NHL Playoffs 2012, Flyers vs. Penguins: How The Lines Matched Up In Game 1

This guy had to go home like this on Wednesday night.

Previously, we looked at how the Flyers and Penguins matched their lines during the regular season series, and what the outcomes of those matchups were. Here's a quick update on how things went in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

In each entry of the table below, you can see how much time a certain Flyer spent on the ice with a certain Penguin at 5-on-5 and what percentage of the shots the Flyers got during that matchup (Corsi, adjusted for zone starts). For example, it shows that Giroux and Crosby were on the ice together for 2.1 minutes at 5-on-5, and the Flyers got 100 percent of the shots during those 2.1 minutes.

vs Crosby vs Malkin vs Staal vs Vitale
Giroux 2.1 min / 100% 4.1 / 50% 10.2 / 51% 1.6 / 75%
Briere 7.5 min / 49% 1.8 / 24% 5.0 / 47% 4.3 / 39%
Read 3.4 min / 41% 7.1 / 31% 0.6 / 100% 2.2 / 58%
Couturier 1.6 min / 77% 9.6 / 55% 2.3 / 67% 0.3 / 100%

As a reminder, we care about the shot differential because it's a good indicator of who is controlling play -- it correlates very strongly with puck possession, offensive zone time, and scoring chances. This follows many of the same patterns as we observed in the regular season games in Pittsburgh:

  • Like in the regular season, the Penguins used Jordan Staal against Claude Giroux, Sidney Crosby against Danny Briere, and Evgeni Malkin against the other lines.
  • Like in the regular season, Staal did pretty well against Giroux and Sean Couturier did pretty well against Malkin.
  • The big difference from the regular season, and arguably the reason the Flyers won, is that Briere held his own against Crosby. They were on the ice together for 7.5 minutes, including more faceoffs in the Flyers' end than in Pittsburgh's (3-2), and the Flyers only got outshot 8-7 during that time.
  • The only matchup that the Penguins consistently dominated was Malkin-Read. The Flyers used Read heavily in the offensive zone (8 offensive zone faceoffs, 1 defensive zone faceoff) and he mostly got pushed back into his own end.
  • How cool is it to have a 19-year-old who can play Malkin to a draw?
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