|Player||TOI||Corsi For||Corsi Against||Corsi +/-||Chances For||Chances Against||Chances +/-|
- The most foolproof way to throw a hockey game: pair Scott Hannan and Brad Stuart, then play them for nearly 19 minutes. When they were on the ice together at even-strength last night, the Sharks were outchanced 7-0 and outshot 23-11 including misses and blocks. I'm not even mad, just genuinely impressed. To the best of my recollection, even the dreaded Murray/Stuart pairing never had as bad a game as this in their time as a tandem. Seriously, the Oilers could be taking tank battle lessons from Todd McLellan here.
- I feel that a coaching staff's role varies quite a bit from management in that they need to make decisions based on limited evidence rather than having the luxury of waiting for a large enough sample size to inform their moves. Matt Tennyson only has four career NHL games and the Hannan/Stuart pairing has been together for even fewer contests than that, but enough is enough. There really isn't a sensible reason not to put Tennyson in the Game 1 lineup over Hannan should Jason Demers still be injured. Veteran leadership and playoff experience only matter if the player wielding them isn't completely terrible.
- Which isn't an attempt to absolve Brad Stuart from responsibility here; he's quietly had a brutal final month of the season, even for many of his games alongside Demers prior to Jason's injury. But, clearly, if you're scratching one of Stuart or Hannan, it needs to be Hannan. The coaching staff made the mistake of keeping Kent Huskins in the lineup over Justin Braun when Demers went down prior to their series against the Canucks two years ago; hopefully they've learned from that.
- There were 16 other Sharks skaters on the ice last night too, lest I just spend this entire space complaining about Hannan and Stuart. Marc-Edouard Vlasic capped off one of the best seasons of his career with another outstanding performance; the Sharks had ten more even-strength shot attempts than the Kings when he was on the ice and 24 fewer when he was off it.
- With Tim Kennedy serving as a last-minute replacement for Martin Havlat, McLellan used the Thornton line as his go-to defensive unit for the first time in ages. The results weren't particularly pretty as that group failed to create much offensively and gave up quite a few chances to the duo of Kopitar and Carter. I doubt we'll see them used in that role during the playoffs.
- Pavelski and Torres continue to be awfully impressive on that third line. An edge for the Sharks (that will decidedly be mitigated should Alain Vigneault choose to have Derek Roy center his third line) over the Canucks is forward depth; Pavelski and Gomez should be able to outplay their opposite numbers.