NHL teams who depend most (and least) on home cooking

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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

  1. Washington: 27-4-4
  2. Chicago: 27-7-3
  3. Vancouver: 27-8-2
  4. Phoenix(!): 26-10-2
  5. 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.

  • 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)
More interesting stats after the jump.

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.
Broken home?
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?

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    Capitals shine glaring light on Blues’ goalie woes

    ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save during the first period against the San Jose Sharks in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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    If you’re reaction to the headline “Something is off about the St. Louis Blues” was “Yeah, their goaltending,” then Thursday only emboldened that opinion.

    It wasn’t just that the Washington Capitals bombarded the Blues by a score of 7-3. It’s that they really didn’t need to fire a whole lot of shots on goal to get to seven.

    Here’s a harsh rule of thumb: when both of your goalies play in a game and each one barely makes more saves than goals allowed, that’s an awful night. Take a look at what Jake Allen and Carter Hutton went through:

    Allen: six saves, four goals allowed in 25:11 time on ice
    Hutton: five saves, three goals allowed in 35:49

    Allen got pulled from the contest twice, by the way. He’s been pulled from four games since Dec. 30. Woof.

    Even before these horrendous performances, the Blues goalies have been shaky. Hutton came into tonight with an ugly .898 save percentage; Allen wasn’t much better with a .900 mark.

    Those are the type of numbers that would make Dallas Stars fans cringe, or at least experience some uncomfortable familiarity.

    Now, is it all on Hutton and Allen? Much like with the Stars’ embattled goalies, much of the struggles probably come down to a team struggling in front of them.

    Even so, if you assign more of the blame to Allen and Hutton, nights like this Capitals thrashing definitely strengthen your argument. Yikes.

    Rangers overwhelm Leafs, make life pretty easy for Lundqvist in win

    TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 19:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers faces a shot in the warm-up prior to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on January 19, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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    Heading into Thursday, many were wondering how the New York Rangers will handle Henrik Lundqvist‘s struggles. Instead, the focus shifted to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ difficulties, perhaps specifically in dealing with Morgan Rielly‘s absence.

    The Rangers handily won this one 5-2, at least giving Lundqvist the win. He wasn’t especially busy, stopping 23 out of 25 shots, so you can probably file his story under “To be continued.”

    Lundqvist wasn’t oblivious to his team’s impressive overall play.

    Really, it was all about the waves of attackers the Rangers can send at opponents and the trouble that caused for the Maple Leafs. It wasn’t the easiest night for Frank Corrado, in particular, who took a couple costly penalties.

    The Rangers’ next two games come in a road contest vs. the Red Wings on Sunday and a home game against the Kings on Monday. Perhaps those matches will serve as a better barometer for where Lundqvist’s really at, as he passed tonight’s test … but it wasn’t a particularly difficult one.

    So, is Mike Condon actually really good? He certainly was against Columbus

    OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 8: Mike Condon #1 of the Ottawa Senators stands at the bench during a break in a game against the Edmonton Oilers at Canadian Tire Centre on January 8, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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    Considering their numbers heading in, many were perplexed when the Ottawa Senators essentially replaced Andrew Hammond with Mike Condon. Now many are perplexed by just how strong Condon’s often been for Ottawa.

    Thursday might stand as the prime example that this guy could be better than many expected.

    The Columbus Blue Jackets dominated much of the play, generating a 42-28 shots on goal advantage, but Ottawa ended up winning 2-0 tonight.

    Condon already came into tonight with a solid save percentage (.915 before this shutout), and he’s now won four of his last five games. Three of his four career shutouts have come this season.

    Ignoring his one relief appearance with Pittsburgh this season for the sake of simplicity, just consider his tough times with Montreal last season. He went 21-25-6 with a shaky .903 save percentage.

    This marks just his 21st start and 23rd appearance of this season, so it’s not a guaranteee for future results. Still … it’s another example that goalies are as just about as unpredictable as they are crucial to a team’s fate.

    More and more, it seems like Condon might just be a difference-maker, and in the positive sense this time around.

    Greiss blanks Stars as Isles win in first game of post-Capuano era

    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19:  Doug Weight of the New York Islanders handles his first game as head coach against the Dallas Stars at the Barclays Center on January 19, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The New York Islanders began the Doug Weight era in the same way Jack Capuano’s ended: with a shutout.

    Yeah, it’s easy to forget that the Islanders actually won their last game under Capuano, consider all that’s happened since.

    They blanked the Boston Bruins 4-0 on Monday and generated a 3-0 shutout against the Dallas Stars on Thursday. It’s quite a feather in the cap of goalie Thomas Greiss, who owns these back-to-back shutouts.

    (It’s worth mentioning that, for all the Bruins’ and Stars’ flaws, they can be very explosive on offense …)

    That Monday shutout wasn’t enough for Capuano to save his job, and the Isles still have a long way to go after this encouraging outcome. The East’s second wild card spot still seems like a long shot for Weight & Co.

    Even so, the Islanders will take it. They play their next five games at home and seven of eight in Brooklyn, so if there’s ever a time for movement, it would logically come now.

    If nothing else, maybe life will be a bit better for John Tavares. He scored another goal on Thursday to add to his beautiful 1-0 tally.

    Baby steps, right?