series travels back to California.
Penguins lead series 3-2.