I'm pleased as punch that the Predators have extended the series to six games. It forces the Canucks to travel back to Nashville, and gives San Jose a chance to finish off the Wings and get some rest for what looks like the inevitable Canucks-Sharks Conference Final. But it's not quite inevitable. Even if a comeback is unlikely, maybe the Canucks play a stinker in Nashville, and Rinne has the game of his life in Game Seven. That really doesn't sound too outlandish. Let's make it happen! Scoring chances and more after the jump.
For those who'd like a definition: a scoring chance is defined as a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area - loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots, though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score. Finally, a big thanks to Vic Ferrari for making the whole damn thing possible with his awesome scripts.
|Period||Nsh / Van||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
I didn't count a couple of goals as chances, namely Nashville's second goal from behind the net and Ryan Kesler's goal to make it 4-3 which came from above the faceoff circle. The Predators had a really nice run to start the third period that won them the game. It was one of their best periods of the series, but the game as a whole still left an awful lot to be desired. It's hard to see them winning two more games getting outchanced like this, but I suppose it's possible.
Children of Light
3. Daniel Sedin - Yeah, I know that he was minus a bunch, and that's going to be mentioned too, but I think it's important to acknowledge that eighty or ninety percent of the time that the Sedins were on the ice, they were dominating play (they had over half of the team's chances!). I thought Daniel screwed up less on the goals, so gave him the nod as the good brother, but they were both good for most of the game.
2. Blake Geoffrion - This a more of a cumulative recognition than anything else, but Blake Geoffrion has been a very good player for Nashville in this series. Last night, he was one of the few Predators with a positive scoring chance differential (+1), and the only forward with a positive Corsi differential (+2). When Sami Salo knocked Nick Spaling out of the game by launching him head first into the boards from behind (which went unpenalized), Geoffrion got a few more minutes. He should be getting a lot more. In the five games played so far, Geoffrion leads the team with a Corsi differential of +6; the next closest forward who's played in all five games is
1. Joel Ward - who has a Corsi rating of -2 in the series. He was a force in last night's game, scoring two goals including the game-winner, both on fantastic wrist-shots. He's one of the few Predators who never looks out of place either in terms of the flow of play or in terms of the physicality required to be effective. He's hard in front of the net, and along the boards; his UFA status at the end of the year was mentioned a couple of times last night, and it seems likely that he'll be moving on after this year is over. Nashville really is going to miss him.
Children of Darkness
3. Sergei Kostitsyn - I called that "Holding the Stick" penalty from my couch (although I would have loved to know Shea Weber's exact thoughts at that moment). For the rest of the time, Kostitsyn was a non-factor offensively, as has been the case for the entire series. The team needs him to be creating chances, and he just plain hasn't been able to get it done.
2. Henrik Sedin - The Sedins were good, but they had their awful moments. The power play was really quite bad in its two attempts, and a lot of that is on Henrik, who looked positively lazy "trying" to come back on David Legwand's short-handed break-away. Nashville's third goal involved a bad pass from Kevin Bieksa, but it sure didn't help that all three forwards were skating around up high. I don't know for sure that it was Henrik's responsibility to come low to help out, but that would traditionally be the center's responsibility. When the turnover happened, the Predators had an immediate 3-on-2 and scored easily. Basically, not enough hustle in the defensive end the odd time the puck actually made it back there.
1. Alexander Edler - Punching a puck into your own net (Nashville's second goal), and then having a brutal giveaway lead to another (Nashville's fourth goal) is not good at all. Edler also shares some of the responsibility for a power play that never could get on track.