Western Conference Finals Broken Down
Photo: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire
SHARKS vs BLUES
SJS wins the series 4-2
Not your ordinary Joe's...
San Jose's top two Forwards Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski dominated this series, posting 29% of the total Contribution level by SJS Forwards. Without those two, the remaining SJS Forwards and the entire STL Forward group had similar Contribution levels.
Overall, as a team, STL contributed 64% of San Jose's total. Great goaltending is required to make up for this big of a difference.
On the Rush, SJS created 25% more Offense than STL.
Logan Couture's line lead the Series in Rush Contribution.
A key to the series was Chris Tierny's line. Along with a strong defensive performance their Contribution in Offensive Zone Play was second only to Thornton's line.
The performance of the D-cores was the biggest difference in the series. Overall, STL's D-core only contributed 23% of SJS.
Individually, Marc-Edouard Vlasic was a dominant Defensive force. In this matchup, Vlasic put up the best single series Defensive performance of the playoffs. He also had his best Offensive performance this series. His D partner, Justin Braun, delivered as well. Together, they registered the lowest amount of Defensive mistakes by a D-pairing in these playoffs thus far. If Vlasic and Braun are able to shutdown the top PIT forwards, Vlasic should be in consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
SJS's 3rd D-pair, Brendan Dillon and Roman Polak, didn't deliver much by way of Offense, but were rock solid Defensively. Other than an off night in Game 4, Polak was steady and Dillon contributed 32% more than his regular season average. Having your 3rd D-pair playing substantial mistake-free-minutes goes a long way in Cup run.
Looking to the Stanley Cup Finals, the speed of PIT's Forward group will challenge not only SJS's 3rd D-pair but the entire SJS D-core. PIT's Forward group has created the highest amount of Offense thus far in the playoffs, most notably in Offensive Zone Play. How well SJS's D-core handles PIT's proficiency in Offensive Zone Play will be a major key in determining the outcome of the Finals.
Stay tuned for more GAME BY GAME break downs all the way to the Cup.
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