We're now 4 games into the series and in that time we've seen a wide array of line matching strategies and possession results.
Before the series we previewed the playoffs by looking at what happened in the regular season.
Let's take a look at how some of this stuff has turned out since.
First an ice time comparison:
- Stoll and Richards have drawn the toughest matchups thus far as they have played the majority of their time versus Sedin and Kesler. In fact just about half of Stoll's ice time has come against Sedin.
- Kopitar has had a slightly easier time of it as he's been matched mainly against Kesler and Pahlsson.
- Fraser's ice time is interesting. The numbers show that he has been rolled pretty evenly across all 4 lines, with the slight majority of his time coming against Malhotra.
Now keeping these matchups in mind, we'll now turn our attention to shot differentials.
Before we get into it, a quick explanation of terms and my methodology. The data used for the charts below combines 2 elements. Corsi Rel and Zone Adjustment.
Corsi Rel is a simple way of comparing how effective a player is in controlling the play relative to the rest of his team.
Zone adjustment accounts for the tendency of teams to accumulate shots resulting from offensive zone faceoffs. It takes into account the fact that players that start more shifts in the defensive zone have a harder job. It is an effort to get a more accurate number. Read more about zone adjustment here along with the formula I used to come up with the numbers.
Okay now onto the charts:
- Relative to the rest of the team the Kopitar line has been twice as effective in the playoffs as the regular season.
- Richards and Stoll have struggled to keep up. Their numbers have fallen off of their regular season paces. A lot of that has to do with facing extremely difficult matchups as the table above tells us. But as we saw in the last game, the Stoll line has possibly turned a corner. Keep your eye on them on Sunday. Their fortunes will probably be heavily tied to a win or a loss.
- The Fraser line has really been effective at driving the play so far in the playoffs. If they can generate more scoring chances and stay out of the box they will make it very hard for the Canucks to win 4 straight.
- Every single one of the Canucks lines outside of Sedin, have fallen off their regular season pace.
- The most dramatic difference can be seen in their bottom 6. The Canucks have become a much more unbalanced team in the Playoffs, but has the return of Daniel adequately offset this?
- If numbers from the last game are any indication then the answer could be yes. The top 3 lines for the Canucks were all able to more than hold their own. The biggest concern for the Kings is that they were not able to make very much headway against Pahlsson. This has to change for the Kings on Sunday in order to stave off stretching out the series and injecting the already psychologically vulnerable fanbase with a heavy dose of anxiety.