Sharks vs. Canucks: By the numbers
A look at the numbers behind the Sharks' 3-2 win over Vancouver.
|Player||TOI||Corsi For||Corsi Against||Corsi +/-||Chances For||Chances Against||Chances +/-|
- There are "great shot-blocking teams" in the NHL who are really just clubs that spend the majority of every game hemmed in their own zone and thereby end up with a lot of pucks hitting their players. And then there's the kind of shot-blocking team the Sharks have been over this recent run, blocking an inordinate fraction of their opponents' shot attempts and thereby getting a better share of the shots that get taken from the scoring area. San Jose blocked 40% of Vancouver's 5v5 shot attempts last night. Whether this is something that's sustainable is hard to say but opening up a multi-goal lead in several of these wins seems to trigger the strategy. Regardless, the Sharks are just fine at it without elite shot-blocking veterans Douglas Murray and Michal Handzus.
- Thornton was wearing the goat horns to varying extents on both of the Canucks goals against but he was asked to take on a pretty difficult role, particularly in that third period, sent out by Todd McLellan for 11 defensive zone faceoffs over the course of this game compared to just 6 in the Canucks' end. Jumbo went 5 for 9 in his own zone and 15 for 20 overall which obviously didn't prevent the Sharks from being outshot during those shifts but may have mitigated the bleeding.
- Just a ridiculously good game for Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun. The coaching staff understandably opted to shelter rookie Matt Tennyson and his partner Brad Stuart, leaving the toughest minutes to Vlasic/Braun; they started nearly 63% of their 5v5 shifts in the defensive zone and were on the ice for 14 of the Sedin twins' 20 even-strength minutes. And yet the Sharks still outshot and outchanced the Canucks with that tandem on the ice (they didn't yield a single scoring chance at evens). For the first time since the 08-09 season, the Sharks have three strong pairings, especially once Demers returns.
I wouldn't worry a whole lot about Pavelski and Sheppard's ugly shot differential numbers in this one (or use it as an argument in favor of keeping Clowe around); not only were they starting much more often in the defensive zone, 16 of the 25 Canucks shot attempts the Sharks allowed with Pavelski on the ice were blocked (as well as 15 of 24 with Sheppard skating).
- My only real sans-Clowe concern was the fourth line given how poorly the combination of Desjardins, Gomez and Burish has played this season when previously together. I'll gladly take them making me look foolish with a whale of a performance kicking in the teeth of the Canucks' lesser lights. Adam Burish in particular had one of his best games as a Shark./