Fun with numbers: Pittsburgh vs. New Jersey


No doubt about it, New Jersey has absolutely dominated defending champion Pittsburgh all season long. Whether it’s been at the Rock or Mellon Arena, the Penguins have had no answer for Martin Brodeur and Co. If the Devils win tonight’s game, that’ll make it a 6-0 sweep of the season series and give New Jersey the division lead once again.

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrunn collected some nice stats from the Elias Sports Bureau. I’ll share some highlighted bits from that post.

Pittsburgh had the shot edge in four of the five games (33-26, 26-25, 35-30, 32-33, 35-32).

The Penguins have gone 0-18 on the power play, the Devils 3-16.

Brodeur is 5-0-0 with a 0.60 goals-against average and a .981 save percentage (three goals against on 161 shots); Marc-Andre Fleury has played and lost four games (4.04, .857, 14 goals against on 98 shots).

By my expert math, the Devils have outscored the Pens by a staggering 17-3. To boil it down to two factors, it seems like the two biggest advantages have been goaltending and special teams. But it seems like the Devils were quite a bit stronger when it came to scoring goals too. *Cough*

Anyway, I thought I’d take a quick look at the road ahead for both teams. After all, the Penguins can still win the division even if they never slay that New Jersey dragon. So, to keep it simple, let’s just look at a few factors for each team.


Last 10 games record: 6-1-3; Most relevant injury situation: Malkin (day-to-day); home/away games: 7 home, 6 away.

New Jersey:

Last 10 games record: 5-4-1; Most relevant injury situation: Martin (about to return); home/away games: 8 home, 6 away

The two teams’ similar situations makes it clear just how important this game is. What do you think, sweaty, possibly green beer drinking masses? Will New Jersey or Pittsburgh win the Atlantic division this season?

(My guess: the Devils make a deal for the division title.)

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    Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

    Patrick Kane

    On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

    In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

    The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

    Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

    (There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

    Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

    ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

    It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

    Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


    So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

    They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

    Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

    Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

    If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

    Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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    For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

    The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

    They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

    It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

    Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
    Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
    Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
    Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

    Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.