One position that’s often viewed as a weakness in Edmonton has been goaltending. Devan Dubnyk is out to change that perception.
Dubnyk has been, more or less, the man in Edmonton for the past two seasons and you could argue he’s been their best goalie going back to the 2010-11 season. Last season he put up the kind of numbers that made a case for him to be the permanent No. 1 guy.
Since debuting in the 2009-10 season with less-than exciting numbers (4-10-2, .889, 3.57), his last three seasons have been under-the-radar good for a goalie playing on a losing team. Over that time, his save percentage is a decent .917 to go along with a passable 2.65 goals-against average.
Last season he posted career-highs in SV% (.921) and GAA (2.57) and led the Oilers to 12th in the Western Conference. Even in spite of his play, the Oilers sniffed around at other goalies leading Dubnyk to wonder just why they team was doing that.
Many great goalies in the league benefit from having a great defense in front of them both on the blue line and at forward. Dubnyk’s time in Edmonton hasn’t really seen either of those things.
If you just focus on the defensemen, of the four guys who logged the most average minutes (Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Ladislav Smid, and Nick Schultz) they combined for a plus-minus rating of minus-30. Even with a flawed stat like plus-minus that’s astoundingly poor. They’ve added Boyd Gordon to strengthen the forward defense, but unless the blue line gets better the struggles will continue.
If the Oilers find a new dedication to defensive play under new head coach Dallas Eakins, Dubnyk could see a boost in his numbers and perhaps even a chance to show what he’s got in the postseason.
Anze Kopitar received high praise from L.A. Kings coach Darryl Sutter following Friday’s win over the New York Rangers.
All Kopitar did was score three goals on four shots on goal. He was also credited with five hits while winning 65 per cent of his faceoffs. His third goal of the evening with 30 seconds remaining in regulation pushed this game into overtime, where Tanner Pearson scored the winner for L.A. in a 5-4 victory.
“It was Kopi’s best game of the season, that’s for sure,” said Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.
“Not just because he scored three goals, but it was his best game all around in terms of using his whole package. I mean, he was a pretty dominant player.”
L.A. maintain an eight-point lead on the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division lead.
The Kings’ victory came at a cost. Marian Gaborik left the game in the first period after being involved in an awkward collision. He did not return, and Sutter didn’t have an update on the veteran forward when the game ended.
P.K. Subban was given a game misconduct on Friday after an outburst directed at officials in the final minute against the Buffalo Sabres.
Subban was furious after the puck got caught up in the skates of the linesman in the neutral zone before Evander Kane then picked it up and scored into the open net. That put the Sabres up by two goals with 55 seconds remaining in regulation and ended any hopes of a Montreal comeback.
Subban had some choice words for officials but his argument ultimately landed him with an early exit from this game. The Habs lost by a final score of 6-4.
The Sabres scored four straight goals between the first and second periods, chasing Ben Scrivens from the net 1:28 into the second period.
Shane Doan on Friday scored his 20th goal of the season, and tied a historical mark for the initial Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise in the process.
Doan scored in the first period against the Calgary Flames, tying him with Dale Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history with 929.
Now 39 years old, Doan has spent his entire career with that organization, playing one season in Winnipeg before the organization moved to Phoenix.
He also joined another impressive list, too.
Just as the Vancouver Canucks are once again struggling through injuries and with their depth on defense a constant question mark, Frank Corrado returns to town with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It’s a quick visit. The Leafs and Canucks do battle on Saturday, with the hosts wearing their famous ‘Flying Skate’ logo from the 1990s.
But the return of Corrado with a different team provides a juicy storyline in Vancouver.
The Canucks waived the 22-year-old defenseman in October.
He was claimed by the Leafs, which ended his time in Vancouver when it previously started with promise and optimism.
He quickly ascended as a prospect after being selected in the fifth round five years ago. But when training camp rolled around this season, Canucks GM Jim Benning was of the belief that Corrado had been passed in the depth chart by a few other defensemen in the system.
The move has been criticized in Vancouver because the Canucks lost an asset — a 22-year-old right-shooting defenseman with potential — for nothing.
Corrado had some interesting things to say about how his time in Vancouver eventually played out, as per Josh Clipperton of the Canadian Press.
Corrado has played 10 games for the Leafs this season, with three assists. He made his Leafs debut more than two months after being claimed.