It appears the Colorado Avalanche may have achieved ignition….going 6-4-0 in their last 10GP. Worth noting they are only 5 points out of the final wild card spot with a game in hand. The problem is that Minnesota, San Jose and Dallas are even closer.
The Vancouver Canucks have exceeded pretty much every expectation this season…including mine. Their success is based on FOUR scoring lines. Their normal 4th line of C Bo Horvat (4P in 10G), Shawn Matthias (7P) and Derrick Dorsett (8P) is certainly pulling its weight and rookie Horvat has an eye-popping 61.2% in the face off circle.
Speaking of the Canucks…a couple of weeks back I noted they were deficient in the 5V5 F/A metric…but now, going into todays game against the Red Wings, they sit at exactly 1.00…a massive improvement. Nashville is by far the best at outscoring at evens at…1.75 while Edmonton (0.64) and Columbus (0.54) are dreadful.
If Nashville ever gets their 26th ranked PP (12.2%) going, they should be all but unbeatable.
Remember the guy who was picked right after Sam Gagner in the 2007 NHL draft? I do. Jakub Voracek has 32 points in 23 games this season.
Wellwood Gagner has 9.
The Calgary Flames have 6 players with more points that Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.
There are 6 teams in the NHL that are scoring an average of 3 or more goals per game. Who would have thought that 4 of those 6 would be the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Calgary Flames, the New York Islanders and the Vancouver Canucks?
An article in USA Today caught my eye this morning:
In 1997-98, the New York Rangers led the NHL with 871 blocked shots and most teams had a total below 700. Last season, the Montreal Canadiens led with 1,491 blocked shots, an average of 18 a game. Four of the 30 teams blocked fewer than 1,000 shots.
I would hope the league is keeping a close eye on this as shot blocking has the potential to kill offence to a degree the game could become unwatchable. I would support a rule change that stipulates leaving your feet to block a shot results in a minor penalty.
Will Craig Berube be the first coach fired this season? I imagine so but there are several other candidates who are at least as deserving…Dallas Eakins and Todd Richards…come immediately to mind. The odds on bet before the season began was Randy Carlyle but he has his Leafs in a playoff position with a record of 6-3-1 in their last 10GP.