Jason Brough


Five NHL player stats you may find interesting


.961Jimmy Howard‘s save percentage, the highest of any NHL goalie with at least six starts. Yes, even higher than Carey Price‘s .953 mark. Of all the goalies off to a hot start, Howard’s is easily the most surprising. Recall this offseason when Howard’s contract looked like an unmovable anvil, to the point GM Ken Holland had to spin why it might be a good idea to keep him. OK, maybe it wasn’t all spin from Holland, but Howard had just finished up his third straight sub-par season, and the 32-year-old goalie with the $5.3 million cap hit for three more years was not exactly considered an asset. For the Red Wings’ sake, hopefully Howard can keep it up, because if you translate Henrik Zetterberg, they might be in trouble if not for their much-maligned netminder:

19 — Mark Scheiffele’s point total, making him the NHL’s leading point-getter. Scheifele (9G, 10A) has been centering a line of Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine, the latter of whom leads the league with 11 goals. So yeah, quite a bit of young talent in Winnipeg. Scheifele is still only 23 years old, while Ehlers is 20 and Laine just 18. To be sure, the Jets (7-7-1) need to keep improving defensively, but don’t forget they’ve played most of their season without veteran center Bryan Little, and their entire season without just-signed defenseman Jacob Trouba. If they can find some consistent goaltending — a big if, mind you — they could really start to roll.

Minus-76: Jack Johnson‘s 5-on-5 shot-attempt differential. John Tortorella probably doesn’t want to hear about it, but that’s the worst differential in the NHL. In a related story, the Blue Jackets have not been a good possession team. They’re only 6-4-2 because Sergei Bobrovsky has been excellent in goal (6-4-1, .935) and their special teams have been off-the-charts good. Last night in Boston, the Jackets got badly outshot (32-17), Bobrovsky had an off night, and Columbus lost 5-2.

10 — Combined goals for the Sedin twins, who have five each. The rest of the Vancouver Canucks have 17 goals, for a measly total of 27 in 15 games. This is why there’s so much concern in Vancouver. The Sedins are 36 years old and they’re still having to carry the offense. True, Brock Boeser is in the pipeline, and he continues to fill the net for the University of North Dakota. But much more is required of the club’s other young wingers like Sven Baertschi and Jake Virtanen. If the Canucks can’t develop some reliable everyday scorers, the road back to respectability is going to be very long indeed.

18:44: The average ice time for Alex Ovechkin, a fair bit less than the 20:19 he averaged last season. This is by design, with an eye towards the playoffs. “He’s used to around the 21 mark,” said coach Barry Trotz. “It may not feel great sometimes right now, but hopefully game 92 and 93 and 94 when we get into that, that’s when you’ll see, hopefully, the effect of sort of spreading the minutes about.” One guy who’s taken some of Ovechkin’s ice time is Andre Burakovsky, who’s gone from an average of 13:01 last season to 15:43 in the first 12 games of 2016-17.

Lack of discipline keeps costing the Isles


The New York Islanders’ penalty killing got burned for 12th and 13th times last night, and it cost them in a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

The Isles went shorthanded six times against the Bolts — a bad idea against a team with Steven Stamkos, who scored on the first of three Tampa Bay power plays in the first period alone.

“There’s no secret,” Isles captain John Tavares told reporters. “The amount of penalties we take, it’s really putting us in a tough spot.”

“We’re probably one of the most penalized teams in the league — and it’s not the refs, you know what I mean?” added defenseman Johnny Boychuk, per Newsday. “We should’ve learned from the last game against them.”

That “last game” was Nov. 1 in Brooklyn, when the Bolts went 2-for-7 on the power play and won 6-1. Andrew Ladd called it “easily our worst game of the year,” and unfortunately for the Isles, things haven’t gotten much better since.

In fact, the Isles’ only win of the month came over one of the worst teams in the league, the Vancouver Canucks, who’d lost eight straight coming in. It was hardly a dominant victory either, requiring a third-period push to get it done.

On top of all that, last night’s loss marked the start of a brutally tough stretch for Jack Capuano’s crew. The Isles play the Panthers in Sunrise tomorrow, then return home for games against the Lightning and Penguins. After that, it’s off to California to visit the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks.

Indeed, just 14 games into the season and it’s already desperation time, as the Isles (5-7-2) have fallen four points out of a wild-card spot and five points back of third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Most PP goals surrendered
Calgary: 17
Chicago: 16
NY Islanders, Dallas: 13

Fewest PP goals surrendered
Columbus: 3
Carolina, Edmonton, San Jose, Minnesota: 4

Mantha gets the call, as Athanasiou sidelined with knee sprain


The Red Wings have recalled forward Anthony Mantha from AHL Grand Rapids.

Mantha gets the call after Andreas Athanasiou was forced to leave last night’s 3-1 win over the Canucks.  Athanasiou got leveled by Vancouver’s Russian giant, Nikita Tryamkin, in the first period. He did not return and is now expected to miss one or two weeks with a knee sprain, according to MLive’s Ansar Khan.

Athanasiou, 22, has four goals in 13 games, so his goal-scoring will be missed — unless Mantha can show something in the NHL, that is.

Mantha, the 20th overall pick in the 2013 draft, has eight goals in 10 games for the Griffins this season, and his production had been duly noted by the Wings’ brass.

But early this week when Thomas Vanek was placed on LTIR, it was Tyler Bertuzzi that the Wings recalled, not Mantha.

“I’ve had conversations with everybody involved that’s watched the team and they’re both playing excellent, they’re both playing really good hockey,” head coach Jeff Blashill said, per CBS Detroit. “We think they’re both real good prospects. As we talked about it, we debated it a little bit last night – ‘debated’ isn’t the right word – we discussed it last night, and we just decided this time we’re going to go with Bert.”

Vanek is not eligible to come off LTIR until Nov. 18, so this is a great opportunity for Mantha to show his stuff.

The Red Wings’ next game is Saturday in Montreal.

Related: Anthony Mantha is looking to make the leap

Blackhawks could be without Anisimov against Caps


The streaking Chicago Blackhawks (10-3-1) could be minus a key player against the Washington Capitals (8-3-1) tomorrow at United Center.

Per NHL.com, center Artem Anisimov is questionable for Friday’s contest after being forced to leave last night’s win over the Blues with a lower-body injury.

Anisimov is the co-leader on the ‘Hawks with 17 points (8G, 9A), tied with Patrick Kane (5G, 12A).

“Obviously, [if he’s out], you’re missing a guy that has had a tremendous start for us in all areas of our team game,” said head coach Joel Quenneville. “So, we’re still hopeful that he could play.”

Anisimov did not practice today. If he can’t go against the Caps, Nick Schmaltz or Marcus Kruger could step up to center his line. Jonathan Toews would obviously center the other top line.

The Blackhawks have won seven straight, in large part because their goalie, Corey Crawford, has been excellent, and their veteran core has stepped up with big goal after big goal.


As you can see, the ‘Hawks have not received much production from the supporting forward cast. And don’t forget, Tyler Motte is out a couple of weeks with a lower-body injury.

The Caps, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 3-0 home loss to San Jose on Tuesday. Prior to that, they’d won five straight.

Corrado growing frustrated as a healthy scratch in Toronto


Frank Corrado is trapped.

Granted, he’s trapped in a pretty good place, making thousands of dollars a day on an NHL roster.

But the 23-year-old defenseman has yet to play a game this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. And until there’s an injury, he may have to keep waiting.

Not surprisingly, he’s pretty frustrated.

“Twenty three years old and we’re how many games into the season, and I haven’t played a game yet,” Corrado told The Athletic. “It’s one of those things where it’s OK, you get to do all the cool things…but how much longer are you going to be able to do it for if you don’t establish yourself as a player that can keep playing in this league? You want to be in your mid-30s and still be playing here, that’s what you work toward. Just because you fly on the plane and eat the good meals doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be here.”

Corrado played 39 games for the Leafs last season. Though his possession numbers were quite good, he finished minus-12 with just one goal and five assists.

This season, he has Connor Carrick and Nikita Zaitsev to compete with. The Leafs picked up Carrick in a deadline deal with Washington; they signed Zaitsev in May as a free agent. Both shoot right and play the right side, just like Corrado does. Both have dressed for all 13 Toronto games.

Corrado, of course, requires waivers to be sent to the AHL. That’s how he ended up in Toronto, plucked from Vancouver, much to the chagrin of Canucks fans.

Looking ahead, one injury, or one bad stretch from Carrick or Zaitsev, and Corrado may get his chance. You’d think there could be changes after Tuesday’s 7-0 loss to the Kings. The Leafs host the Flyers Friday.

If not, Corrado will continue to practice and continue to wait. His frustration is understandable, especially for a guy who made his NHL debut all the way back in 2013, and even got into four playoff games.

Such is life, which rarely goes as planned.

At the very least, he’s a free agent at the end of the season.