Tyler Ennis,  Matt Moulson,  Tyler Myers

Five team stats you may find interesting


97 — The number of goals the Buffalo Sabres have scored this season, by far the lowest in the NHL. Second to lowest is Calgary, at 119. (Chicago has scored 190 to lead the league.) That said, the Sabres’ offense has been much improved lately. They’ve scored 20 goals in their last six games, including five in Saturday’s 5-2 victory at Columbus.

0 — The number of times Chicago, St. Louis, Anaheim, and Colorado have been shut out. Meanwhile, Nashville’s been blanked a league-high seven times. The Blackhawks were also one of three teams (Boston and Pittsburgh were the two others) to avoid being shut out last season. The last time they failed to score at least one goal in a regular-season game was Feb. 25, 2012, in a 4-0 loss in L.A.

7-4-4 — The Islanders’ record when leading after two periods, giving them by far the worst winning percentage (.467) in that situation. New York blew another second-intermission lead Saturday versus the Blues, when T.J. Oshie tied the game 3-3 in the last minute and St. Louis went on to win in the shootout. Granted, the Isles believed they should have won in overtime, but it wouldn’t have gotten to that point if they’d have been able to lock it down in the first place. (Related: Islanders would love to stop blowing 2-0 leads)

215 — The number of times the Flyers have been shorthanded. Yep, the most in the NHL. The Bruins scored three power-play goals in Saturday’s 6-1 win over Philly, further highlighting a problem that Craig Berube has been harping on since taking over behind the Flyers’ bench. Whether it’s a lack of discipline or team speed that’s leading to all those penalties is up for debate. That all those penalties is hurting them is not. Even with the 10th-ranked penalty kill (83.3%), the Flyers have surrendered 36 power-play goals, tied for seventh most in the league.

48.9% — The Ducks’ faceoff percentage, ranking them 21st in the NHL. Perhaps somewhat surprising considering Anaheim’s spot atop the standings, but as we’ve noted in the past, not all winning teams are winners in the faceoff circle. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last year with a 46.8% win rate in the playoffs. The Kings won it the year before at 49.7%. It’s one of those things where you’d love to be above 50 percent, but it’s not as important as it’s sometimes made out to be.

Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?