The Coyotes have no choice but to bow to the awesome presence of Joe Thornton. - Ezra Shaw
A look at the numbers behind the Sharks' 5-3 win over Phoenix.
|Player||TOI||Corsi +||Corsi -||Corsi +/-||Chances +||Chances -||Chances +/-|
- This was clearly a bizarre game in terms of the disparity between shot and scoring chance differential. Phoenix dominated the Sharks territorially from about the midway point of the first period to midway through the third but were really only able to generate legitimate chances to score on their power play. Even their lone even-strength goal (the Korpikoski tally) didn't come on a scoring chance. You could make the argument that the Sharks played an effective positional game in their own end to keep the Coyotes to the outside but, really, whenever you cede this much zone time, you're playing with fire. A more talented offensive team than the 'Yotes would have likely been able to turn possession into chances at a much greater clip.
- By eye, that looked like the third line's best game this season. They still ended up getting completely throttled in possession. Todd McLellan seems to have caught on and is deploying Handzus in the defensive zone a bit less frequently than he did last season. At 5v5, Handzus took four faceoffs in the offensive zone and four in his own end, mostly against the Kyle Chipchura and Boyd Gordon lines. It didn't seem to matter as the Sharks still ended up getting heavily outshot with him on the ice. Hopefully Scott Gomez takes Zus' job on Saturday.
- By contrast, Couture took four faceoffs in each of the offensive and defensive zones as well, almost exclusively lining up against Phoenix's top two centers, and flat-out dominated. San Jose generated 13 more shot attempts than the Coyotes when Couture was on the ice but generated 15 fewer than Phoenix with Cooch on the bench. That is, they earned 78.3% of all shot attempts when Couture was on the ice but just 40.7% when he wasn't. That's insane.
- He's played almost exclusively with Boyle and behind the top six so I don't want to read too much into it, but Matt Irwin has looked excellent by both of these measures throughout this young season. I really hope he stays in the lineup over Murray when Jason Demers returns from injury.
- Not a great night for the fourth line. I'm guessing, one way or another, they'll look different on Saturday.