Week two into the NHL season. Here we go . . .
#31 Detroit Red Wings (1-6-2, -19, LW: 31)
#30 Los Angeles Kings (2-5-1, -13, LW: 24)
The key to the Kings two Stanley Cup runs was ridiculously strong goaltending, particularly from Jonathan Quick. But this season the 33-year old Quick has just an .851 save percentage and a gaudy 4.66 GAA in his three starts. Overall the goaltending has been shaky, as the three Kings’ netminders have a combined .894 save percentage and only have four quality starts (a start in which a goaltender’s save percentage is above the league average or 88.5% for less than 20 shots against). I wonder if LeBron plays hockey . . .
#29 New York Rangers (2-5-1, -9, LW: 28)
#28 Arizona Coyotes (2-5-0, -6, LW: 30)
#27 St. Louis Blues (2-3-3, -4, LW: 27)
#26 Florida Panthers (1-2-3, -4, LW: 29)
#25 Dallas Stars (3-4-0, -2, LW: 20)
#24 Philadelphia Flyers (4-5-0, -6, LW: 22)
#23 New York Islanders (3-4-0, 0, LW: 16)
#22 Chicago Blackhawks (4-2-2, -2, LW: 15)
#21 Edmonton Oilers (3-3-0, -6, LW: 17)
#20 Vancouver Canucks (5-4-0, -2, LW: 5)
#19 Carolina Hurricanes (5-3-1, +3, LW: 8)
#18 Vegas Golden Knights (4-4-0, -3, LW: 25)
#17 Boston Bruins (4-2-2, +4, LW: 4)
#16 Columbus Blue Jackets (4-3-0, -3, LW: 11)
#15 Anaheim Ducks (5-3-1, +2, LW: 7)
#14 Buffalo Sabres (5-4-0, -3, LW: 18)
#13 Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1-2, 0, LW: 19)
#12 Washington Capitals (4-2-2, +4, LW: 21)
#11 Minnesota Wild (4-2-2, -2, LW: 23)
#10 San Jose Sharks (4-3-1, +5, LW: 26)
#9 Toronto Maple Leafs (6-3-0, +4, LW: 1)
#8 Ottawa Senators (4-2-1, +3, LW: 13)
#7 Montreal Canadiens (4-1-2, +5, LW: 9)
#6 New Jersey Devils (4-2-0, +8, LW: 2)
#5 Calgary Flames (5-3-0, +6, LW: 10)
The Calgary Flames are one of those teams I always kind of root for. They moved to Calgary from Atlanta after the 1980 season and proceeded to be a force in the Smythe Division. For those too young to remember the playoff format of the mid-80’s was similar to the current one, but instead of the wild cards the top four in each division made the playoffs. What this led to was each round being intense because the first two rounds were guaranteed rivalries since they were all in the same division. Calgary and Edmonton had the added advantage of being in the same province of Alberta, just three hours apart from each other. In 1989 – 30 seasons ago – they won their only Stanley Cup, which was the last time the Cup Finals was an all Canada affair. The 80’s also led to this gem of a video, and former executive Brian Burke is one of the most entertaining guys to listen to about just anything. Besides, the Dodgers are trying to kill a 30-year drought, why not the Flames?
#4 Tampa Bay Lightning (5-1-1, +10, LW: 6)
#3 Winnipeg Jets (6-2-1, +5, LW: 14)
#2 Colorado Avalanche (6-1-2, +13, LW: 11)
Nathan McKinnon was the first overall pick in 2013 and was the 2014 Calder Trophy winner as the league’s top rookie, registering 63 points for the Avalanche. After three years of declining play and the Avalanche missing out on the playoffs each time, McKinnon scored a career high 39 goals and 97 points as the Avalanche reached the playoffs as a wild card. This season they are off to a quick start and McKinnon has 15 points through nine games. Add in a young Mikko Rantanen who has 16 points and the Avalanche have now made the Central Division very contentious for those three playoff spots and both wild card spots.
#1 Nashville Predators (7-1-0, +12, LW: 3)
The defending President’s Trophy winners are already off to another strong start, winning seven of their first eight games. While the usual suspects have been at it on the offensive and defensive ends of the ice, a pleasant early surprise Juuse Saros in net. A fourth round pick from HPK Jr. in Finland, the youngster has a .945 save percentage and a 1.54 GAA in just under 200 minutes for the Predators. If the 23-year old can keep up similar production between the pipes Nashville could again represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.
This week, because it’s only the second week of the season I don’t have a new stat, but I want to request the league for this data. I want to know more about the results of board battles. I know the importance of them, but I want to know the impact better. Unfortunately, I’m stuck figuring out not just the NHL, but the NBA, the NFL, and MLB along with High School, WWE, MMA, etc. I’m sure the league could make this data available and I think it’s something valuable for fans as well as those who track league performances. I just wish I had more time to do it myself.
Until next week . . .