Tag: Jarome Iginla

Pekka Rinne

Could a goalie win the Hart Trophy in 2014-15?


When Jose Theodore won the Hart Trophy in 2002, the last time a goalie was the “player judged most valuable to his team,” there were two things that made it possible.

First, obviously, Theodore was really good. He had a .931 save percentage for the Montreal Canadiens and made a league-high 1,836 stops. Without their goalie, there’s very little chance the Habs, who were outshot by an average of 31.7 to 25.5, would’ve made the playoffs.

Second, scoring in the 2001-02 season had dipped to its lowest point in five decades. Calgary’s Jarome Iginla finished with the most points, just 96 of them.

Which brings us to the current season, where a similar story is unfolding. Two goalies, Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and Montreal’s Carey Price, are enjoying particularly excellent campaigns, while the league’s top scorer, Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek, is on pace for fewer than 100 points. Since the 2004-05 lockout, not counting the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, no player has finished as the NHL’s leading scorer with fewer than 100 points.

Rinne’s case for winning the Hart is strong. Finally healthy, his .930 save percentage is tops among goalies who’ve started at least 20 games, and his Nashville Predators, after missing the playoffs the past two seasons, currently sit first overall with a record of 28-9-4.

But Price’s case shouldn’t be overlooked. While his save percentage is slightly lower (.928) than Rinne’s, one could argue he’s been even more valuable to the 26-12-3 Canadiens, who, unlike the Preds, don’t regularly outshoot their opponents. Thanks in large part to Price, Montreal is 13-7-2 when it’s been outshot. In comparison, Nashville has only been outshot 16 times, going 8-4-4.

Half a season still remains, so there’s no point arguing too vehemently for one candidate over the other. Florida’s Roberto Luongo could also be in the conversation by the end of things, if he can help his Panthers into the playoffs.

Only seven times since the Hart Trophy was first handed out in 1924 has a goalie won the award. So far, the conditions are right to make it eight in 2015.

‘Hockey gods’ torment, then redeem Blue Jackets’ Savard

Chicago Blackhawks v Columbus Blue Jackets

If it weren’t for DeMarcus Lawrence of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard would have experienced the most dramatic up-and-down swing in sports on Sunday.

Just 30 seconds into the game, there was this brutal turnover by Savard, which helped Jarome Iginla give the Colorado Avalanche a 1-0 lead:

In a moment that almost seemed scripted, Savard scored the game-winning goal with about a minute remaining in the third period, giving Columbus a 4-3 win against Colorado:

It’s the kind of night that leaves you shaking your head in disbelief, as the 24-year-old noted to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.

“I’ve never had a night like that,” Savard said. “Not even close.”

For defenseman Jack Johnson – who helped Savard’s keep his spirits up – it was nothing short of some sort of sporting divine intervention.

“If I didn’t believe in the hockey gods before now, I definitely do,” Johnson said. “They’re real. I saw ’em.”

The hockey gods and football gods seemed determined to provide players with dramatic peaks and valleys today, it seems.

Lucic happy to get rough 2014 behind him


There were lots of people celebrating on New Year’s Eve. In a way Milan Lucic was among them, but not for the conventional reasons. By the sounds of it, he wasn’t in the mood to rejoice over the start of a new year so much as he was simply glad to be rid of the last one.

“It wasn’t a good 2014,” Lucic said, per the Boston Globe. “I’m happy it’s over. I’m looking forward to 2015 and hopefully we can turn things around.”

When 2014 start, the Boston Bruins were leading the Atlantic Division and seemed poised for another lengthy playoff run after making it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013. Instead they lost in seven games in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to the rival Montreal Canadiens and cap problems forced them to principally subtract over the summer. They entered the 2014-15 campaign without forwards Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton as well as defenseman Johnny Boychuk and those losses have taken their toll as the Bruins are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

This hasn’t been a particularly good stretch for Lucic either, who has made headlines over personal rivalries, but has just six goals and 18 points in 37 contests this season.

“Not much good things happened in 2014 for myself and for the team,” said Lucic. “Just looking forward to 2015 and turning things around, and hopefully it will be better than this year.”

Video: Varlamov, Avs blank Blues 5-0

Semyon Varlamov, John Tavares

Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was playing in his first game since Dec. 5, turned aside 26 shots, including 12 in the third period earning his second shutout of the season and 15th of his career as Colorado blanked the St. Louis Blues 5-0 Tuesday night.

Jarome Iginla led the way offensively with a goal and an assist.

Erik Johnson, Zach Redmond, Alex Tanguay and Ryan O’Reilly had the other Colorado goals.

St. Louis concluded its’ three-game road trip without a win (0-2-1). Colorado meanwhile has now won three straight heading into the Christmas break.

Jake Allen made 26 saves in the loss and was replaced by Martin Brodeur in the third.

Tuesday night was Colorado’s first win over St. Louis this season. The Blues now hold a 2-1-0 edge in the season series with two games remaining.

Related: Avs honor Stuart for 1,000th game

Get your game notes: Blues at Avalanche

Calvin Pickard, David Backes

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Colorado Avalanche hosting the St. Louis Blues at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Head-to-head: This is the 3rd of 5 meetings this season between these Central Division foes…

• Nov. 1: STL W 3-2 (SO) at home: Blues F Vladimir Tarasenko scored both goals in regulation before teammate F Joakim Lindstrom scored the game’s lone shootout goal.

• Dec. 13: STL W 3-2 (OT) at COL: Avalanche D Erik Johnson scored twice in regulation and G Calvin Pickard made 39 saves, but STL F T.J. Oshie scored in overtime to give the Blues a road win.

• STL and COL will play again on Dec. 29 in St. Louis – their 3rd matchup in a 17-day span.

• Overall, STL has won 6 of the last 7 games vs. COL, including 3 straight in Colorado at Pepsi Center.

• St. Louis finishing a road trip: The Blues are closing a 3-game trip tonight, and are looking for their first win (0-1-1). They have lost two straight after winning 5 in a row from Dec. 6 to Dec. 16…

• The Blues dropped a 6-4 contest in LA on Thurs. before losing 3-2 (OT) Sat. night in San Jose.

• St. Louis squandered a 3-0 lead to the Kings, and allowed the game-tying goal to the Sharks with 21 seconds remaining in regulation.

• The 9 goals given up in the past 2 games by STL are the most in any 2-game stretch this season. The last time the Blues gave up 9 goals in a 2-game span was last December, also in a pair of losses in SJ and LA.

• St. Louis has not lost 3 straight games all season.

• Colorado returns home: The Avs got 5 of a possible 6 points (2-0-1) on their recent 3-game Eastern-Conference road trip…

• Dec. 18: L 1-0 (OT) at PIT

• Dec. 20: W 5-1 at BUF

• Dec. 21: W 2-1 (SO) at DET

• COL is looking for its first 3-game win streak of the season.

• Overall, COL has points in 5 straight games (3-0-2).

• STL enters with the top power play in the NHL (25.4%).

• The Blues are 10-for-22 (45.5%) with the man-advantage over the last 7 games, including 4 games with 2+ power-play goals. The Blues are 5-1-1 in that stretch.

• COL will provide a stout penalty kill unit on the other side, ranking 7th in the NHL (85.8%).

• St. Louis (45 points) trails Central Division-leading Chicago by 3 points with a game in hand. Nashville (46 points) is also just ahead of the Blues in the division race.

• Colorado is the lone Central team without an above-.500 record. The Avs sit last in the division and 12th in the West.

• Through 33 games last season, the Avs were 22-10-1 (45 points) and sat 3rd in the Central Division.
This season, the Avs are well short of that mark with 32 points.


• F Vladimir Tarasenko leads the team in goals (20; T-2nd in NHL), points (37; T-6th in NHL), and plus/minus rating (+18; 3rd in NHL).

• Tarasenko needs one goal to tie his career high of 21, which he set last season in 64 GP.

• Tarasenko saw his 7-game point streak (6G-5A) snapped against SJ on Saturday.

• The Blues are 34-5-0 all-time in the regular season when Tarasenko scores a goal.

• Like Tarasenko, D Kevin Shattenkirk had a point streak snapped against SJ (2G-4A in 4-game streak).

• Shattenkirk is 2nd on the Blues in scoring (28 points), and that number is good for second among NHL d-men (Mark Giordano, CGY – 34 points).

• Shattenkirk’s 18 power play points (4G-14A) lead all NHL skaters.

• Colorado drafted Shattenkirk 14th overall in 2007, and in 2011 he was traded in a multi-player deal to
STL. The Blues gave up 2006 #1 overall pick D Erik Johnson in the deal.

• D Alex Pietrangelo, part of Canada’s gold-medal winning team in Sochi, leads STL in TOI/G (25:44 TOI/G).

• Pietrangelo has an active 7-game point streak (1G-6A). He had a career-high 9-gm point streak in Jan. 2012.

• F Jori Lehtera, who turns 27 today, has just 1 goal in his past 16 games. He is 4th on STL with 25 points.

• G Jake Allen and G Martin Brodeur have been sharing time since G Brian Elliott’s injury on Nov. 25.

• Brodeur is 2-2-0 in his 4 games with the Blues, and was in net for the 6-4 loss in LA on Thursday. Brodeur allowed 6 goals in the game, and has posted a 3.59 GAA and .882 SV% this season.

• Brodeur has never faced off against Colorado Head Coach Patrick Roy since Roy became a coach.
Brodeur did not play in either of the two Devils-Avalanche games last season.

• Brodeur (690 wins) and Roy (551 wins) are the two winningest goaltenders in NHL history.

• Allen is 3-0-1 in his past 4 starts, and has posted an overall record of 11-3-2 this season. Allen started in the overtime loss on Saturday vs. San Jose, and has a 2.49 GAA and .907 SV% this season.


• 35-year-old F Alex Tanguay leads COL in goals (11) and points (22) this season.

• Tanguay has only scored 20 goals in a season once since 2007-08 (22 in 2010-11), and he was limited to just 16 games last season due to a variety of injuries.

• Tanguay was a 1st round pick by COL in 1998, and while he has played for 3 other teams (CGY, MTL, TB), he is in his 8th season overall with the Avs.

• Tanguay has 43 points (10G-33A) in 44 career games vs. STL.

• F Jarome Iginla, signed to a 3-yr/$16M contract this offseason from Boston, ranks T-2nd on the team in points (21).

• Not including the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, the 37-year-old Iginla has totaled 30+ goals and 60+ points in each of the last 12 seasons.

• However, both his 7 goals and 21 points in 33 games are falling short of that pace so far this season.

• Iginla has 71 points (28G-43A) in 66 career games vs. STL (all but 1 point came w/ CGY).

• The Avs have had a top-3 overall pick 3 times in the past 6 seasons. Those 3 players – F Matt Duchene (3rd overall in 2009), captain F Gabriel Landeskog (2nd overall in 2011), and F Nathan MacKinnon (1st overall in 2013) are all tied with 20 points this season.

• Duchene has 10G-10A this season, but has been held without a point in 4 straight games.

• The last time he didn’t register a point in five straight games was a 7-game drought at the end of the 2011-12 season.

• MacKinnon, last season’s Calder Trophy winner (top rookie) with 63 points, has just 2 points in his last 9 games.

• D Tyson Barrie is T-2nd on the team in points (21), but has just 1 point in his last 7 games.

• D Erik Johnson has 8G-10A this season. He has goals in 2 straight games, and 4 goals in his last 4 games overall.

• Competition in the Avs net?

• Rookie G Calvin Pickard has started the past 6 games for Colorado, allowing just 10 goals in those games.

vIn that stretch, Pickard is 3-1-2 with a 1.61 GAA and .955 SV%.

• Pickard has allowed just 1 goal in each of his last 3 games.

• Pickard’s .939 SV% overall ranks 2nd in the NHL (Michael Hutchinson, WPG – .940 SV%).

• Pickard is seeing so much action because of G Semyon Varlamov’s groin injury, sustained Dec. 8 in practice.

• Varlamov has missed the last 6 games, but is expected to return and start tonight vs. STL.

• This season, the 2013-14 Vezina Trophy nominee has a 4-6-5 record with a 3.22 GAA and .909 SV%.

• Pickard (6 W in 13 GP) has played 2 fewer games than Varlamov (4 W in 15 GP) this season, but has 2 more wins.