So while you're getting ripped apart head to toe [as you fall into a black hole], you will also extrude through the fabric of space and time, like toothpaste squeezed through a tube. To all the words in the English language that describe ways to die (e.g., homicide, suicide, electrocution, suffocation, starvation) we add the term "spaghettification."
--Neil deGrasse Tyson, "Death By Black Hole"
The black hole that is Jack Johnson helped to kill the Kings via "spaghettification." I poked fun at Johnson throughout the series, but the underlying numbers reveal just how weak he was. He has an awful habit of getting caught in no-man's land on a consistent basis -- if Johnson lived on the Korean Peninsula, he would wander into the DMZ three or four times per day. It's not that he makes mistakes in his own zone, it's that he surprises everyone when he shows up in the right place. The Sharks took advantage of Johnson's play and buried him at even strength. The scoring chances do not paint a pretty picture.
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||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Except for the fourth line, the Sharks were all in the black at even strength.
White and Wallin were partners throughout the series except in game two, the game White missed after taking a dirty hit from Jarret Stoll. That game was one of the two in which the Sharks were outscored and it helped to save White's chances differential. For all of the flak Thornton takes about his playoff performance, he was at the head of the line for the Sharks in the scoring chances department. One are of concern for the Sharks moving forward might be the defensive liabilities of the Clowe - Couture - Heatley line.
Jack Johnson was just destroyed in this series. A look at the WOWY shows the stark details with Johnson on the ice:
Kings w/o Johnson: 36 / 45 - 44.4%
As bad as Johnson was, Doughty was just that good. His WOWY is stunning. He held the team together while on the ice, but as soon as he left, everything went bad, very bad.
Kings w/o Doughty: 23 / 54 - 29.9%
One of the interesting parts of Johnson's performance is his zonestart numbers. The first thing I thought about when looking at these numbers was the possibility of the Johnson - Scuderi pairing being thrown to the wolves. But that wasn't the case:
In fact, Alec Martinez was the only defenseman the Kings' staff chose to protect.
Murray chose to use Handzus in a shutdown role and Handzus wasn't up for it. Anze Kopitar in a power-versus-power role may well have changed the face of the series, but as it played out, Handzus gave up more chances per minute on the ice than any other Kings' forward.
*Click to enlarge all charts
Clowe - Couture - Heatley wrecked the Johnson - Scuderi pairing, while at the same time Mitchell and Doughty were able to beat them.
Ferrari's scripts also make it very easy to view the series matchups through head-to-head ice time. Compiling those numbers shows an interesting story: except for Ian White's injury and flipping Ben Eager for Jamie McGinn, McClellan rolled the same lines and pairings game in and game out. He formed the men into the phalanx and went on the attack. Murray, on the other hand, tried bouncing forwards around in order to find anyone able to get the puck back from the Sharks. While the Sharks' TOI numbers are generally close in each line or pairing, the Kings are scattered everywhere except for the Clifford - Richardson - Simmonds.
The full depth and breadth of the Johnson - Scuderi pairing's inept play are on display here. For every 15 minutes of even strength play, they were giving up four more chances than the Kings were creating to the Couture line. They were giving up between three and five more chances per 15 minutes to the Thornton line. Not to be outdone - Matt Greene was buried by the Thornton line.