Revisiting the five key questions from Sharks-Golden Knights series
Taking a look back
Who has the even-strength edge?
Vegas was the better team at even strength. Adjusting for score (i.e. blowouts in Games 1 and 4) and venue, the Golden Knights attempted 53.1 percent of the five-on-five shots.
They also outscored the Sharks 13-7 at full strength. Of course, four of those goals came in a Game 1 blowout, but on the aggregate, Vegas had a clear five-on-five advantage to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Will Marc-Andre Fleury falter?
That even-strength edge extended to the crease, too. Marc-Andre Fleury posted a .947 five-on-five save percentage, according to Corsica Hockey, while Martin Jones posted an .894.
His .934 save percentage across all situations led all starting goaltenders in the second round entering Monday. Fleury was the better goaltender in this series, and arguably the best player.
How healthy is Brent Burns?
Brent Burns missed part of the third period in Game 3 of the first round, did not skate before Game 4 of that round, and skated prior to, but not during, the next two practices. He participated in each practice and played in every game this series, but it’s clear he wasn’t quite himself.
Burns still finished the series with five points in six games, but three came in Game 2 and he generated scoring chances in the playoffs at his lowest rate as a defensemen since he came to San Jose. The Sharks were also outscored 7-3 with him on the ice in five-on-five situations in the series, per Natural Stat Trick.
When will the Golden Knights power play start finishing?
Vegas finally regressed to the mean on the man advantage. The Golden Knights shot and generated scoring chances on the power play at similar rates in the first and second rounds, but scored on 5.26 percent of their shots in the former, and 14.29 percent in the latter, according to Natural Stat Trick.
San Jose’s power play was plenty prolific, too, and largely matched Vegas’ production on the man advantage. But after getting outplayed at evens, the Sharks penalty kill needed to limit the Golden Knights and was unable to.
Can the Sharks win in Las Vegas?
San Jose needed to win at least one road game to advance, and got the job done in Game 2. The bigger problem, arguably, was that the Sharks won as many games at home.
After stealing home-ice advantage, San Jose gave it right back in Game 3. The Sharks couldn’t become the first team to win multiple road games in Sin City this season, and thus needed to do more than hold serve at home.