PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 24: Linesman Tim Nowak #77 drops the puck as Brayden Schenn #10 of the Philadelphia Flyers faces off with Brian Boyle #22 of the New York Rangers on October 24, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

A collection of ugly team statistics

4 Comments

We’ve seen some spectacular goals and great saves already this season. There are teams that have defied expectations and players that have put themselves on the map.

We’re not talking about them right now.

Let’s instead focus on the bottom of the barrel. Here are some of the worst looking team-based statistics in the NHL right now:

  • The New York Rangers have a goals for/against ratio in 5-on-5 situations of just 0.30. In fact, through eight games this season, the Rangers have scored just six goals when both teams were at full strength. To give that some context, the team with the least 5-on-5 goals last season was New Jersey with 65 in 48 games. The worst ratio was Florida’s 0.57.
  • Just how important is getting on the board first in the NHL? Last season the team that scored first had a 504-140-73 record. This season though, there are a few teams that haven’t managed to benefit from that early lead. The Edmonton Oilers are just 1-4-1 in those situations while New Jersey is 1-2-4. However, the worst by far is the Buffalo Sabres — sort of. Buffalo has actually only scored the first goal once this season and they lost that game in overtime.
  • The Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, and Sabres have a combined 0-8-2 record when outshooting their opponents.
  • The Anaheim Ducks have done a lot of things right this season, but one thing they can’t seem to do is capitalize on their power-play chances. They are just three-for-44 with the man advantage. Montreal, Los Angeles, and Vancouver all have as many shorthanded goals as the Ducks do power-play markers.
  • The Flyers still haven’t scored more than two goals in a game — and they aren’t even last in the league in terms of goals/game. That would be the Sabres at 1.42 to Philadelphia’s 1.44.
  • The Calgary Flames can’t seem to hold their own in the faceoff circle. They have just a 42.9 percentage on the draw so far this season. The worst team of the salary cap era has been the 2010-11 Edmonton Oilers with a 44.2% success rate.
  • ‘No doubt that there is a confidence issue’ with Lundqvist, says AV

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
    Getty
    1 Comment

    These are rough times for the King.

    Henrik Lundqvist, who for the better part of a decade has been a brick wall for the Rangers, is going through arguably the toughest stretch of his career. He allowed seven goals on 27 shots in a loss to the Stars on Tuesday, and 12 on 49 shots in his last four periods played.

    If you go back over his last four games, it’s a staggering 20 goals on 113 shots.

    His head coach knows something is wrong.

    “There’s no doubt that there is a confidence issue with Hank,” Alain Vigneault said, per the New York Post. “Hank has had some moments in the past, probably never to this degree.

    “So he’s in new territory, we’re in new territory to some extent.”

    As Vigneault said, Lundqvist’s had some struggles before. The end of last year wasn’t very good — he struggled in late in the year, and was torched in an opening-round playoff loss to the Penguins.

    Thing is, both Lundqvist and the Rangers conceded a large part of those struggles were due to the guys playing in front of him, and all the glorious scoring opportunities they allowed.

    So it’s telling that Vigneault and Lundqvist aren’t using that theory this time around. In fact, AV went to far as to suggest the opposite — that Lundqvist’s poor play is actually affecting the guys in front of him.

    “Sometimes that can trickle down a little bit with the other guys when something happens on the ice,” he explained.

    The other big difference with this particular stretch of struggle is that there’s no safety valve. Lundqvist’s traditionally had good backups — Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta, most notably — but Raanta is now sidelined with injury, leaving untested Magnus Hellberg as the club’s No. 2.

    (Even during his World Cup struggles, Lundqvist had a capable backup in Jacob Markstrom to lighten the load.)

    As such, it’s solely on King Henrik to turn this around. And he knows it.

    “I feel like it’s embarrassing and frustrating and disappointing at the same time,” Lundqvist said, per NHL.com. “I need to find another level.

    “It’s not good enough.”

    Depth scoring helps Penguins get by Canadiens

    MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 18:  Olli Maatta #3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his third period goal with teammates during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on January 18, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
    Getty
    Leave a comment

    MONTREAL (AP) Eric Fehr and Jake Guentzel scored in the second period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday night.

    Defensemen Ian Cole and Olli Maatta also scored for Pittsburgh, which won its second game in a row after a three-game skid.

    Sven Andrighetto scored for Montreal, which lost its second straight and has only two wins in its last six games. The Canadiens’ offense remained in a rut coming off a 1-0 loss Monday in Detroit.

    Penguins goalie Matt Murray was back in form after Monday’s wild 8-7 win over Washington, making 19 saves. But Carey Price‘s woes continued as Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 26-20. Price allowed three or more goals for the eighth time in 10 games.

    A tight-checking first period saw Pittsburgh strike first as Cole took a feed from Evgeni Malkin on a counterattack and scored on a high shot inside the near post with Patric Horqvist screening Carey Price. Malkin picked up his seventh point in five games.

    Fehr, who got into the lineup with Matt Cullen out 3-to-4 weeks with a foot injury, was left alone in front to take a pass from Chris Kunitz and score 5:19 into the second. Guentzel made it 3-0 at 17:38 when he tipped a point shot from Cameron Gaunce, who was making his Penguins debut.

    Andrighetto got one back at 18:11 when he banked one in off Murray from the side of the net.

    Conor Sheary got away with tripping defenseman Jeff Petry behind the Montreal net and fed the puck to Maatta at the point for a low shot that went through Price’s pads 15:36 into the third frame.

    A scoreboard tribute was paid to former Montreal Expos star Tim Raines for his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame earlier Wednesday.

    UP NEXT

    Penguins: at Carolina on Friday night.

    Canadiens: at New Jersey on Friday night.

    PHT Morning Skate: Tortorella says ‘not a chance’ LeBron James could play hockey

    5 Comments

    Auston Matthews is putting together one of the best rookie seasons we’ve seen in a long time, but if it wasn’t for Ukrainian skating coach Boris Dorozhenko’s unique teaching methods, he might not be the player he is today. (ESPN)

    –Not many people expected the Minnesota Wild to contend for the Central Division crown this season, but their play is making some in the national media believe they have a chance to do some damage in the near future. “I give them a ton of credit,” NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire said. “They’ve put themselves in a great position to win a Cup. This is the best team they’ve had in Minnesota ever. Like, ever!” (Minneapolis StarTribune)

    –If he wasn’t a basketball player, I could see LeBron James playing in the NFL. But a hockey player? I don’t think so. It sounds like Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella agrees with me. “He can’t skate,” Tortorella said during a radio interview. “He’s too damn big, he can’t skate. And you can tell him I said that, I challenge him.” (BarDown)

    –The Boston Bruins were up 3-0, 4-1 and 5-4 in last night’s game against the Red Wings, but they still found a way to lose the game. Watch the highlights of that tilt by clicking the video at the top of the page.

    –Every hockey fan is aware of the incredible season Sidney Crosby has put together, but for some reason, Evgeni Malkin‘s stellar play seems to be flying under the radar. After all, Malkin isn’t too far behind Connor McDavid for the scoring title. “He doesn’t get as much attention as he deserves,” said Penguins assistant coach Sergei Gonchar. “Not only this season or that season. I think overall if you look at his career, I don’t think he has been covered as much as some other guys. I think he deserves more credit for what he has done in his career.” (NHL.com)

    –The 2003 NHL Entry Draft is regarded as one of the best drafts in league history. That year, the Penguins took Marc-Andre Fleury first overall, but if it had to be done over again, who would the top pick be? According to a pair of Sportsnet hockey analysts, Patrice Bergeron or Ryan Getzlaf would go number one if that draft could be done over again. (Sportsnet)

    –In his final year of eligibility, former Expos outfielder Tim Raines was finally voted into the Hall of Fame yesterday, and the Montreal Canadiens made sure to congratulate him during last night’s game:

    Sharks grind out win, make life difficult for Kings

    Leave a comment

    If the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings meet again, it will be in the playoffs. If they do so, the Sharks will hold quite a bit of a recent edge.

    They defeated them in the first round of the 2016 playoffs and won the 2016-17 season series with the Kings after beating L.A. in a tight 3-2 affair on Wednesday.

    During a week where leads have been flimsy and goals came in flurries, this one started off pretty hot. The Sharks generated a 2-1 lead in the first period, and then the two teams exchanged goals in the second, with Joe Pavelski‘s goal ultimately standing as the game-winner.

    The Sharks won after a scoreless third period, keeping them in a position to take back first place in the Pacific Division:

    1. Ducks – 59 points in 47 games
    2. Oilers – 57 in 47
    3. Sharks – 56 in 45

    San Jose has an opportunity to make up that ground with its games in hand. The Kings, on the other hand, see their margin of error for a wild card spot dwindling:

    Second wild card spot: Kings, 48 points in 45 games

    Canucks – 48 in 46
    Predators – 47 in 44
    Stars – 46 in 46
    Jets – 46 in 48

    The Sharks made life easier for themselves while making it tougher for the Kings. If that’s the end of their interactions for 2016-17, Sharks fans should be quite happy.