“He kept us in the game. He was probably our best player majority of the night.”
That’s what Logan Couture offered about Josef Korenar’s 40-save performance in the San Jose Sharks’ 4-3 loss to Colorado.
Korenar became the fifth San Jose rookie goalie to make 40 or more saves in a regular season game, joining Arturs Irbe, Wade Flaherty, Thomas Greiss, and Troy Grosenick. Irbe holds the Sharks’ single-game rookie record for saves with 49.
The praise for Korenar’s performance, however, wasn’t unanimous. Per Evolving Hockey, Korenar registered a -0.43 Goals Saved Above Expected – by that stat, he allowed 0.43 more goals than he should have.
GSAx measures how many goals that a netminder has surrendered above or below expected, based on the shot quality faced. Public measures of shot quality are mostly based on shot location.
So basically, GSAx did not like where Korenar was giving up goals from.
San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner actually alluded to this: “He was fighting to get through on some traffic on those two point shot goals in the third.”
Patrick Nemeth’s goal was a long point shot — but it should be noted that Mikko Rantanten’s game-winning third period goal was actually a tip of Devon Toews’s blueline blast.
But an honest assessment of Korenar’s work last night? It was shades of his 35-save showing in Vegas on Apr. 21 – marvelous stops mixed with maybe an inopportune goal allowed.
Now the San Jose Sharks are in full evaluation mode right now: In some ways, it’s more instructive to focus on the positive, what the youngsters can do. The rookie made some remarkable saves last night:
What a pad save by Korenar pic.twitter.com/8TEvSvnoxV
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) May 2, 2021
But there’s nothing wrong with also pointing out that big picture, Korenar’s consistency needs to improve too. To wit, in his 373.7 minutes this season, Korenar has a -2.77 GSAx. Jones, in 1,807 minutes, has a -11.39 GSAx. So if Korenar had played Jones’s minutes? Pro-rated, he’d have a -13.4 GSAx – worse than the much-maligned Jones.
We can see Korenar’s ceiling and it’s certainly NHL-caliber – but does the 23-year-old have another level or two? We might not find out until next year.
By the way, here’s your darkly comic stat of the day. Jones’s GSAx is -11.39 in 1,807 minutes; Korenar’s, pro-rated, is -13.4; and Devan Dubnyk’s, his time in teal extrapolated to Jones’s, is -17.0. By this measure, Martin Jones has been the San Jose Sharks’ best goalie this year.
It’s not saying much – but it’s also saying a lot.
Sharks Off the Draw
The Avalanche exploited the San Jose Sharks off faceoffs on multiple occasions last night, scoring three goals off the draw.
Mario Ferraro lost Nathan MacKinnon on Colorado’s first goal, Rudolfs Balcers got picked by Tyson Jost so he couldn’t defend Andre Burakovsky’s strike, and Noah Gregor got mixed up on Rantanen’s game-winner.
Obviously, winning these faceoffs would’ve solved some problems for the Sharks, but you’re not going to win every draw – it’s how you defend a lost faceoff that matters most. And it’s worth noting that they’ve mostly done a decent job of defending lost draws this season.
Per SPORTLOGiQ: Before last night’s contest, San Jose was 13th in the NHL in Shots Against After Defensive Zone Faceoffs Lost at Even Strength – they’re also 13th in the league in Shots Against from the Slot After DZ Faceoffs Lost.
Essentially, they’ve been above-average this year, both in preventing shots and scoring chances after losing faceoffs.
Small solace, but it looks like the San Jose Sharks just suffered an off night here last night.
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