.961 — Jimmy 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.