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.
The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.
San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.
The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.
Here’s the goal:
Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.
Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.
Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.
Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.
The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.
Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.
The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.
It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.
After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.
In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.
You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.
It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:
Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:
You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.
After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.
“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.
“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”
After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.
“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”
And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.
—Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta
Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.
Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.
Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:
“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”
To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.
This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.