Scoring Chances: Game 4 v. St. Louis

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 19: Andy McDonald #10 of the St. Louis Blues scores a goal in the third period to give them a 2-0 lead over the San Jose Sharks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on April 19, 2012 in San Jose, California. The Blues won 2-1. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

St. Louis limited the Sharks to single digits in the even-strength scoring chance department once again but, apart from that, it was an entirely different story in this iteration of the series as the Sharks, unlike in Game 3, were able to translate their considerable territorial advantage into an edge on the chance count, both at evens and overall. San Jose's 15-11 win of the chance battle was the largest margin by which either team has outchanced the other so far in this series but, as has been the case for the better part of the 2012 calendar year, the Sharks were unable to finish their chances (many of which were golden opportunities in this one) while their opponent finished theirs at a better clip.

The simplistic narrative that the feeble-minded have spun since pretty much the invention of hockey is that Joe Thornton chokes in the playoffs. For the third postseason in a row, Jumbo is proving that kind of talk isn't worth the TSN.ca bandwith it occupies as the Sharks captain has done pretty much everything in his capacity to help San Jose win. At even-strength through four games of this series, Thornton has been on the ice for 20 scoring chances for and 11 against, a 64.5% scoring chance percentage that's been accrued while playing some of the toughest minutes of any forward in this series, although he has had some easier zone starts the last two games as the Sharks really took it to St. Louis territorially at the Tank. The Sharks may be on the brink of elimination but Thornton is the last person who should be blamed for that.

Best EV Forward: Joe Thornton (+4)

Worst EV Forward: Andrew Desjardins (-2)

Best EV Defenseman:
Dan Boyle (+3)

Worst EV Defenseman: Douglas Murray (-2)

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 6 4 3 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 6 4 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
3 3 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Totals 15 11 9 8 6 0 0 0 0 3 0 0

Team Period Time Note SJS Opponent
SJS 1 19:17 Havlat S 9 19 22 29 31 44 1 4 10 21 46 74 5v5
STL 1 15:48 McDonald P 3 31 39 57 69 88 1 5 10 20 21 22 5v5
SJS 1 15:34 Couture O 5 8 19 31 39 61 1 5 22 21 26 42 5v5
STL 1 12:48 Goal - Crombeen T 8 22 29 31 39 44 1 4 21 26 57 46 5v5
SJS 1 11:23 Couture PP 8 12 19 22 31 39 1 5 20 21 27 5v4
SJS 1 11:21 Pavelski PP 8 12 19 22 31 39 1 5 20 21 27 5v4
SJS 1 9:58 Havlat PP 9 29 31 57 61 88 1 4 12 17 46 5v4
STL 1 5:15 Crombeen P 22 31 39 44 57 69 1 4 12 15 26 46 5v5
SJS 1 3:19 Winnik T 17 22 26 31 34 44 1 5 22 25 42 57 5v5
STL 1 1:19 Perron T 8 19 22 31 39 88 1 12 27 28 42 57 5v5
SJS 2 16:13 Pavelski PP 8 12 19 22 31 39 1 5 20 21 27 5v4
SJS 2 15:47 Marleau PP 8 12 19 22 31 39 1 17 22 42 46 5v4
STL 2 14:37 Nichol T 9 26 31 34 61 88 1 12 20 22 46 74 5v5
SJS 2 9:43 Pavelski PP 8 12 19 22 31 39 1 4 12 21 22 5v4
STL 2 8:25 McDonald PP 17 26 31 44 88 1 10 20 42 27 28 4v5
SJS 2 4:42 Thornton R 8 19 22 31 39 88 1 27 28 42 57 74 5v5
SJS 2 4:37 Couture P 8 19 22 31 39 88 1 5 12 17 22 26 5v5
SJS 2 4:36 Couture R 8 19 22 31 39 88 1 5 12 17 22 26 4v5
STL 2 1:56 Crombeen S 5 17 26 31 34 61 1 4 12 15 26 46 5v5
STL 2 0:58 Stewart O 3 9 19 29 31 88 1 4 25 42 46 57 5v5
SJS 3 16:57 Thornton T 9 19 22 31 39 61 1 5 20 22 42 57 5v5
STL 3 13:43 Oshie P 5 10 22 26 31 57 1 5 12 17 22 25 5v5
SJS 3 11:55 Boyle P 5 10 22 26 31 57 1 5 12 17 22 25 5v5
STL 3 8:02 Berglund PP 8 19 22 31 88 1 10 21 22 27 57 4v5
STL 3 8:00 Goal - McDonald PP 8 19 22 31 88 1 10 21 22 27 57 4v5
SJS 3 1:07 Goal - Thornton P 6v5 9 19 22 29 39 88 1 5 20 42 46 74 5v5

# Player EV PP SH
3 D. MURRAY 10:55 0 2 0:00 0 0 2:25 0 0
5 C. WHITE 10:58 2 1 0:08 0 0 1:13 0 0
8 J. PAVELSKI 13:45 4 2 3:46 5 0 1:41 0 2
9 M. HAVLAT 17:29 3 3 2:01 1 0 0:00 0 0
10 B. WINCHESTER 6:41 1 0 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
12 P. MARLEAU 14:54 0 1 4:44 5 0 1:20 0 0
17 T. MITCHELL 8:42 1 1 0:08 0 0 1:29 0 1
19 J. THORNTON 17:33 7 2 5:18 5 0 0:45 0 2
22 D. BOYLE 24:42 8 4 5:23 5 0 0:24 0 2
26 M. HANDZUS 9:06 2 2 0:08 0 0 1:08 0 1
29 R. CLOWE 16:17 2 3 3:40 1 0 0:00 0 0
31 A. NIEMI 45:34 8 8 6:53 6 0 4:43 0 3
34 D. WINNIK 9:53 1 2 0:08 0 0 0:00 0 0
39 L. COUTURE 16:02 6 4 3:05 5 0 1:33 0 0
44 M. VLASIC 16:56 2 3 0:10 0 0 1:54 0 1
57 T. WINGELS 8:28 1 2 1:27 1 0 0:00 0 0
61 J. BRAUN 14:34 2 2 1:18 1 0 0:24 0 0
69 A. DESJARDINS 8:07 0 2 0:00 0 0 1:30 0 0
88 B. BURNS 18:41 4 4 3:01 1 0 3:06 0 3

Chance Types

Team Transition Odd-man Rebound Forecheck Possession Steal PP SH
San Jose 2 1 2 0 3 1 6 0
St. Louis 3 1 0 0 3 1 3 0


Head-to-head scoring chances:

H2hg4stl_medium

The new-look top line had their ice time pretty much evenly split between facing David Backes and Patrik Berglund, with Thornton spending around 7 minutes against each of St. Louis' top two centers out of his 17 and a half minutes at evens overall. Thornton and Patrick Marleau combined to make Backes more or less a non-factor in this game as Marleau faced Backes whenever Thornton wasn't matched up to him. The problem was that the Sharks' second line was able to get precious little done of their own in the St. Louis end of the ice.

Shuffling the deck chairs in the bottom six didn't appear to have a huge impact but having a third line that held their own in chances going up against what's a pretty soft counterpart in the Jason Arnott line certainly didn't hurt.

How B.J. Crombeen had three scoring chances in this game (three more than Marleau has had at evens through four games combined) is beyond me.

More stats from the game: Corsi/Fenwick, Shift Charts, H2H Ice Time, Zonestarts, Play-By-Play, Box Score

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