Of all the alarming statistics Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown has compiled this year, one stands out above the rest — 25 hits through 12 games, way down from his usual average.
For Brown, it’s not a big deal — “I don’t really look at my hit totals, I probably get more physical as the year goes on,” he explained — but for head coach Darryl Sutter, it’s a problem.
“The season’s going on,” Sutter told the L.A. Times. “Twelve games in.”
In addition to the lack of hits (averaging 2.08 per game, down from 3.39 last season), Brown isn’t doing much offensively. He has just two goals and five points, putting him on pace for his lowest output since his sophomore campaign of 2005-06.
Of course, Brown does have some excuses.
He missed almost the entire preseason with a hamstring injury and still plays with a knee brace stemming from an injury last season. He’s also recently logged some time on the team’s third line alongside Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis, two guys that have had their own issues producing offensively (Stoll has just two points through 12 games, Lewis has none.)
All of this, Sutter says, can be remedied by Brown doing what he does best — establishing the physical part of his game, and throwing some hits.
“He’s got to play a certain way to be effective,” Sutter said, “and that’s important.”
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins are going to take their rivalry outside on Saturday.
The Flyers visit the Penguins in a Stadium Series clash at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. You can catch the action on NBC or online with the NBC Sports Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Goalie nods: Murray, Neuvirth get the call at Heinz Field
Kris Letang won’t play in outdoor game; Schultz game-time decision
NHL On NBC: Penguins, Flyers meet in Stadium Series
Giroux: ‘It’s all business’ between Penguins and Flyers at Heinz Field
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes have made a minor league trade.
The Bolts on Saturday acquired right winger Stefan Fournier from the Coyotes in exchange for right winger Jeremy Morin, who has played 82 career NHL games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Fournier stands six-foot-three-inches tall and 226 pounds. He has two goals and four points in 29 games with the Tuscon Roadrunners in the AHL.
Morin, who has spent the majority of his pro career in the Blackhawks organization, has been a productive minor league player over the years. He has nine goals and 21 points in 43 games this season with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.
The New York Islanders entered today with a three-game winning streak and holders of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
But yeah, it’s been a disastrous start for the Islanders on Saturday. The Blue Jackets scored three times in the first period, chasing Thomas Greiss from the New York net after he stopped 14 of 17 shots faced.
Jean-Francois Berube entered the game to begin the second period and promptly surrendered a goal to Josh Anderson, who scored his 12th of the season.
Oh, look at that: Another heated melee involving the Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings.
You’ll recall a first-period fight fest in a pivotal Pacific Division game between these teams almost one full year ago. On Saturday, in another meeting between these California rivals, the Ducks and Kings were once again at odds.
This latest conflict? Well, Corey Perry was involved. Again. (Last year, order had been restored during a brief scrum before Perry gave an extra shot to a Kings player, resulting in mayhem.)
Perry was called this time around for interference on Anze Kopitar. Kings players, as you might expect, suddenly rushed over before Nate Thompson and Brayden McNabb squared off in the main event.