Monday, October 16, 2017
If Kucherov can manage another goal when the Lightning travel to New Jersey tomorrow he'll become the first NHL player to score in his first seven games of the season since Mario Lemieux in 1992-93. "I'm just trying to help my team get a W," Kucherov said after the game. "I don't want to put much in my head--just try and stay loose and play the right way." Kucherov put the Lightning up 2-0 in the first when he wired a wrister from the left dot that whizzed past defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and goalie Jimmy Howard without either of them having a chance to react. The shot had so much mustard that it's difficult to track the puck even on slo-mo replay. "It's like a slingshot when he shoots it like that," Steven Stamkos said after the game. "That's why it catches defenders off-guard and it caught the goalie off-guard, because not too many guys can shoot it with that accuracy and velocity from that position." Kucherov's second of the game was an opportunistic tally. He found a clear lane to the net and swooped right in front of the goal mouth to tip a rolling rebound that came off the stick of his linemate Vladislav Namestikov. Right place, right time, and it put the Lightning (5-1-0) in front of Detroit to stay. Kucherov's line, with Stamkos and Namestikov, have been dominating possession thus far this season. They are a +31 in the shot attempts category with a CF% at 5-on-5 of 61.48. Only one line (Wennberg, Panarin and Atkinson of Columbus) has a higher 5-on-5 Corsi. In 2016-17 the Lightning had a disastrous season and were decimated by injuries, missing the playoffs just a season after coming one game from the Stanley Cup Final. But there is a very different vibe in Tampa this season. The team his healthy again. Steven Stamkos is back. Kucherov, who scored 40 goals last year to tie for second in the NHL, is even better. And the confidence is snowballing. "Definitely you want to have a good start and build the confidence," Kucherov reflected. "That's going to help us in mid-season and at the end of the season."
Goals since the beginning of 2016-17. Which of these players has a shot at reaching the vaunted 50 goals in 50 games? pic.twitter.com/7GeyLZC7zZ— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) October 17, 2017
Sunday, October 15, 2017
Saturday, October 14, 2017
ALSO OF NOTE TODAY IS THE FACT THAT MONTREAL HAS WON 14 IN A ROW OVER THE LEAFS! Yes, all caps works for that winning streak. 3. Rookie Leaders? If you guys know me you know that I look at the rookie scoring leaders every day. I don't know what it is--something about the excitement of new blood. Today we find that a pair of Devils are leading all rookies in points. And we're not talking about Nico Hischier. Will Butcher and Jesper Bratt lead all NHL rookies with six points. Here are the top seven point scorers among rookies.
The Habs tend to rely exclusively on Weber during the power play. That needs to change. Enter Drouin & Galchenyuk:https://t.co/RS5kLio6kq— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) October 12, 2017
4. Penalties galore 564 minor penalties have been handed out in the season's first nine days. 159 of them have been slashing calls. I don't know how to make sense of this but I am trying. Clearly, the NHL has been calling slashes like they are going out of style. Anaheim has taken 12 slashing minors and, strange as it may seem, the Kings have taken none. This has all happened in 64 games. So we are talking about 2.48 slashing minors per game. We'll monitor that and see if it starts to slide down, as many expect we'll be getting less of the nit-picky slashing calls as the season progresses. The Penguins currently lead the league with 27 minor penalties and the Hurricanes are best at staying out of the box--they've only received six minors. 5. Dustin Brown's Fountain of Youth: There are so many stories to tell in the first week or two of the NHL season, and nobody can possibly tell them all. And sometimes it's better to wait to see if what we have been witnessing is a mirage. What should we make of Dustin Brown's fast start with the Kings? He's third in points per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 (8.59 -- Kings fans will want to click on the table below and make it expand real big and clear), and he's poured in three goals and two assists in five games. Enjoy it while you can, Kings fans. Below find the top 10 points per 60 mins scorers at 5-on-5.
NHL rookie leaders, scoring, heading into Saturday's action (different look than last year) pic.twitter.com/WpJuypuKeF— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) October 14, 2017