A look at the numbers behind the Sharks' 4-1 loss to Chicago.
|Player||TOI||Corsi +||Corsi -||Corsi +/-||Chances +||Chances -||Chances +/-|
- This is one of those games where I'm glad we have the scoring chance totals because the mere shot differential numbers don't tell the story at all. Score effects took over after the Hawks established their 4-1 lead (the Sharks had five even-strength shot attempts in the last five minutes of this game alone, all of them fairly innocuous) but there's no disputing who the better team was last night.
- As I mentioned in the recap, Burns wasn't good last night. It's understandable given that he hadn't played competitive hockey in nearly a year before last Saturday and is likely still nursing an injury but the Sharks obviously need him to be better.
- With Kennedy joining them, the Couture line needs a lot of shelter. They were bleeding chances and shot attempts against in the first period as Joel Quenneville was more than happy to trot Jonathan Toews out against them. They're great in the offensive zone and, if they're staying together, need to start in that end of the ice as often as possible. As excellent as Couture is in his own end, Clowe and Kennedy are liabilities there.
- Stuart and Boyle had an awful game defensively and it wasn't just the Bolland goal against. They logged a ton of minutes against Toews and Hossa, so in that sense it was somewhat excusable they gave up as many chances as they did, but I thought they could have done a much better job of making reads at both blue lines.
- Maybe it's just confirmation bias, but I'm incapable of recalling an extended stretch like this where Marleau and Thornton have played quite so poorly. Despite the narrative, they've always been dominant three-zone players who create their chances and defend opposing scoring threats via possession even when they themselves aren't putting the puck in the net. None of that has happened dating back to pretty much the Vancouver game which, not-so-coincidentally, was the last time the Sharks won in regulation. I don't want to suggest that age is finally catching up to them (Marleau's still 3rd in the league in scoring after all) but at this point I'm willing to consider any explanation. If this is who Marleau and Thornton are as players now, nothing else really matters.