|Player||TOI||Corsi For||Corsi Against||Corsi +/-||Chances For||Chances Against||Chances +/-|
- The shot differential numbers here are polluted a bit by score effects; as the Kings did in Game 1, the Sharks were content to sit on their two-goal third period lead. Unlike Los Angeles' Game 1 performance, San Jose was surprisingly effective at denying the Kings quality looks in the final twenty minutes despite their vast territorial advantage. The Sharks limited L.A. to just three scoring chances in the third last night.
- Logan Couture was anointed following Game 3 while Joe Thornton was widely declared the hero of Game 4 but, while both players were great both nights, I feel like the narratives ought to be reversed. Despite an extremely dominant first period in Game 4, I thought Thornton had a much better all-around performance in Game 3 while Couture's line as a whole had a near-flawless showing last night.
- To some extent, that has to do with strategic shifts Darryl Sutter made as the game wore on. He was successfully able to get Anze Kopitar out against Thornton with greater frequency in the third period, giving the Couture line more ice time against the Kings' lesser lights. Sutter also moved Dustin Penner up to play with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, lifting that line's previously abysmal possession game. Probably a good bet we see more of both in Game 5.
- Not all that surprising, but still pretty cool: Kings assistant coach Bill Ranford cited his team's terrible shot attempt differential as the element that concerned him the most about last night's first period.
- I've spent a lot of time defending Scott Gomez in the past but the Sharks need quite a bit more from him and his linemates if they're going to win the series. That doesn't necessarily need to be in terms of offense but they can't spend as much time hemmed in their own end against the Kings' bottom six as they did in Games 3 and 4. This is sort of the risk inherent in putting all of your eggs in two baskets as the Sharks have, although if Penner really is now on L.A.'s second line that makes their bottom six even weaker, hopefully putting their Sharks counterparts on a level playing field.
Head-to-head scoring chances
(Click to enlarge)
- Despite being primarily matched up against the Kopitar line (at least until the third period), Marleau, Couture and Pavelski were on the ice for zero scoring chances against at evens and were particularly effective against the Kings' big guns.
- Once again, Thornton ate Mike Richards' lunch at even-strength. If McLellan can somehow dictate the matchups in Game 5 without last change, that would go a long way towards the Sharks being in position to win this series on home ice. History suggests Darryl Sutter is much tougher to outcoach in this fashion than, say, Alain Vigneault however.
- Los Angeles' late surge last night aside, the Sharks have arguably been the better team in every game of this series. If they can keep playing this way (they've now outchanced the Kings 41-25 at even-strength through four games), it's hard to bet against them completing the comeback.