Canucks v. Kings Game 4 Possession and Matchups (or Behind the Numbers: Is Henrik Sedin Overrated?)

The Kings won the possession battle (barely) for the 1st time in the series and lost their 1st game. Obviously then they should stick with what got them there and continue to play hot potato with the puck.

The Kings did win the scoring chance battle for the 4th 2nd straight game.

Keeping that in mind, let's have a look at how the possession numbers shook out:

(if you need to know what this stuff means click here for an intro)

  • The Kings barely edged them 51% to 49%. Basically a pretty evenly played game. It is remarkable though how the Kings have been able to match Vancouver at scoring chances despite running a large deficit in possession numbers for the series.
  • One thing of note regarding the scoring chance battle is shot distance. In the regular season the Canucks were able to get shots off at an average of 39 feet away from the net. In the playoffs the Kings have kept them at 43 feet. Conversely, the Kings' shot distance in the playoffs has been 38 feet. (numbers via
  • The most dramatic difference can been seen in analyzing Canucks defensemen shot distance. In the regular season Canucks D shot distance = 53.5 feet. Playoffs = 61 feet. A big difference of 7.5 feet further.
  • The most striking thing that jumps out from the above chart is Kings 4th line. They had a dominant puck possession performance yet this did not translate to them winning the scoring chance battle (3-3). Also Nolan and Fraser were responsible for taking a couple poorly timed penalties. Their stellar possession numbers should be tempered.
  • The biggest takeaway from looking at the 4th line numbers is whether or not Richardson has earned himself a promotion.
  • The Canucks first line were played to a draw. Not only in possession but scoring chance numbers (4-3 at ES) as well. Given how suppressed their numbers were they had to be matched against Kopitar, right?
  • Wrong. Stoll was matched against them (they also saw significant time versus Kesler), a big change from Game 3.
  • This was a ballsy matchup by Sutter given how bad of a game the Stoll line had in Game 3 (not to mention Daniel Sedin's return). The Stoll line rewarded Sutter's move with a very strong performance against the toughest of matchups. It can't be understated how big this is for the Kings if the 3rd line can continue to play like this going forward.
  • Kopitar struggled to sustain control of the puck against Pahlsson and this translated to him losing the scoring chance battle 2-7 at ES. It's gone completely unnoticed how well Pahlsson has played since his poor performance in Game 1.
  • Richards was rolled pretty evenly across the Canucks top 9. You get the feeling that Sutter is sort of confused as to what to do with them in terms of matchups. Nothing appears too favorable for them and that is troubling. I think there is a strong chance we could see Richardson on this line in Game 5 with King getting demoted to the 4th.

    1. Shots
    2. H2H
    3. Shifts
    4. Zones

Even Strength Line Combinations:

Kings Forwards:

Kings Defense:

Canucks Forwards:

  • L1 = Sedin-Sedin-Booth
  • L2 = Raymond-Kesler-Burrows
  • L3 = Hansen-Pahlsson-Higgins
  • L4 = Lapierre-Malohtra-Kassian/

Canucks Defense:

  • D1 = Hamhuis-Bieksa
  • D2 = Salo-Edler
  • D3 = Tanev-Ballard/

Previous games in the series: Game 1, Game 3 (Game 2 unavailable as yet because I was busy drinking and failing miserably at fishing, sorry).
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