1. The Vancouver Canucks have won 10 games. No team in the entire NHL has won fewer games than that. Carolina and Toronto are the only others with just 10. The Vancouver Canucks are in third place in the Pacific Division.
2. The Arizona Coyotes have lost 14 times in regulation. Only three teams have lost more in regulation than that. Columbus has the most, with 16. The Arizona Coyotes are one point out of second place in the Pacific Division.
3. The Anaheim Ducks have scored the fewest goals in the NHL. The Anaheim Ducks are one point out of second place in the Pacific Division.
4. The Calgary Flames have played 27 games, they’ve won four times in regulation and have the NHL’s worst goal differential (minus-27). The Calgary Flames are four points out of second place in the Pacific Division.
5. The Edmonton Oilers are the Edmonton Oilers. The Edmonton Oilers are four points out of second place in the Pacific Division.
You know a team is rolling when it’s winning but the players don’t think they’re winning by enough.
That’s the Los Angeles Kings right now. Last night, they beat Columbus in overtime for their fifth straight victory. In those five games, the Kings have outshot their opponents by a combined margin of 182-106.
“I think we’re making it a lot more difficult on ourselves than we have to,” Martinez told LA Kings Insider. “Myself included. I had a good opportunity in the third and I think we just have to do a better job of capitalizing on chances. But again, that said, if we weren’t getting them I’d be concerned but we’re getting the chances. We just have to bury a little bit more.”
Meanwhile, per the Columbus Dispatch, here’s what Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella had to say about the game:
“That was men against boys tonight. We should be embarrassed. I am. I am. Obviously I’m not doing a good enough job to get the team ready in these types of situations. I’m totally embarrassed by the way we played.”
With an 18-8-1 record (and remember they lost their first three), the Kings have opened a nine-point lead atop the woeful Pacific Division.
Devils prospect Blackwood suspended for ‘stick incident’; will miss first two games of World Juniors
In the NHL, the difference between making and missing the playoffs can be extremely small.
Take the Colorado Avalanche. Two years ago, they won the Central Division thanks in large part to their NHL-best 28-4-8 record in one-goal games. The Avs were decent in games decided by two or more goals — they went 24-18 — but not great.
Last year, the Avs went 21-11-12 in one-goal games (16th) and finished last in the Central.
This year, they’re 5-7-1 (25th) and sit last again.
“I feel like right through the league there are not many teams that are powerhouses, and we look at ourselves and what we look at is our one-goal games,” veteran winger Jarome Iginlatold NHL.com. “If we could pull out a few more here and there — I know that is what-ifs — but it makes it so we feel like we’re not so far behind a big group of teams.”
Iginla’s frustration is understandable. Colorado has 25 points and an overall goal differential of minus-4. St. Louis, meanwhile, has 34 points and an overall goal differential of plus-1. The Blues, not surprisingly, have been more successful in one-goal games (8-1-4).
The way Iginla sees it, the Avs just need to bear down when it counts.
“We’ve had too many this year that we’ve let slip away, too many of those types of games where you’re playing pretty well and then it just falls apart for us or we don’t get at least one point out of it,” he said.
He’s right about that. The Avs have lost two games in regulation that they’d led after two periods. They’re the only team that’s done that more than once. Sixteen teams have yet to do it at all.
Of course, in reality, the Avs’ biggest problem is not that they’ve struggled in one-goal games; it’s that they’ve not been good enough to dominate their opponents on a consistent basis.
In other words, it’s all well and good to bear down and win the close ones, but to cite an extreme example, the very best aim for this:
On the bright side, Colorado’s luck in one-goal games seems to be improving. Their last three wins have all been by that margin, including Monday’s 2-1 overtime decision over the Wild.
The Avs host Pittsburgh tomorrow (on NBCSN).
Pascal Dupuis will ‘step away from the game’ due to blood clots
Dupuis, 36, had played 18 games this season while taking blood thinners but experienced several recent medical incidents possibly related to his condition. He had to be removed from several games – most recently on December 1 at San Jose – and each time had to undergo a series of tests.
“Despite playing on a medical protocol that has worked for other players in the NHL, we feel that the risk of Pascal playing with his condition and the side effects of the tests to monitor him are just not in the best interest of his long-term health,” said Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, the Penguins’ team physician.
Dupuis called it a “very difficult decision” to “step away from the game,” but that his family is his “first priority, and playing with my condition has become a constant worry for all of us.”
Dupuis has played 871 NHL games and scored 190 goals during his career. He won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009.
Of note, this is not technically a retirement announcement. The Pens intend to place Dupuis on long-term injured reserve. He’s signed through next season for a cap hit of $3.75 million.
His playing career is effectively over, however.
Dupuis felt chest pains in San Jose last week. Played two more games. But he knew then he was done.