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.”
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Update: It didn’t get much better going forward; the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 6-1.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
Update: This seems fairly positive.