Time to just go through some numbers popping out from Game 1 and beyond. You love it when we get nerdy. Nerds are in, you know it, I know it. If only I paid this much attention to math in high school (I think I got a 590 on the Math section on the SAT while rocking the verbal, and my Rain Main-like father never forgave me for it, despite the fact that he was a writer. It was a strange family).
That was Jonathan Toews’s Corsi number for Game 1, and that’s with the score adjusted. It’s the third lowest number he has produced in the past two playoffs, as Kopitar kicked him down to a 37% in Game 6 last year in L.A. (while Kane dragged them out of the pits like little Miho got Clive Owen), and earlier last spring Mikko Koivu held him to a 25% in Game 4 against Minnesota. But that’s it, and I guess it says a lot that the Hawks went 2-1 in those games. It’s not a formula the Hawks would have any intention on repeating, though. And just how likely is it the Lightning can keep Toews down… down on the ground…
That was Valtteri Filpulla’s Corsi number, and he was the one doing most of the damage to Toews’s line (because you can take the nuisance out of Detroit…). It’s the second highest Filps has put up in these playoffs, with the highest being Game 4 against the Rangers which was 68. He broke 60% one other time this spring, against the Red Wings in Round 1. However, Filppula has had 10 games this spring where that number is under 45%. So yeah, he’s been able to spasm some real dominant games, but he’s carrying a 49.2 for the entire playoffs, and Toews a 53.3. The Captain’s justice will be swift, and it will be violent, and it will be righteous.
This is stealing some of Ryan Lambert’s thunder (GET IT?) as he wrote about Teuvo Teravainen on Puck Daddy today. But the first number is Teuvo’s possession numbers from the playoffs as a whole, and the second is the percentage of high danger scoring chances he’s on the ice for vs. the ones he’s on against. So not only is Teuvo driving the play, with a lot of help from Vermette and Sharp obviously, but it’s not just empty possession. Yes, as you’ll see from Lambert’s piece, there’s a fair amount of sheltering of this line, but this line can only shred who they’re put out against. And they’ve been doing it, except when their coach stops them from doing so.
That’s Kris Versteeg’s Corsi number from Game 1, and that’s score-adjusted as well. That’s probably the highest number we’ve seen in the playoffs for any Hawk. Good things happen when you’re put on a line with Marian Hossa, as you feel he could kill Versteeg with a glare if he gets out of line. Certainly Steeger earned another look in Game 2.
That’s Crawford’s save percentage since he re-entered the Nashville series in Game 6. EARN YOUR MONEY, CRAWSTINK!
The amount of shots generated by The Triplets Of Belleville. While Toews’s possession jumped out about Game 1, we know the Hawks can survive a game of that, maybe even two. The Bolts are most certainly going to survive any game where The Troika aren’t even hinting at being a threat.
A word on the Lightning’s strategy here. I wonder if this isn’t a failure of scouting. From their perspective, you get what they were thinking. They’d won Games 5 and 7 against the Rangers by playing a tight defensive game, why not go for it again? But how could anyone on that coaching or scouting staff look at the Rangers, and then look at the Hawks, and think it’s the same thing? Did no one watch tape of the Predators series and see how much trouble the Hawks had when the games moved up through the gears? I wonder if they didn’t see the Ducks hold the Hawks to one goal twice, and think that a solid defensive effort is the way to go, ignoring how Andersen had a .960+ SV% in those games. Unless you’re counting on your goalie to be brilliant, which can’t ever be a strategy you’d build a castle on. So I’m obviously very curious to see what they do tomorrow night.