Possession statistics have taken some flack from fans and media alike who feel they don’t take shot quality into account. That’s technically true, they don’t, but over a big enough sample size it just doesn’t matter all that much. In one game? Yeah, you might see some divergence.
We certainly saw that in the Sharks’ 7-4 loss at the hands of the Rangers on Monday night. Let’s take a quick peek into the numbers before moving on from San Jose’s first loss of the season.
The blue line is the Sharks and the black line belongs to the Rangers. That’s the team’s score adjusted corsis and as you can see, with the exception of the first half of the second and third periods, the Sharks played pretty darn well. Unfortunately their scoring chances chart looked like this:
It ended up looking pretty respectable, but don’t let the power of score effects fool you. The Sharks got their butts kicked by the Rangers in the whole score effects department on Monday night and that’s a big part of the reason they needed a furious comeback to make the final five minutes interesting.
Having trouble coming to terms with the Sharks actually playing pretty well? Here’s the shot plot chart, where you’ll see every player on both teams sorted by their score-adjusted corsi for and against in 5v5 play — an area some said the Sharks struggled.
There’s a lot of blue on the right side of that line. The Sharks’ depth players mostly struggled while the guys you’d expect to excel ... well, excelled. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns particularly played a fabulous game, and while Joe Pavelski made some high profile mistakes he also played a very nice possession game (oh, and had four points).
The Sharks lost and played a sloppy game, which kept them from getting great scoring chances and allowed the Rangers’ quick style to burn ‘em, but it wasn’t all bad. That’s pretty much how losses will come for the Sharks this year. They’re a very good hockey team, but even the good ones screw up and have a bad night.
Tonight they’ll try to keep it from becoming two nights in a row.
Update: I forgot to include this in the Morning After post following the Columbus win, so here it is now! The Sharks’ win over the Blue Jackets means I donated another $10 to Next Door Solutions. We’re up to $20 this season! If you’d like to make a similar pledge, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’d love to add your donations to the tally.