kingshomestand

Breakdown of a breakdown: Numbers from the Kings’ disastrous homestand

There’s one more game left in the Los Angeles Kings’ eight-game homestand, but even if they bludgeon the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, it’s still safe to say that it’s been a disastrous span of games for the playoff hopefuls.

Assuming they beat the Oilers – which isn’t a small assumption, based on the Kings’ recent play and the way Edmonton beat the San Jose Sharks last night – Los Angeles will only pull four out of a possible 16 points out of that trip. In those first seven games, the Kings are a pitiful 1-6-0.

Let’s take a stats-based look at their seven games of struggles in an attempt to identify trends in that set of games. If nothing else, this could prove entertaining fodder for people who dislike the Kings. (The heaviest populations, one would assume, reside in Anaheim, San Jose, Dallas, Phoenix … and Toronto because many Maple Leafs fans haven’t let the Gretzky high stick on Gilmour go.)

Note: there might be some “big picture” stats, too.

  • They’ve been outscored 18-27 in that seven game span, which actually isn’t that bad considering the fact that they lost six times (all in regulation) in that frame. They’re not getting blown out regularly, at least.
  • Then again, they hold a league-low in charity points with only one overtime/shootout loss, so it seems like they either win in regulation or overtime or don’t get a point at all.
  • The Kings have allowed a stunning 4.5 goals per game in that span while averaging 3 goals of their own.
  • Jonathan Quick is the only Kings goalie with a win in this span (1-4) while Jonathan Bernier went 0-2. Quick allowed 15 goals in five games while Bernier was even worse, allowing 12 in only two.
  • Ryan Smyth has been one of the team’s best players in the span, with five goals and three assists for eight points. Jack Johnson has also been strong, with one goal and six assists for seven points. Meanwhile, Anze Kopitar has five assists and Drew Doughty has four assists.

So, what’s next for the Kings? Here’s a look at their biggest remaining stretches of home and away games.

Biggest home stretches: A six-game stretch from February 24-March 5th and a five-game stretch from March 17-26th.

Biggest road stretches: 10 consecutive road games from February 1-19th and a four-game stretch from March 9-15th.

Overall, the Kings have 18 games at home and 21 games remaining on the road. Things certainly look rough for Los Angeles, but ultimately, it all comes down to the Kings surviving that crazy stretch in February. It should be interesting to watch.

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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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.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”