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.”
Through six games of the NHL season, Travis Konecny enjoyed a nice start to his rookie campaign with five assists. Just one thing was missing, though.
On Tuesday, he took care of that against the Buffalo Sabres.
Konecny, taken 24th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, deflected an Ivan Provorov point shot early in the third period, beating goalie Anders Nilsson on the glove side for his first NHL goal. That goal also got the Flyers on the board.
Konecny and Provorov make Flyers, expected ‘to be here all year’
California rivals clash tonight, as the Anaheim Ducks visit the San Jose Sharks. This marks the first meeting of the season between the two Pacific Division teams.
The Sharks have lost two games in a row, while the Ducks have won two straight.
You can catch tonight’s game on NBCSN or with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra (10 p.m. ET).
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Brent Burns is on a beastly pace
Report: Ducks put Despres on long-term injured reserve
NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Flyers; Ducks vs. Sharks
Difficult night for some goalies across the NHL.
Frederik Andersen has had his struggles against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning, although the players in front of him haven’t given their puck stopper much help, either.
And then there is Bolts goalie Ben Bishop, who took a Peter Holland wrist shot off the mask and appeared to lose some teeth as a result.
But this is hockey. Bishop, who even appeared to crack a smile while being examined on the ice, remained in the game.
Claude Giroux was called for boarding after plastering Zemgus Girgensons from behind into the boards in the second period. But the Buffalo Sabres made the Philadelphia Flyers and their captain pay.
Giroux was assessed only a minor penalty on the play. He promptly exited the penalty box, though, after Matt Moulson scored six seconds into the Sabres power play, giving Buffalo a two-goal lead.
Girgensons and Moulson scored less than two minutes apart to give Buffalo the lead.