Round 2 in Numbers: Who Made the Difference for the Sharks

Not sure how you all feel after this series finally ended yesterday. But I still feel exhausted. No doubt it was one of the greatest playoffs series of all time, and perhaps the greatest I have seen since I started watching NHL couple of decades ago. But being a Sharks fan, watching four games when Sharks could have advanced within eight days was emotionally draining. It really feels like the series lasted for several months.

Before we take a closer look at the next opponent Vancouver Canucks, let's look back at the statistical numbers the Sharks posted in the round 2. It's not too hard to name the main heros. But at the same time, the stats tell a clearer story on who made the biggest difference and why.

Here are your 10 curious statistical highlights from Round 2 for San Jose Sharks.

  • If I was to name an MVP of round 2, it'd be Dan Boyle. He was named star no. 1 in Game 7. But he excelled the rest of the series. Consider this - he had 2 goals and 6 assists (highest on the team), blocked 10 shots, and was tied for team lead with Logan Couture and Devin Setoguchi in shots on goal, with 27.
  • Most other outlets named Thornton the best player in the series. His stats aren't as good as Boyle's - but very close. Thornton had 6 assists, 8 takeaways (highest on the team), 7 hits, and was 58% on faceoffs. He took 135 faceoffs in this round - 31 more than the next guy, Joe Pavelski. He was the engine of the team in the last series.
  • If I was to name a third star of the series, that would be Logan Couture. The rookie finished the series averaging point a game, and having scored 4 goals. Think about that - four goals in playoffs against Detroit Red Wings, none of them are as big as the goal he scored in Game 7. Or how about his 5 takeaways, tied for second on the team? Again, none bigger than the one against Zetterberg that lead to the goal in Game 7 just a moment later.
  • An honorable mention would go to Ryane Clowe. Having missed a game, he still finished the series with 6 points (all assists). What's also impressive, he lead the team in +/-, with +4. The stats look good - but we can't overestimate his influence in the locker room and on the bench. When he's there, the bench is more alive. He is the heart of this team.
  • Another hero of the series was Douglas Murray. He lead the team in hits (27!) and blocked shots (22).
  • Two more defensemen are worth highlighting. First is Jason Demers. No points in this series, but the kid made 9 hits and averaged almost 20 minutes a night. Niclas Wallin was great too. A game winning goal in Game 2, 15 hits in the series (2nd on the team), and a +1 rating. Doug Wilson brought him here for the playoffs, and Wallin so far delivered.
  • Another curious stat is Dan Boyle's average ice time. Despite being ridiculously good on the ice, Boyle only averaged 24:50 minutes a night in this series, which is almost 3 minutes less than we would expect. Having Ian White and Jason Demers on the team helps. But could it also be that Todd McLellan is managing Boyle's minutes more carefully now?
  • Another stat that stands out is who actually lead the team in shifts in this series. It wasn't Dan Boyle. It was Joe Thornton with 227, followed by Patrick Marleau with 226.
  • Marleau by the way averaged 22:23 of ice time per game in this series - 2nd on the team behind Boyle. That's two more minutes a night than what Marleau averaged in the regular season.
  • Finally, great series for Antti Niemi. He posted 0.931 SV%, and 2.42 GAA.

Full stats are here - Stats through round 2.