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NHL Playoffs, Second R... (04/30)

April 29, 2010
NHL Playoffs, Second Round
San Jose Sharks vs. Detroit Red Wings

by Philip Myrland

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San Jose vs. Detroit

The Western Conference playoffs heat up with a matchup of the regular season Conference champions and the defending Clarence Campbell Trophy winners. San Jose struggled at times in their first round matchup against Colorado before their superior talent eventually won out, while Detroit had their hands full with Phoenix until the Red Wings closed out the series in a dominating performance in game 7. This clash of Cup contenders promises to be a long, hard-fought series.

Detroit Red Wings

Legend:

RPM:  Relative Plus/Minus
OGVT: Offensive GVT
DGVT: Defensive GVT
GVT:  Goaltending GVT
SGVT: Shootout GVT
TGVT: Total GVT
Player		  P	GP	 RPM	OGVT	DGVT	SGVT	TGVT
Pavel Datsyuk	  F	76	18.8	11.2	4.4	1.5	17.1	
Nicklas Lidstrom  D     78	22.4	 6.6	8.1	0.0	14.8	
Henrik Zetterberg F	70	13.1	10.0	4.4    -1.2	13.2	
Brian Rafalski    D	74	23.3	 4.6	7.3	0.0	11.9	
Tomas Holmstrom	  F	64	 6.5	 5.8	2.3    -0.3	 7.8	
Valtteri Filppula F	51	-0.5	 4.6	2.0    -0.2	 6.5	
Todd Bertuzzi	  F	78	-2.3	 3.9	1.9	0.6	 6.5	
Niklas Kronwall	  D	44	 2.2	 3.2	2.6	0.5	 6.4	
Drew Miller	  F	62	 4.2	 2.0	2.0	0.3	 4.3	
Brad Stuart	  D	78     -18.6	 0.4	3.2	0.0	 3.6	
Johan Franzen	  F	23	 2.8	 2.7	1.0    -0.3	 3.5	
Darren Helm	  F	71	-8.6	-0.1	2.4	0.0	 2.3	
Patrick Eaves	  F	61	-3.5	 0.9	2.1    -0.8	 2.2	
Jonathan Ericsson D	58     -15.9	 0.9	1.0	0.0	 2.0	
Kris Draper	  F	77	-1.3	 0.4	1.8    -0.3	 2.0	
Daniel Cleary	  F	60	-6.9	 0.8	1.7    -1.0	 1.5	
Jason Williams	  F	40	-6.3	 0.3	0.3	0.4	 0.9	
Brett Lebda	  D	62	-1.0	-0.8	1.6	0.0	 0.9	
Kirk Maltby	  F	52	 0.0	-0.5	1.1	0.0	 0.6	
Andreas Lilja	  D	17	 0.0	-0.1	0.5	0.0	 0.5	
Kris Newbury	  F	 4	 1.0	 0.3	0.1	0.0	 0.4	
Doug Janik	  D	13	-3.1	 0.1   -0.0	0.0	 0.1	
Mattias Ritola	  F	 5	 0.0	-0.2	0.0	0.0	-0.1	
Derek Meech	  D	49     -11.6	 0.3   -0.5	0.0	-0.2	
Jakub Kindl	  D	 3	-2.0	-0.1   -0.2	0.0	-0.3	
Justin Abdelkader F	50     -10.5	-1.8   -0.1	0.0	-1.9	
Brad May	  F	40	-4.8	-2.1	0.1	0.0	-2.0	
Ville Leino	  F	42	-9.6	-1.7	0.1    -0.8	-2.4	

Goalie  	P   GP 	 GAA   SV%  GGVT  DGVT  SGVT  TGVT
Jimmy Howard	G   59.2 2.26 .924  21.4  0.0  -0.0   21.3
Chris Osgood	G   19.9 3.02 .888  -6.8  0.5  -1.2   -7.4

San Jose Sharks

Legend:

RPM:  Relative Plus/Minus
OGVT: Offensive GVT
DGVT: Defensive GVT
GVT:  Goaltending GVT
SGVT: Shootout GVT
TGVT: Total GVT
Player			P	GP	 RPM	OGVT	DGVT	SGVT   TGVT
Patrick Marleau		F	82	12.6	15.9	4.0    -0.2    19.8
Dany Heatley		F	82	 7.5	15.0	2.4    -0.7    16.7
Joe Thornton		F	79	11.2	14.5	2.7    -0.5    16.7
Dan Boyle		D	76	-2.1	10.3	3.2    -0.7    12.8
Rob Blake		D	70	 5.7	 4.9	4.4	0.0	9.3
Joe Pavelski		F	67	-5.3	 7.3	1.8	0.1	9.2
Ryan Clowe		F	82	-6.9	 7.5	0.7	0.3	8.6
Manny Malhotra	        F	71	10.3	 3.4	3.6    -0.3	6.8
Devin Setoguchi		F	70	-2.2	 4.4	0.5	0.0	4.9
Jason Demers		D	70	 2.7	 3.1	1.7	0.0	4.8
Kent Huskins		D	82	-4.2	 2.1	2.5	0.0	4.6
Marc-Edouard Vlasic	D	64	12.2	 0.1	4.7    -0.3	4.5
Douglas Murray		D	79	-8.8	 0.0	2.5	0.0	2.5
Jed Ortmeyer		F	76	-1.7	 0.6	1.8	0.0	2.5
Logan Couture		F	25	 2.9	 1.4	0.5	0.3	2.2
Frazer McLaren		F	23	 5.1	 0.5	0.7	0.0	1.2
Torrey Mitchell		F	56	 2.4	-0.5	1.6    -0.3	0.8
Jamie McGinn		F	59	-6.9	 0.6	0.3    -0.3	0.7
Ryan Vesce		F	 9	-2.1	 0.6	0.1    -0.3	0.5
Joe Callahan		D	 1	 0.9	 0.3	0.1	0.0	0.4
Derek Joslin		D	24	-1.8	-0.3	0.6	0.0	0.3
Benn Ferriero		F	24	 2.8	 0.0	0.5    -0.3	0.3
Jay Leach		D	28	-0.8	-0.8	1.1	0.0	0.3
Scott Nichol		F	79	-8.6	-1.5	1.5	0.0	0.1
Dwight Helminen	        F	 4	-1.3	 0.1   -0.1	0.0	0.1
Niclas Wallin		D	23	-3.0	-0.7	0.6	0.0    -0.1
Brad Staubitz		F	47	-1.1	-0.5	0.3	0.0    -0.2
Steven Zalewski		F	 3	-2.2	-0.2   -0.1	0.0    -0.4
John McCarthy		F	 4	-3.3	-0.4   -0.2	0.0    -0.6
Jody Shelley		F	36	 0.2	-1.1	0.3	0.0    -0.8

Goalie  	P   GP 	  GAA    SV%  GGVT  DGVT  SGVT  TGVT
Evgeni Nabokov	G   69.9  2.43  .922  25.7  -0.8  2.4	27.3
Thomas Greiss	G   13.0  2.69	.912   2.0  -0.1  1.5	 3.4

San Jose Offense vs. Detroit Defense

San Jose Offense GVT: +30.5 (Rank: 4th in NHL)

Detroit Defense GVT: +11.0 (Rank: 7th in NHL)

Detroit Goaltending GVT: +5.0 (Rank: 13th in NHL)

San Jose was a strong offensive team during the regular season, built largely on the scoring exploits of its top line. However, the story of the first round was the second line of Joe Pavelski, Ryan Clowe and Devin Setoguchi, who outscored the Joe Thornton-Patrick Marleau-Dany Heatley unit 9-1. It sounds like a broken record, but San Jose needs more production out of its top line in the playoffs.

As always, the Red Wings have a strong team defense, led by Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom was recently named the leagueís best shutdown defenseman in a Sports Illustrated survey of his peers, and ranked 4th in the league this season with an 8.5 defensive GVT. He will be tasked with ensuring that Thorntonís playoff drought continues.

The Detroit goaltending rank is understated because it is dragged down by the poor regular season play of Chris Osgood, who wonít see any action unless things go terribly wrong. Rookie Jimmy Howard had a strong season, and acquitted himself fairly well in his first taste of postseason action. That said, San Joseís shooters will be eager to take a crack at Howard after being stymied for much of round one by Coloradoís Craig Anderson.

Advantage: Even

Detroit Offense vs. San Jose Defense

Detroit Offense GVT: -3.5 (14th in NHL)

San Jose Defense GVT: -3.0 (17th in NHL)

San Jose Goaltending GVT: +17.9 (4th in NHL)

Detroitís regular season struggles can be primarily attributed to a decline in team offense. The Red Wings had average offensive production, despite finishing second in the league in shots on goal. This suggests that they got a bit unlucky with the percentages, and given their track record are probably really an above-average offensive team. Detroit also suffered through a wave of injuries this season, but is now relatively healthy.

San Jose has some very good defensive forwards, but can be vulnerable on the blue line. They will have to survive periods of sustained pressure in their own zone at times in this series, something that was a rare event against Colorado. Goalie Evgeni Nabokov will be taking on a heavier workload and is key to his teamís goal prevention.

Detroitís star players were the offensive stars of round one. Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom combined to score 14 of the teamís 26 goals against Phoenix. The team will need more goals from secondary scorers like Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary to keep pace with the Sharks.

Advantage: Detroit Red Wings

San Jose Power Play vs. Detroit Penalty Kill

San Jose Power Play GVT: +6.2 GVT (7th in NHL)

Detroit Penalty Kill GVT: +8.0 GVT (6th in NHL)

During the regular season Detroit was a very disciplined team, ranking 4th in the league in fewest opposing power plays. This deserted them a little in round one, where the team had to kill off 33 power plays in 7 games. San Joseís power play will be a much tougher matchup, and the Red Wings need to stay out of the box as they did during the regular season.

The Sharks were 5 for 26 in round one (19.2%), even though Marleau, Thornton and Heatley only combined for one goal. During the regular season that trio scored over half of San Joseís goals with the extra man.

Advantage: Even

Detroit Power Play vs. San Jose Penalty Kill

Detroit Power Play Offense GVT: +8.5 (4th in NHL)

San Jose Penalty Kill Defense GVT: +11.7 (5th in NHL)

Detroit has a perennially strong power play, built on a combination of skill up front (Datsyuk, Zetterberg), strong quarterbacks at the blue line (Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski) and big bodies to crash the crease (primarily Tomas Holmstrom, the teamís leading power play goal scorer this season). In round one, Detroit was 8 for 34 (23.5%) on the power play, while San Jose went 13 for 15 (86.7%) on the penalty kill.

Advantage: Even

Season Series

In their four meetings this season, two games went into shootouts with each team winning once. The other two contests were regulation victories for the Red Wings. Over the four contests Detroit outscored San Jose 11-6 and had an edge in shots as well by the cumulative count of 147-126.

Advantage: Detroit Red Wings

Injuries and Intangibles

For the Sharks, Jed Ortmeyer and Niclas Wallin are questionable for game one of the series. Detroitís regulars should all be in the lineup, but with only one day off to recoup from a tough seven game series it is likely that many of them are at less than 100%.

After an up-and-down regular season, the Wings appear to be rounding into form at just the right time. The team is full of playoff experience, with much of the roster having played in the past two Stanley Cup Finals. On the other hand, the pressure is on once again for San Joseís star players, especially after a relatively unproductive first round.

Advantage: Detroit Red Wings

Prediction

On paper, the special teams units seem to match up very closely and could cancel each other out, although the Washington Capitals demonstrated that even the best power plays can go on very hot or cold streaks during a single playoff series. San Jose was a better team throughout the regular season in 5 on 5 goal differential, but the Detroit Red Wings might very well be the better even strength team, based on the rosters that will hit the ice tonight. Both goalies are likely to be solid, but donít expect either to dominate the series.

The key matchup in this series will likely be the centers: Zetterberg and Datsyuk vs. Thornton and Pavelski. If Zetterberg and Datsyuk continue the strong two-way play they showed against Phoenix the Red Wings will be tough to beat.

Prediction: Detroit Red Wings in 7 games.

Philip Myrland is an author of Puck Prospectus and runs the statistical hockey website Brodeur Is A Fraud. You can contact him at BrodeurIsAFraud@Inbox.com.

Philip Myrland is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Philip by clicking here or click here to see Philip's other articles.

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NHL Playoffs, Second R... (04/30)

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