Fun with numbers: Pittsburgh vs. New Jersey

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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.

Pittsburgh:

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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    Report: 2017 NHL Draft will be held in Chicago

    The NHL hockey draft board is complete at the end of the first round at Prudential Center, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
    Associated Press
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    It looks like the city of Chicago will be hosting the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    The team and the league are expected to confirm the news during an official press conference later today.

    The draft has never been held in the Windy City.

    It may be a little early to project which team will pick first in 2017, but it certainly doesn’t look like it’ll be the ‘Hawks.

    The last time they drafted first overall, they took this guy:

    This also marks the first time since 2011 (Minnesota) that a Western Conference team will play host to the draft.

    Last year’s draft was held in Sunrise, Florida while this year’s edition will be held in Buffalo.

    Hockey reporters everywhere will be thrilled about an additional work assignment in Chicago.

    Here’s what some of them are saying:

     

    PHT Morning Skate: Jagr doesn’t understand why Peyton Manning would retire after winning the Super Bowl

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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Jaromir Jagr doesn’t believe Peyton Manning should retire. (ESPN)

    Victor Hedman wrote about “How We Play Hockey in Sweden” for The Players’ Tribune.

    –Did the Senators make a smart move by acquiring Dion Phaneuf? (Sportsnet)

    –And if you have a Maple Leafs jersey with Phaneuf’s name on the back, the Sens want to dispose of it:

    –Watch the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Rangers and Penguins. (Top of the page)

    –A Zoolander tribute to Coyotes center Martin Hanzal. (Puck Daddy)

    Steven Stamkos had a run-in with the paparazzi in Montreal. (Bardown)

    Sidney Crosby‘s confidence could be dangerous for the rest of the league:

    Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

    at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
    Getty Images
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    With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

    After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

    It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

    Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

    Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

    Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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    A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

    It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

    Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

    “He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

    “I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

    Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

    Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

    DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.