As we inch closer to the playoffs, full season stats begin to come into focus. Sometimes it’s too simple to just look at the numbers alone, but observations can certainly be made from 82 (or even about 70) games of hockey.
One of the things that I focus on in stretch run situations is how many home and road contests a team has left. Simply put, many people overlook the fact that there still is an advantage to playing at home. That doesn’t change the fact that some teams are oddballs, though. That can work in two (or more) ways: some teams are wildly dependent on home cooking while some are inexplicably better sleeping in unfamiliar beds.
On some level, these stats can tell the story of a team’s season without needing thousands of words to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the home/road records that really stand out.
The Elite home teams
- Washington: 27-4-4
- Chicago: 27-7-3
- Vancouver: 27-8-2
- Phoenix(!): 26-10-2
- New Jersey: 25-10-1
Considering all of Phoenix’s headaches, it’s refreshing to see them with one of the league’s best winning percentages at home.
The absolute worst road team
Is also the absolute worst team in the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers are the only team in the league that failed to reached the 10-win mark on the road so far. They are a pitiful 8-24-3 away from Edmonton this season.
Road record will give them an early vacation
Take a look at the home vs. road records of these 3 West teams expected to miss the playoffs.
More interesting stats after the jump.
- Dallas: 20-10-7 at home; 12-17-7 on the road (8 less wins)
- Anaheim: 23-11-3 at home; 11-20-5 on the road (12 less wins)
- Minnesota: 24-10-3 at home; 11-22-3 on the road (13 less wins)
They better get home ice
The Ottawa Senators are in the playoff hunt despite a paltry 15-20-1 road record while the Flyers are a weak 16-18-3 and the Red Wings are 16-13-8.
No big deal either way
The Canadiens (18 wins), Rangers (16), Penguins (21), Kings (21), Sharks (22), Panthers (15) and Predators (21) have the same amount of wins (though not points earned) in road and home games. This makes them equally dangerous (or mediocre) wherever they go, it seems.
Finally, these teams are especially weird because their road records are better than their records at home. The Boston Bruins have won three more games and lost one less on the road.
Most odd of all is the St. Louis Blues, though. They’ve won 22 games on the road and only 12 games at home so far this year. How do you explain that?
Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.
It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.
His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:
These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”
Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.
Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.
It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.
Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.
It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.
Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.
You can see and hear his full comments below:
If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.
Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.
Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.
Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.
It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.
The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.
It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.
Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.
Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.
Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.
The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:
The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.
Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.
The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.
The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.