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- After two games in Vancouver that they were somewhat fortunate to win, the Sharks returned home to a building they've dominated in all season and blew the Canucks out of the figurative water. Above are exclusively even-strength numbers; including special teams, the Sharks earned 25 scoring chances last night to the Canucks' 7. For my money, this was one of the most impressive playoff performances in franchise history.
- I certainly would have never expected the Scott Hannan/Brad Stuart pairing to be much better than a non-factor in this series, and even that hope was a bit on the optimistic side. Boy was I wrong; matched against Ryan Kesler's line, Hannan and Stuart were flawless at even-strength last night. Hannan in particular appeared to recognize his limitations and handle the puck as little as possible while playing his angles in textbook fashion, smothering the Canucks' forwards. Perhaps most impressive about this pairing's success is that the forward line they played behind most often was the fourth. No idea how long this can last but even if the answer is only one more game, this is a promising development for the Sharks.
- Oddly, the Pavelski line ran into some territorial struggles against the pretty terrible fourth line Vancouver used in this game. It didn't really leave a dent on the chance count and I wouldn't expect it to continue.
- Poor Joe Thornton was on the ice for 20 shot attempts by San Jose and only 3 by Vancouver, yet one of those was Alexandre Burrows' second period goal while none of the Sharks attempts found the back of the net.
Head-to-head scoring chances
(Click to enlarge)
- They struggled to handle the twins in Game 2 but this time around, the Sharks' shutdown tandem of Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were excellent in their time against the Sedins. Todd McLellan had Vlasic hard-matched to the twins for 13 of their 15 even-strength minutes while Couture faced them for nearly 8. San Jose outchanced Vancouver over that span.
- Ryan Kesler was pretty thoroughly smoked in this game at evens by the Thornton line which we saw happen in Game 2 as well, albeit with Derek Roy riding shotgun rather than centering a separate unit. Nearly every matchup went the Sharks' way in this game, which is probably why they won it so convincingly.
- He's probably playing hurt but I take a lot of pleasure in how terrible a series Kevin Bieksa is having because I'm a vengeful asshole.