From the NHL’s morning email:
MOST POINTS IN THE NHL, SINCE DEC. 17
1. Wayne Simmonds (PHI): 12-10—22 in 17 GP
2. John Tavares (NYI): 10-12-22 in 16 GP
3. Thomas Vanek (NYI): 7-14—21 in 17 GP
4. Sidney Crosby (PIT): 6-15—21 in 14 GP
5. Joe Pavelski (SJ): 15-5—20 in 17 GP
6. Kyle Okposo (NYI): 10-10—20 in 16 GP
Those stats are courtesy the Elias Sports Bureau, and they show a couple of things:
First, Simmonds has been a huge part of the Flyers’ resurgence. The 25-year-old seems to have found some real cohesiveness with linemates Brayden Schenn and Scott Hartnell.
“A lot of it is chemistry between the three of them,” coach Craig Berube said last week, per Philly.com. “I think it took some time, but they have got it now. Little things like puck support and battling in the corners for pucks, and people at the net all the time. All their goals are [because of] guys around the net.”
For all the ripping Flyers management rightly receives for some of the contracts it puts on the books, Simmonds’ deal is looking pretty good right now — a cap hit of $3.975 million, and signed through 2018-19.
Second, the Islanders have been scoring a lot. In their past 12 games — during which they’ve gone 9-3-0 — the team is averaging 3.58 goals per game. This is a fun group of players to watch right now, and it can’t do anything but help the Isles convince Vanek to re-sign.
Defensively, however, the Isles still have their issues. Consider this — in five of their last nine wins, the opponent has still managed to score at least three goals. There’s nothing wrong with winning high-scoring affairs, of course, but the truly elite teams in the NHL consistently win all sorts of games, from 7-3 to 1-0.
The Isles have a tough schedule to close the month, starting tonight at MSG versus the Rangers. Should be interesting to see how they do: