1. The St. Louis Blues have the best five-on-five scoring ratio in the NHL, at 1.6. Which is too bad for all the other teams, because the Blues also have a good power play (4th) and strong penalty killing (7th). It’s actually hard to find anything the Blues don’t do well, especially now that Brian Elliott is giving them some goaltending. (Though we still think Doug Armstrong should give Buffalo a call about Ryan Miller.)
2. The Nashville Predators have the NHL’s best team faceoff percentage, at 54.0%. The worst belongs to Calgary, at 45.6%. While there appears to be a correlation between faceoff percentage and winning (Los Angeles, San Jose, and Boston are all strong faceoff teams), the connection isn’t as strong as the focus it receives may suggest. The Blackhawks won the Cup last year with a 46.8% win rate in the playoffs. The Kings won it the year before at 49.7%.
3. The Islanders have won just six of the 12 games they’ve led after two periods. Three times they’ve lost the game outright. Winnipeg and Calgary are the only two other teams that have lost three times in regulation when leading after 40 minutes. We suppose this isn’t a huge surprise, as the Isles, Jets, and Flames aren’t very good. But neither is Florida, and that hasn’t stopped the Panthers from going 8-0-1 when leading after two periods. (The bad news is they’ve only led nine times after two periods.)
4. The Buffalo Sabres have just 11 first-period goals in the 42 games they’ve played. That’s eight fewer than Carolina, the 29th-ranked team in the category and 39 fewer than San Jose, which leads with 50. The Chicago Blackhawks’ second period has been the best of all, with 63 goals scored this season.
5. The Ottawa Senators have surrendered an NHL-high 35 power-play goals. Two factors have contributed to this. First, their penalty killing hasn’t been very good (21st, 80.1%). Second, they’ve put themselves shorthanded an NHL-high 176 times. In a related story, Ottawa’s penalty killing has gone an impressive 19-for-20 in its last six games, five of those being victories.
Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.
They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.
Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.
Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.
You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:
Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.
Read about that blowout here.
Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.
Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”
It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.
The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.
This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.
Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.
On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.
We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.
Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.
After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.
Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.
The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.
Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.
Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:
Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.
Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.
Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.
It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.
After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.
Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:
Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.
The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.