California sunlight, sweet Calcutta rain
Honolulu starbright - the song remains the same.
--Led Zeppelin, "The Song Remains The Same"
Whether it's in the California sunlight or the Colorado mountains, the story remains unchanged. The San Jose Sharks are pasting the Colorado Avalanche and Craig Anderson is single-handedly keeping Colorado in this series. The Avs posted a team Corsi of -24, meaning that they are -93 in the last three games on the Corsi tote board. Anderson faced another 45 shots, bringing his three game total to 148.
This game was a strange one. The Sharks dominated for long stretches, and the Avalanche would counter-punch for brief moments, usually with their bottom two lines. There were extended stretches where there was no action at all, the Avalanche were doing their best to clog the neutral zone (I noticed at least three sequences where the Avalanche played a 0-3-2) and the Sharks looked confused by the Avs' plan. The final six minutes of the first period saw just three scoring chances with a three minute sequence of neutral zone scrums resulting in no chances at all and a seven minute stretch in the second saw no chances at all. The third period was very tentative as there were two separate sequences, one that was six minutes long, one that was four minutes long with no chances. Four sequences making up 1/3 of the game were dead time, but the other 2/3 of the game saw 43 chances, by far the most in the series thus far.
Joe Pavelski got the accolades for his game-winner last night, but he and his linemates Ryan Clowe and Devin Setoguchi dominated the play when they were on the ice for the entire game. Joe Sacco again went with power-versus-power and matched Paul Stastny against Joe Thornton and Matt Duchene against Pavelski. Dany Heatley's return from injury really limited Thornton line's effectiveness, but Pavelski carried the mail in their stead. Pavelski's line led the Sharks in Corsi and Chances and had their way all night.
For those of you who are new to the concept of tracking scoring chances, 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. Vic Ferrari makes this all possible with his tools to evaluate Corsi, head-to-head ice time and scoring chances.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 30154
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Sweet Calcutta rain. The Sharks double up the Avs in chances and really thump them at even strength. The slow and tentative period that the Sharks put together in the third allowed the counter-attacking Avs to hang in there, but the rest of the game went as expected.
|SJS||1||18:48||PP - Goal||15||22||27||39||41||8||16||20||22||27||29||4v5|
|COL||2||16:33||PP - Goal||4||9||25||26||41||59||3||8||12||20||22||5v4|
A quick check here shows the long stretches of play without a chance.
Our script had a glitch in it as the chances for Anderson didn't compute correctly, but a quick count shows that everyone else is correct. You can see the shellacking that Duchene's line took here - they were thumped pretty badly. Stastny had his best game in three games by this metric, but I think most of it was due to Heatley's ineffectiveness.
Once again, the most successful Avs were the bottom two lines, perhaps exposing San Jose's lack of depth a bit, but they're still losing the battle each night.