1. For every goal the Sharks have allowed five-on-five, they’ve scored four. (The actual ratio is 16 goals scored, four allowed.) Is it sustainable? No, it isn’t. Last season, the best ratio a team had in that category was 1.52 (Chicago). However, it speaks to San Jose’s absolute dominance during its first five games, particularly while even strength.
2. Anaheim has enjoyed 19:10 more in power-play time than PK time. No other team has a positive differential as high as that. If you’re a Ducks fans, you may think this is great news, that it speaks loudly to the team’s disciplined ways. But while there’s some truth to that, there’s another not-so-positive explanation: Anaheim’s PK (ranked 29th) has been awful, and its PP (30th) has been even worse. Translation: Too many PKs ending early, too many PPs going the distance.
3. Colorado is the only team that hasn’t surrendered a power-play goal. In five games, the Avalanche have killed off all 12 minors they’ve taken (24:00 time shorthanded), just one of the reasons they’ve yet to lose. The Avs ranked 20th (80.3%) in penalty killing last season.
4. The Sabres are being outshot by an average of 9.2 shots per game (34.6 to 25.4). Suffice to say, this is no way to win. Even more worrying, Buffalo has twice recently failed to register shots while trailing late in contests. They got just six in last night’s third period versus the Wild while down 2-1, and Thursday they got just eight in the third while losing by three to Columbus. Not that the first period has been any better for Buffalo. In seven games, the Sabres have only scored once in the opening 20 minutes.
5. The Flyers are oh-for-three when they outshoot their opponent, including Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Wings when Philadelphia outshot Detroit, 34-30. So while there’s plenty to criticize about Philly’s 1-5-0 start, in some ways the team has been unlucky to run into some good goaltending. Four opposition netminders — Jonathan Bernier (Leafs), Carey Price (Habs), Thomas Greiss (Coyotes), and Jimmy Howard (Wings) — have been named stars in Flyers losses so far.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.