Sharks vs. Canucks: By the numbers
A look at the numbers behind the Sharks' 4-1 win over Vancouver.
- Much like in the Phoenix game, the Sharks were heavily outshot at even-strength but managed to keep things deadlocked on the chance count. Again, score effects loom large whenever a team gets out to an early multi-goal lead like San Jose did in this one but the amount of time the Sharks have spent in their own end at evens so far this season will haunt them if they aren't able to turn that aspect of their game around.
- Just how dominant were the Sharks on that game-opening 4v4 sequence? Well, they generated 6 Corsi events to the Canucks' 0, outchanced Vancouver 3-0 and outscored them 1-zip. So pretty damn dominant. On a related note, one of the dozens of reasons the Canucks miss Ryan Kesler is that Alain Vigneault is now forced to occasionally start Henrik Sedin in the defensive zone, like on the shift where Thornton scored.
T.J. Galiardi's possession numbers stick out like a sore thumb among the sea of red comprised by the team's forwards. Small sample size and all that, but he appears to be healthy now and has looked like a very useful player so far this season when he isn't being dragged down by Handzus.
- Obviously most of the scoring chances in this game came on the teams' respective power plays. Vancouver's gameplan was pretty clearly to get under the Sharks' skin and draw as many penalties as possible; they're well aware that they can't really hope to generate offense at even-strength with Dale Weise and Chris Higgins replacing Kesler and David Booth on their second line. They did draw tons of penalties but the Sharks' PK surprisingly stood tall, allowing just five chances (and zero goals) in nearly 14 minutes of shorthanded time.
- Something that has intrigued me so far in this young season is the way the Sharks' coaching staff has dramatically altered their distribution of even-strength ice time among forwards. Increased occurrences of special teams play (and the fact that the Sharks have blown out four of their five opponents) certainly has to do with it, but I'm not sure that giving Marleau less even-strength ice time than Handzus or Couture less 5v5 time than Adam Burish is the greatest idea. San Jose has been more than fine so far but when the incredible team shooting percentage eventually crashes, there needs to be a foundational territorial game to fall back on. I don't think they have that with the bottom six playing as often at evens as the top six. On the other hand, I see the method to the madness if it's about conserving the big guns' collective energy during this shortened season and ahead of a playoff run. At any rate, I really wish someone would ask Todd McLellan about the shift in his bench management strategy. I'd be much more interested in hearing his thoughts on that than whether a hit gave the team momentum or if starting games at different times feels weird./
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