Burns, Sharks advance past Kings; Neuvirth, Greiss, Quine, Koivu and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Exorcising some demons from past playoffs, the San Jose Sharks eliminated the Los Angeles Kings from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, taking Game Five of the series, in Los Angeles, by a 6-3 score.
Sharks rookie winger Joonas Donskoi scored a pair of goals in the clinching win, and shot-launching blueliner Brent Burns added three assists. Burns led the Sharks with eight points (2 G, 6 A) and 19 shots on goal in the series.
Sharks centre Logan Couture also contributed three assists in Game Five, giving him six points (1 G, 5 A) against the Kings, tying him with Joe Pavelski (5 G, 1 A) for second on the club.
With a couple of assists in Game Five, Kings defencemen Jake Muzzin led Los Angeles in scoring for the series, finishing with five points (1 G, 4 A), one point ahead of centre Anze Kopitar (2 G, 2 A).
More notably, right winger Tyler Toffoli and defenceman Drew Doughty contributed assists in Game Five, but those were the only points that they had in the series, not enough from the team’s third and fifth-leading scorers during the regular season. Jeff Carter, the Kings’ second-leading scorer during the season, scored his second goal of the series in Game Five. Toffoli, Doughty, Carter and defencemanBrayden McNabb were all on the ice for four more goals against than for during 5-on-5 play in the first-round series.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has a reputation for being a clutch postseason performer, built in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 playoffs, but after allowing five goals on 27 shots in the deciding game, he finished the 2016 postseason with a .886 save percentage.
The elimination of the Kings removes the league’s top possession club from the postseason tournament, though the Sharks, ranked eighth in score-adjusted possession, were the top-ranked team in score-adjusted high-danger scoring chance percentage according to War on Ice.
Winning a single series isn’t the end of the journey for the Sharks, but getting past the Kings is the first step in the daunting Western Conference gauntlet. Next up, the winner of the Anaheim-Nashville series, which is currently tied 2-2.
Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped all 44 shots that he faced in a 2-0 Game Five win at Washington. Since taking over for Steve Mason that past couple of games, Neuvirth has stopped 75 of 76 shots.
Thomas Greiss – The Islanders netminder turned away 47 of 48 shots, including an Aleksander Barkov penalty shot in overtime, in a 2-1 Double-OT win in Game Five against Florida, giving him a .938 save percentage in the series.
Alan Quine – The double overtime hero for the Islanders is a 23-year-old who has played a total of two regular-season games in the NHL. With the game-winning goal, Quine now has a couple of points in five games against the Panthers.
Mikko Koivu – Minnesota’s veteran pivot scored a pair of goals, including the OT winner, in a 5-4 OT win at Dallas.
Claude Giroux – Philadelphia’s star centre had team-worst possession stats (2 for, 29 against, 6.5 SAT%) in a 2-0 Game Five win at Washington. When on the ice with primary linemates Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, the trio struggled (2 for, 22 against, 8.3 SAT%).
Marco Scandella – The Wild blueliner was buried in the defensive zone (10 for, 38 against, 20.8 SAT%) and on the ice for all four goals against (and one for) in a 5-4 OT win at Dallas.
Antti Niemi – Followed up a strong Game Four performance by allowing five Minnesota goals on 24 shots in a 5-4 Game Five OT loss.
STANLEY CUP HALF FULL/HALF EMPTY
Washington Capitals – There may be no more difficult time to appreciate the process than when a team dominates play and still ends up on the wrong end of the final score and such is the case with the Capitals, who outshot the Flyers 44-11 in a 2-0 Philadelphia win in Game Five. It was a dominant performance by the Capitals, the kind that should theoretically lead to easy victory, but they ran into a hot goaltender. It happens…but that doesn’t need to be explained to Washington.
Vincent Trocheck – Florida’s centre made his first appearance of the postseason, recovered (enough) from a broken ankle suffered late in the regular season. He played 31:24, skating with wingers Jussi Jokinen and Reilly Smith, and led the Panthers with seven hits.
Ryan Strome – A healthy scratch for the Islanders in Game Five, had two points (1 G, 1 A) and nine shots on goal in the first four games of the series.
Capitals RW Tom Wilson had a dominant possession game (15 for, 0 against, 100.0 SAT%) vs. Philadelphia…Stars RW Ales Hemsky had impressive possession stats (30 for, 6 against, 83.3 SAT%) in a 5-4 OT loss to Minesota…Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin recorded 14 shot attempts (8 SOG) in the loss to Philadelphia…Wild RW Jason Pominville picked up a couple of assists in a 5-4 OT win at Dallas, giving him six points (3 G, 3 A) in five games…Wild D Ryan Suter and Stars D John Klingberg each had a pair of assists, their first points of the postseason…In what is expected to be the last game of his NHL career, Kings C Vincent Lecavalier registered a team-high eight shot attempts (4 SOG)…Kings D Rob Scuderi posted team-best possession stats (27 for, 7 against, 79.4 SAT%) in Game Five vs. San Jose…Panthers G Roberto Luongo stopped 40 of 42 shots in a 2-1 Double-OT loss to the Islanders.
Much of the data included comes from www.war-on-ice.com, corsica.hockey,stats.hockeyanalysis.com www.hockey-reference and www.naturalstattrick.com
Scott Cullen can be reached at [email protected]
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