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- It's probably worthwhile to note that even-strength shot attempts were 39-34 in favor of Los Angeles through two periods while scoring chances were 6-4 Kings. A good deal of the Sharks' edge in both categories was built in the third period when L.A. was content to sit back and cede territory.
- The model airplane glue that inexplicably held Scott Hannan and Brad Stuart together for the entirety of the first round appeared to be coming apart last night. At even-strength, that pairing started 11 shifts in the offensive zone and just 2 in their own end but still managed to get outshot and outchanced. The coaching staff knows they have to shelter these two to avoid disaster but I'm not sure what the realistic upside is, especially when it comes at the cost of denying Dan Boyle more time to operate in the Kings' end of the ice. If he's healthy, Jason Demers should probably draw in for Hannan in Game 2.
- An interesting switch Todd McLellan has been making since the final week of the regular season is swapping T.J. Galiardi for Joe Pavelski on the Thornton line when the Sharks are trailing. It definitely had the intended effect, with Burns registering four scoring chances in the third period and Joe Pavelski in particular coming alive in the offensive zone after struggling to create opportunities at evens on the third line.
Head-to-head scoring chances
(Click to enlarge)
- For the most part, the matchups that materialized were the ones we expected. Logan Couture was on the ice against Anze Kopitar for 50% of his even-strength minutes while Thornton drew Mike Richards for a comparable proportion of his shifts. What was interesting is that, despite their aforementioned offensive zone to defensive zone start ratio, Darryl Sutter really targeted the Hannan/Stuart pairing with Kopitar's line, a noted shift from Alain Vigneault in the first round who seemed almost committed to ensuring the Sedins weren't on the ice against those two.
- As mentioned in the recap, while the Couture line got beat up a bit in terms of zone time by the Kopitar line, they were killed on the scoreboard (and, as seen here, the chance count) in their brief time against Richards. Both sides of that equation need to change going into Game 2 for the Sharks to avoid heading back to the Bay Area down 2-0.
- Thornton vs. Richards has been a favorable matchup for the Sharks since the Kings acquired him in 2011. Particularly in the first period it was a matchup Thornton won again last night, which is an encouraging sign. If Couture and company can even play their opposition to a draw, the Sharks' second and third lines should be able to get the better of their Los Angeles counterparts, particularly if the Torres hit on Jarret Stoll keeps him out for an extended period of time.