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.

Bolts close gap on struggling Bruins in playoff race

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Well, that was quite a third period.

For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.

Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.

The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.

Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.

And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.

Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)

The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.

Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.

From NHL.com:

The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.

The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.

Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.