Sunday, October 29, 2017

Coyotes Waive Domingue as Losing Streak Hits 11

The Arizona Coyotes waived goaltender Louis Dominque on Sunday to make room for newly acquired goaltender Scott Wedgewood.

Domingue was pressed into starting duty when Antti Raanta suffered a muscle strain against Detroit on Oct. 12. Domingue went 0-6 with a 0856 save percentage and a 4.33 GAA for the Coyotes.

Raanta has played in just three games and only 90 minutes for the Coyotes. The 28-year-old Finn missed the team's season opener due to a lower body injury, then started and completed Arizona's next game, a 2-1 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. But Raanta was pulled after 6:15 in the Coyotes next game (a 5-3 loss to Vegas) after allowing three goals on five shots, and he was removed after one period of Arizona's Oct. 12 tilt with the Red Wings.

He has not played since.

It is believed that he might be fit enough to return for the Coyotes game at Philadelphia on Monday night.

It can't happen soon enough. The Coyotes tied the NHL record for most consecutive losses to start a season with their 4-3 loss at New Jersey on Saturday night at the Prudential center. The Coyotes minus-22 goal differential is the worst in the NHL and, according to Craig Morgan of AZ Sports, they have allowed a goal within two minutes of scoring one eleven times in eleven games.

Arizona sent a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft to acquire Wedgewood from New Jersey. The 25-year-old Wedgewood is 1-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .973 save percentage in the AHL. He has gone 51-36-9 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 110 games in the AHL, and made four starts for the Devils in the 2015-16 season, putting up a 1.24 GAA.

Domingue is eligible to be sent to the minors if he clears waivers.

Komarov Gets Away with Dirty Play, Gostisbehere Injured

Leo Komarov knocked Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere into the boards from behind during the second period of Philadelphia's 4-2 win at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and was not penalized on the play.

Gostisbehere played the rest of the second period, completing three more shifts, but did not return for the third. The defenseman remained on the ice after the hit and picked up an assist later in the shift on Valtteri Filppula's power play goal, which turned out to be the eventual game winner.

Gostisbehere's status for Monday's game against the Coyotes is unknown.

The 24-year-old has 13 points in 11 games this season for the Flyers.

Komarov didn't have much to say about the play after the game.

Here's another look at the play.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Kapanen, Leivo in for Leafs on Saturday

James van Riemsdyk and Matt Martin will sit due to nagging injuries on Saturday as the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Philadelphia Flyers at Air Canada Centre.

Kasperi Kapanen and Josh Leivo will make their season debuts.

The Leafs are hoping to change the tone of their week by responding to a lopsided 6-3 loss to Carolina on Thursday and the demands of head coach Mike Babcock, who railed the team and cut their Friday practice short after just 24 minutes.

"I set it up to go 30 minutes," Babcock said on Friday. "We are able to get what I wanted done in 24 or whatever, I didn't want anybody out there wasting any energy or fooling around--I want it at gametime."

The Leafs will play nine games in fifteen games starting tonight.

Mitch Marner will move back to the second line in Toronto, alongside Tyler Bozak and Patrick Marleau, while the Leafs will have a new look fourth line as well, with Kapanen and Leivo playing with Dominic Moore.

Marner has spent several games on the Leaf's fourth line this season. He has one goal, five assists, and is a minus-8 on the season.

Rest is surely a motivating factor in Babcock's decision to cut practice short, but his frustration with his team's compete level is a bigger reason. The Leafs have allowed 36 goals in ten games and have not been committed enough defensively. Their 3.6 goals allowed per game is sixth worst in the NHL.

"We disappointed ourselves, so obviously we had a little chat today," Babcock said on Saturday. "To me that's two times that this has happened and against New Jersey I felt we were like this. I felt that last night was totally unacceptable for us. Even though we got off to a real good start. ... lots of things have gone well, but if you want to be a real good team you can't let this stuff happen. So to me it's just up to us to decide and not accept being average."

Statisaction: The House Always Wins in Vegas

Statisfaction is your daily smorgasbord of NHL numbers. Fancy stats, counting numbers, streaks, and more. Enjoy.

1. Vegas Knows No Bounds

Let's hope, for the Vegas Golden Knights' sake, that what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas. The Golden Knights improved to 8-1-0 on Friday with a 7-0 drubbing of the Avalanche. They've won seven in a row at home, but they'll be tested--their next six are on the road.

Before that road trip happens (they play the Isles in Brooklyn on Monday), let's look at how remarkable the start to the Golden Knights season has been, compared to the last nine NHL expansion teams. Vegas is the only team to have a plus-.500 record in their first nine games, and most of the nine teams were already headed to dismal seasons.

Will the Golden Knights buck the trend and finish the season as the best NHL expansion team of all time?

2. Will Butcher's Fast Start Continues

College free agents get so much hype over the summer, and a lot of times things don't quite pan out once players sign and get into the league. But man, Will Butcher is taking advantage of a void on the New Jersey blue line and emerging as one of the premier power play QBs in this young season. He leads all rookies in assists with 10 in nine games and he's second (tied with two others) in the NHL in power play points with six. Is Butcher this year's Zach Werenski?

3. Chris Stewart is on fire in Minnesota

Chris Stewart had 13 goals in 78 games last season. This year he's already posted six talies in eight games. Of all NHL skaters with at least 50 minutes of ice time, Stewart possesses the highest on-ice team shooting percentage. The Wild are shooting at 20.41 percent when Stewart is on the ice at 5-on-5.

Here are top NHL players in that category. Nice to see Josh Ho-Sang on that list, even though he's been sent down to the minors.

4. Stars Firing on the PP

The Dallas Stars ranked 20th in power play percentage last season. This season they are rolling on the PP, coming in at a 32.4 percent that includes 8 power play goals on the road (44.4 percent in six road games).

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin each have three power play markers for Dallas, which is 6-5-0 through their first 11 games. Alexander Radulov and Esa Lindell have two PP goals each.

5. Edmonton headed for a breakout?

According to Corsica Hockey's expected goal model, the Edmonton Oilers are a much better offensive team than their 1.94 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 leads us to believe. Edmonton's expected goals per 60 minutes, which is based on shot quality, is 2.94 per 60, second to only Toronto's 3.23.

The Oilers are also the NHL's top 5-on-5 possession team with a CF% of 57.45. The bad news for the Oilers is that they are 3-5-1 and they have a minus-9 goal differential at all phases.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that the Oilers own the NHL's worst penalty kill heading into Saturday's games:

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Ducks' Fowler to Miss 4 to 8 Weeks with Knee Injury

The injuries keep biting the Anaheim Ducks. And this time it's another of the team's many star defenders.

The club announced on Friday that defenseman Cam Fowler will miss four to eight weeks with a knee injury. Fowler, who signed an eight-year, $52 million deal this offseason, injured the knee last Friday in a win over the Canadiens.

Fowler is the club's leader in average time on ice per game (22:43), and had two points in seven contests at the time of the injury.

Fortunately for the Ducks, Hampus Lindholm returned to the lineup earlier this week after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. The Ducks are also hopeful that Sami Vatanen (also offseason shoulder surgery) will be ready to return in the next week. Vatanen is reportedly very close.

Defenseman Kevin Bieksa is also missing time for the Ducks. He injured his left hand during Tuesday's win over the Flyers and will be re-evaluated on Monday.

Through all the chaos Anaheim has managed to keep its head above water in the West--they've gone 4-4-1 in their first nine games.

Statisfaction: Kucherov, Stamkos Streaking, Habs Sinking

Statisfaction is your daily smorgasbord of NHL numbers. Fancy stats, counting numbers, streaks, and more. Enjoy.

1. Bolts Brand of Thunder

There's a lot to talk about in Tampa. The team is atop the NHL standings at 9-1-1 with 19 points, and Andrey Vasilevsky leads the NHL in wins and has put up a very stellar .936 save percentage through his ten starts. But let's be honest here. All conversations about Tampa (sorry Mikhail Sergachev) begin and end with Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos right now.

According to Elias, Kucherov and Stamkos are just the seventh set of teammates to simultaneously begin a season with an 11-game point streak since 1973-1974. They are also tied with Martin St. Louis for the Lightning record for most consecutive games with points to start a season.

St. Louis achieved the feat in 2009-2010, scoring 15 points in 11 games in the month of October. He would finish the season with 94 points, a nice haul but it really seems like both Kucherov and Stamkos are headed for 100 or more. Stamkos is averaging 1.93 points per game through 11 games; Kucherov is averaging 1.73.

Which guy do you cover when they are both on the ice together?

2. Thornton Cracks a Milestone

Joe Thornton has tied Jari Kurri for 20th on the NHL's all-time scoring list. We had jumbo doing that the other night against the Rangers but he was docked an assist by the official scorer. Well, it didn't take him long to pick up another point. He scored his second of the year in Boston last night during San Jose's 2-1 loss. Interestingly, Thornton has now scored in his last four games at Boston. In all his time spent with the Bruins (7-plus seasons), he had never scored in four games in a row at Boston.

3. Montreal's Woes Continue

Shooting below four percent in ten games? That's pretty difficult to do, but this year's Canadians keep providing fans with unpleasant surprises. They put up 40 shots on Jonathan Quick last night at Bell Centre, but could not ripple the twine. But the lack of goal production is not even the real kicker in Montreal. What's really mind-boggling is that the club has the NHL's lowest 5-on-5 save percentage of .8875. How in the world can that happen to a team with Carey Price in goal?

What's really crazy is that Price has had a sub-.900 save percentage in six of his last eight starts. He only had a sub-.900 in 16 of 62 starts last season. What can go wrong is going wrong in Montreal.

According to Corsica, the Habs are the NHL's fourth-best possession team at 5-on-5 with a CF% of 54.23. But they've been trailing in a lot of games--adjust it for score and it comes down to 51.85--ninth in the NHL at 5-on-5.

4. Rookie Watch: Keller's Scoring in Bunches

Clayton Keller is a shining beacon of light in an the otherwise drab universe known as the Arizona Coyotes. The Yotes dropped to 0-9-1 last night with a loss to the Rangers at MSG, but 19-year-old has four goals and seven points in his last four games and leads all NHL rookies in goals and points.

Here are the top 10 rookie scorers through Thursday's games, for your perusal:

5. Isles PP is still a negative

Well, this is just atrocious. I mean, we're talking about a relatively small sample size, but through 10 games the New York Islanders are a minus-3 on the power play. They've had 33 power plays, have scored two power play goals, and allowed FIVE shorties. Maybe they should consider declining? Buffalo is another team that has been absolutely pathetic on the PP. They have five power play goals and have allowed SIX shorties.

EXTRA TIME: Frederik Anderson's .893 save percentage is the fifth worst in the NHL among goalies with five or more starts... Derek Dorsett leads the Canucks with six goals. His previous career-high was 12 in 2011-2012... Montreal and Nashville are tied with a league-worst 10 5-on-5 goals. On the other side of the spectrum is Toronto, with 28... The Tampa Bay Lightning have sold out 113 consecutive games at Amalie Arena... Tampa leads the NHL with a 106.12 PDO, all phases... The Coyotes will go for a season-starting record of futility on Saturday at New Jersey. If they lose they'll become the first team since the 1943-44 New York Rangers to open the season with 11 straight losses.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Phil Kessel Scores Another OT Winner, His 300th Career Goal

Watch out for Phil Kessel in overtime. The Penguins sniper, and hot dog lover, scored in overtime for the second consecutive game to give the Penguins a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets at PPG Paints Arena. The goal was Kessel's 300th--he is 17th among active players and he became the second active American-born player to crack the 300-goal mark.

Much maligned for his conditioning, Kessel drew rave reviews about it from his coach Mike Sullivan after the game.

"He has a knack to score big goals at key times," head coach Mike Sullivan said, according to "What was impressive about the goal tonight was that he was at a dead stop when he picked that pass off. He created enough separation to get a really good shot off. That's a testament to Phil's work ethic throughout the course of training camp. Phil's in as good of shape as he's been as a Penguin. That's a credit to him to create that separation."

Pittsburgh improves to 7-3-1 with the win, while Winnipeg drops to 4-3-1.

Arizona is One Loss from Tying a 73-Year-Old Futility Record

There aren't a lot of silver linings in the black cloud that has held sway over the Arizona Coyotes in their first ten games of the season, but there are a few. Clayton Keller is looking like a bona fide elite talent. That's one. The other? October is almost over.

Okay, now for the bad news. The Coyotes are bad, and by the end of the month they might be historically bad. After Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden the Coyotes dropped to 0-9-1, just one loss shy of the all-time record for futility at the start of the season, set by the Rangers in 1943-44.

There's not a lot of positives there right now for the Coyotes, but the fact that this team cannot buy a win does not undo many of the positive gains made by the club in the offseason. GM John Chayka bolstered this club on defense and at the center position, making trades for Derek Stepan, Niklas Hjalmarrson, Jason Demers and Antti Raanta. The team has yet to gel and a lot of that might boil down to a lack of goaltending and the fact that this team is full of inexperienced talent that, frankly, has not learned how to win at the NHL level.

But there's no way to sugarcoat ten losses in ten games. New coach Rick Tocchet has failed miserably, and confidence is at the floor for a team that entered the season tabbed as a potential success story.

Arizona's minus-21 goal differential is the worst in the NHL, and they've been doubled up at even strength, scoring 15 goals but allowing 30. A lot of the doom and gloom has to do with the fact that Raanta has been injured and Louis Domingue and Adin Hill have been really bad in net. The Coyotes own the NHL's worst 5-on-5 save percentage of .888 and they also possess the NHL's second-worst 5-on-5 PDO (save percentage plus shooting percentage) of .951.

Mike Smith is most certainly missed.

And Shane Doan, he may have not been so useless after all.

They've been bad, and they've been unlucky, and there is no worse combination in hockey.

So, where do they go from here? Back on the horse and off to New Jersey, where an upstart Devils squad will be itching to hand Arizona another dispiriting loss. Such is life in the NHL. If there's any good news besides the play of Keller, who leads all NHL rookies with seven goals and 11 points (never mind that minus-11), it's that what does not kill a team will only make it stronger.

The Coyotes are not as bad as they appear to be right now, and as hard as it is to comprehend, they are better than they were last year. For whatever reason they are spinning out of control and unable to win a hockey game, but when things settle down and this team finally rights itself, there will be hope.

They just need to weather this storm and find ways to grow through the pain.

Nikita Kucherov Now Has 12 Goals in 11 Games

The party continues in Tampa.

Nikita Kucherov netted a power play late in the first period of the Lightning-Red Wings game to notch his 12th goal of the season--in his 11th game.

The 24-year-old now has 18 points in 11 games for the Bolts. He extends his season-opening points streak to 11, matching a franchise record.

Kalle Kossila Gets First NHL Goal

The Anaheim Ducks have been decimated by injuries this month, and that is giving some new faces a chance to play a role. Tonight, 24-year-old Kalle Kossila has jumped into the mix, scoring his first NHL goal in just his third career game for the Ducks.

The former St. Clould State Huskie was a strong player for AHL San Diego last season, chipping in 48 points in 65 games and another six in ten playoff games for the Gulls.

Kossila made his 2017-18 debut for the Ducks on Tuesday, and he notched an assist in Anaheim's 6-2 win over the Flyers.

Owen Tippett Scores First Career Goal for Panthers

A tip in for Tippett.

18-year-old Owen Tippett scored his first NHL on Thursday night at BB&T Center. Tippett was drafted No.10 in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and is known for his booming shot, thought to be the best among his draft class.

He played his season opener on Oct. 17, putting seven shots on net with 12 attempted shots, and was called the best player on the ice by Panthers head coach Bob Boughner.

Tippett put up 44 goals in 60 games for the OHL's Mississauga Steelheads in juniors last season.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

As Sharks Search for Identity, Couture Leads Way

The ghost of Patrick Marleau will linger in San Jose until the Sharks can prove that they've adequately replace the man that scored 508 goals in teal. That's no small task, but Logan Couture is doing everything in his power to make Sharks fans forget this October. The 28-year-old's seven goals and ten points through eight games has paced the Sharks and helped them get back to .500 after a slow start.

A big part of Couture's success has been Peter DeBoer's decision to move Tomas Hertl to Couture's wing after the Czech had a brief run as the team's third-line center to start the season.

Couture, Hertl and Melker Karlsson have formed the Sharks most dynamic line over the last five games with the trio putting up a 5-on-5 Corsi percentage of 63.21 and scoring four goals while allowing just one while on the ice at evens.

Couture has nothing but praise for Hertl's play thus far and hopes that he'll stay with the winger.

“He’s big. He’s strong. He’s skilled. He reminds me of Patty without that top-end speed the way he holds onto pucks,” He told Paul Gackle of the San Jose Mercury news last week. “He’s very, very easy to play with. I’ve enjoyed it so, hopefully, we can continue to play together.”

After a dismal, injury-riddled 2016-17 season (22 points in 49 games, ack!), Hertl has a clean bill of health to go with five points through eight games. Everybody in San Jose has been aware of his vast potential as a power forward, but it hasn't been on display when Hertl has not been paired with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton on the top line. Maybe this year, with Couture having a step-up season as his center, is the year that Hertl becomes a force for the Sharks.

The Sharks need step-up seasons from a lot of players if they hope to contend for more than just a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Marleau's 27 goals--you'll hear a lot about those goals all season long, and particularly leading up to Marleau's first game in San Jose as Maple Leaf, which comes on October 30--need to be replaced, the power play needs to be revamped (thus far it looks good), and several players that disappointed last season (Joonas Donskoi, Mikkel Boedker, Hertl) need to find ways to move the needle on a roster that has a lot of depth but no true elite scorer up front.

Joe Thornton is 20th all-time in scoring in the NHL, but at 38, he's not what he used to be.

That's why Couture's fast start is such good news for a Sharks team that hasn't gotten huge contributions from its young guns either. Timo Meier is still figuring out how to be effective at the NHL level and Kevin Labanc is long on promise but short on the type of consistency and grit he'll need to one day become a thirty-goal scorer.

And speaking of Hertl, there's another reason his success with Couture is so important. If Hertl falters and forces DeBoer to slide him onto the top line with the two Joes, where does Labanc go? San Jose needs Labanc to get to the next level and it's difficult to see him doing that without top six minutes and world-class playmakers at this phase of his career.

For now, Hertl and Couture are the engine in San Jose. And the longer they keep it up the more likely the rest of the offense follows suit and clicks into place.

Vegas Shopping Vadim Shipachyov

This summer, the Vegas Golden Knights dipped into the free agent market to lock up the KHL's third-leading scorer last season.

Now they don't want him.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports that the club has given Shipachyov's agent permission to shop for deals for the center. The Russian inkded a two-year, $9 million deal but began the season in the minors. He was called up and scored his first NHL goal in his debut but Shipachyov was sent down to the AHL again on Tuesday to make room for the return of Jonathan Marchessault.

Originally pencilled in as the team's No.1 center, the 30-year-old is an extremely gifted playmaker who is having trouble adjusting the the NHL-style of game. He could be a great asset for a team in need of scoring and/or help on the power play.

But he comes with a pretty hefty cap hit and some baggage from his first NHL experience in Vegas. Reportedly Montreal GM was apprached by Vegas GM George McPhee about Shipachyov, but he's not biting.

Stay tuned.

Statisfaction: 19 50-Goal Scorers?

Statisfaction is your daily smorgasbord of NHL numbers. Fancy stats, counting numbers, streaks, and more. Enjoy.

1. 19 50 goal scorers?

Just counted them up on Natural Stat Trick. 19 players are currently on pace to score 50 this season. That's crazy. We get that there's a small sample size thing happening here, but it's still pretty cool to imagine 19 guys scoring 50, isn't it? The early season crackdown on slashing has clearly made a difference. How many will score 50 when it's all said and done? We say four--Kucherov, Ovechkin, Pastrnak and Matthews.

2. Matthews Line Perfect Thus Far

It's true. The trio of Auston Matthews/ William Nylander and Zack Hyman have yet to be scored upon at even strength, per Corsica. That's not bad at all, last we checked. They've scored six at evens and allowed zero.

Toronto is tied with Tampa for most 5-on-5 goals in the NHL thus far. They each have 25, while struggling Edmonton is lowest in the NHL--they have only has nine.

3. Tampa also leads the NHL in Power Play Goals

The Bolts rank 12th in the NHL in power play time, but they top the league with 12 power play tallies. Tampa has a 17.39 shooting percentage on the power play, which ranks fifth. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestikov and Tyler Johnson are all timed for the team lead with two power play goals in Tampa.

4. McDavid's Bad Luck?

All the possession stats point to a vastly more effective Connor McDavid in Edmonton through 8 games this season. His Corsi at 5-on-5 is 63.38 compared to 53.07 last season. His on-ice percentage of scoring chances for is 64.97 compared to 53.80 last season, and his on-ice percentage of shots on goal is 62.5 percent compared to 53.99 last season.

But Edmonton's on-ice shooting percentage (5.83 vs. 10.55 last year) is way down, as is McDavid's on-ice percentage of 5-on-5 goals (46.15 this year compared to 62.10 last season). PDO also proves that he's having bad luck. His on-ice PDO is 94.7 compared to 103 last season.

And through all of it McDavid has nine points in eight games--remarkable.

5. Speaking of on-ice PDO's...

For those who need a refresher, a PDO is shooting percentage plus save percentage, and an on-ice PDO would be a team's shooting percentage plus save percentage when that player is on the ice. So far this year, Auston Matthews it the king of the on-ice PDO.

See you tomorrow with more Statisfaction!

Welcome to the K, Boris Sadecky

As far as first goals go, this is tremendous and yeah, as good as it gets. Check out the speed and trickery of Boris Sadecky, who races into the zone and does not hesitate when it comes time to make his move.

The Slovakian is in his first season with KHL Bratislava. This was his first goal in 25 games this season. Lokomotiv won the game, 3-2.

Josh Ho-Sang Sent to Bridgeport by Isles

So much for the Calder Trophy.

The New York Islanders have sent promising rookie Josh Ho-Sang down to Bridgeport. Ho-Sang, heralded as a big part of New York's youth movement this season, had been a healthy scratch in the last two games for the Islanders.

He has four assists in six games for the Islanders but has only registered six shots on goal. With blazing speed and the rare ability to carry the puck through traffic in the neutral zone, Ho-Sang is a valuable offensive weapon. But his decision making suffers under pressure, as it did in a game against the Kings on October 15 where an offensive zone giveaway led to the game-winning shorthanded goal for the Kings.

Justin Schultz to Miss Time with Concussion

Defenseman Justin Schultz will miss time due to a concussion suffered during Tuesday's 2-1 overtime win over the Oilers.

Schultz took an errant elbow from Drake Caggiula late in the first period. The defenseman had a banner 2016-17 season for the Pens, scoring 51 points and finishing the season at plus-27. Thus far this year he has 3 points in ten games.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said that the defenseman is still being evaluated. He did not skate during the team's practice today.

Defenseman Matt Hunwick, who suffered a concussion on October 16, skated in a non-contact jersey on Wednesday.

The Penguins have been dealing with their share of injuries thus far. Carter Rowney fractured his hand on Saturday at Tampa Bay and will miss a month.

Despite the issues the Penguins lead the Metropolitan Division with 13 points (6-3-1) in ten games.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

John Tavares Completes His 7th Career Hat Trick

John Tavares scored his 7th career hat trick for the New York Islanders during Tuesday night's 5-3 win over the Coyotes at Barclays Center. The Isles star center deflected an Adam Pelech shot pass past Louis Domingue to give New York a 4-3 third period lead over the still winless Coyotes.

Tavares has now notched back-to-back three point games and has tallied nine points on the season for New York. He scored the Islanders first goal of the game at 3:41 of the second period to tie the game at one, then scored New York's second goal at 14:25 to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead.

Tavares is now tied with Islanders legend Pat LaFontaine for 4th on the franchise's all-time list.

His hat trick is the 10th in the NHL this season. Alexander Ovechkin is the only player to have notched multiple hatties. Eight other players have one.

Nolan Patrick Leaves Game After Suffering Head Injury

No.2 overall pick Nolan Patrick has left tonight's Flyers-Ducks game at Wells Fargo Center after being hit hard into the glass by Anaheim's Chris Wagner. Patrick left the game with help from a trainers and went straight to the dressing room. There's more GIFs of the play and aftermath at Sons of Penn.

The 19-year-old has three points and is a plus-3 in eight games for the Flyers thus far in 2017-18. Patrick has spent most of his ice time on a line with Travis Konecny and Dale Weise, and he's getting some power play time as well.

Now he might be missing some time.

Panthers Claim Niemi off Waivers

Antti Niemi has been absolutely putrid in three games with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Time for a change of scenery?

Whether it is or not, Niemi is in a new uniform today after being claimed off of waivers by the Florida Panthers. Niemi was 0-3 in three starts for the Penguins with a 7.50 GAA and a .797 save percentage with the Penguins. After eight straight seasons of save percentages over .900, Niemi dipped to .892 in Dallas last year, going 12-12-4 with a 3.30 GAA.

The Panthers likely want to the former Stanley Cup winner to replace Roberto Luongo, who went down with an upper body injury last Friday in Pittsburgh. James Reimer is Florida's No.1 goalie with Luongo out.

The move to claim Niemi could mean that Luongo's injury could take some time.

“Antti is a proven veteran who further stabilizes our organization’s goaltending depth,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a statement, according to the Florida Sun Sentinel. “We’re happy to welcome him to South Florida.”

The Capitals will be without Andre Burakowsky for six to eight weeks. Injured during Saturday's loss to Florida, it was revealed on Tuesday that the winger had surgery on his left thumb on Tuesday.

Burakowsky started the season on the Capitals' second line and he's averaging 15;45 of ice time per game. After a 35-point season in 2016-17 he was rewarded with a two-year, $6 million contract. He missed 15 games with a broken right hand last season and only played 64 games.

The 22-year-old has four points in nine games with 15 shots on net. At times Burakovsky's line, which includes Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie has been dominant for Washington. They have put up a 56.77 5-on-5 CF% with four goals allowed and just one against, per Corsica.

Still Big Problems with NHL's Concussion Protocol

The NHL came under some fire when, on October 13th, Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't removed from a game in which it was likely that he suffered a head injury. Fleury took a knee to the head from Detroit's Anthony Mantha and lay on the ice before getting to his knees, buckled over in pain. A trainer went out and spoke with Fleury at length and he was deemed good to go for the rest of the game. Ten days later he's still out of the lineup with what was ruled a concussion--he was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 15.

The incident was clear proof that the NHL's independent "central spotters" need to do a better job of intervening when a player is in distress because the team's trainers clearly have serious issues taking a player off the ice while a team is in the heat of battle.

And it's not just the teams--it's the players themselves.

The NHL employs central spotter spotters with the hope that they can overrule in delicate situations where clubs might be tempted to skip concussion protocols and let their players play on despite danger of further injury. Here's what they are tasked with doing: “Central League Spotters” will be certified Athletic Trainers/Therapists with hockey expertise," according the NHL. "Central League Spotters will observe games from the NHL Offices via live game broadcast using multiple feeds."

The NHL specifically states this in their concussion evaluation and management protocol document.

"Removal and evaluation of a Player will be required if the Central League Spotter determines that a mandatory evaluation is warranted, even if the In-Arena League Spotter and/or Club personnel disagree that a visible sign or a mechanism of injury has occurred or been exhibited."

But last night things got confusing once again. When Kings' goalie Jonathan Quick was injured by a blow to the head by his own defenseman Derek Forbort during Toronto's 3-2 win over the Kings at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the goalie went down on the ice and held his head. He quickly shot up and appeared to be okay, and play went on. About two minutes later (entirely too much time, btw), Quick was pulled off the ice by orders from a central spotter, but the spotter quickly reversed course, saying that they had seen further video that made them believe that a full concussion test would not be required due to the nature of the blow to Quick's head.

So Quick was ushered back on the ice with out ever seeing a concussion expert before he was told by the on-ice referee that he would be required to miss one shift due to the fact that he left the ice for injury.

Sound confusing? I'm getting confused as I type this report.

To make a long story short, it was made very clear that the Kings, all the way from coach down to injured player, did not want to submit to the protocol due to their percieved belief that Quick was fine and that his role in the game was too important (here's Kings' coach John Stevens on the incident, via Kings Insider Jon Rosen). And here lies the issue. The concussion program is for the players' own good, but even the players don't appear to want the help. And if they are going to resist with such vehemence, then it would behoove the central spotters to stand firm and not hem and haw when a decision is being made to preserve the health of an athlete in jeopardy.

Here's video of how it all went down last night. Very bush league stuff:

With that said, the league did a better job on the Quick injury than they did with Fleury, so at least there is some progress being made. The central spotters need to be judicious, yes, but clearly they also need to be decisive and weild the power that the league has given them. The Kings were griping about losing Quick for the final minute of a period. How many shots would he have faced? League averages say one. Was it really that important, more important than ensuring a clean bill of health?

The NHL has said they are not going to release an official statement on the matter, so here is the most we will get. It comes from communcation with the league from the ever vigilant John Shannon. The statement shows the type of confusion the central spotters were going through about this call. It's not confidence inspiring. They need to react quicker, know the protocols better, and just get on with it. It's not a good look for a league that is facing a major concussion lawsuit from former players.

Mikhail Sergachev Is Sticking Around in Tampa

It looks like the Mikhail Sergachev for Jonathan Drouin trade is paying big dividends for Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The club announced that the rookie defenseman will play his tenth game of the season on Tuesday in Carolina, thus burning a year of his entry level contract.

More important, Sergachev is quickly becoming an integral part of the defense for a Cup contending team in Tampa.

Here's what Bolts head coach Jon Cooper had to say about Sergachev this morning, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.

"You're looking for 'Has there been improvement? Is he adapting to the game, the speed of the game, the physicality?' He's done all that. ... When you watch a player like that continue to improve, especially at a young age, looking at the ceiling he has, which is really high right now, it's pretty hard to make a change. He's had a positive impact on our team. He's a part of a team, and that's how it's going to be moving forward."

Sergachev has eight points in nine games for the Lightning, and he's tied for second in rookie points, but he's still a work in progress. He's been a negative possession player in his 66-plus minutes with Anton Stralman. The pair have a 5-on-5 Corsi of 45.69 and have been on the ice for four goals for and two against at 5-on-5. He is not getting any power play time yet but has played a significant role on the team's penalty kill.

Sergachev knows that he'll need to keep improving if he wants to remain with the Bolts for the remainder of the season. If he plays forty games Montreal will no longer be required to send Tampa a second-round pick as part of last summer's trade that brought Sergachev to Tampa.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tim Heed Scores First NHL Goal for Sharks

One of the more pleasant surprises in San Jose over the course of the first two-plus weeks of the season has been the stellar play of rookie defensemen Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan. Those two d-man combined for 105 points for AHL San Jose last season (Heed was 14-42-56 in 55 games for the Barracuda), and Heed originally made the Sharks out of camp as the 7th defenseman.

But since Paul Martin suffered a setback to his ankle injury Heed has stepped in and played very strongly for San Jose. Through five games he's been a part of a positive possession pairing with Brenden Dillon. The tandem has produced a 5-on-5 Corsi of 58.7, and Heed has also stepped into the top unit on the power play, playing alongside Brent Burns.

The 26-year-old Swede had two assists through his first five games and he added his first goal tonight with a seeing-eye, sharp angle drive that got past Henrik Lundqvist to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead in the first.

Patrick Eaves Diagnosed with Guilliain-Barre Syndrome, Expects to Return

Anaheim Ducks winger Patrick Eaves has been diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome--a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves. The 33-year-old has not played since October 13, and according to Ducks' beat writer Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register he has been in a Newport Beach hospital since last week. According to Stephens, Eaves was diagnosed early and is out of ICU.

Eaves is expected to make a full recovery.

"I'm determined to overcome this and return to the ice as soon as possible," Eaves wrote in a statement.

According to the Mayo Clinic there is no known cure for Guillain Barre Syndrome. Most people recover, but some suffer lingering effects such as fatigue, numbness or weakness.

Jagr to Miss a Week with Lower Body Injury

Jaromir Jagr is set to miss about a week with what the club is calling a soft tissue injury to his lower body. He injured himself on Saturday night during the Flames 4-2 loss to the Wild and he'll be replaced on the roster by forward Mark Jankowski.

The 45-year-old, who signed a one-year deal with the Flames on October 2nd and is still working himself back into shape, has played five games for Calgary and amassed two points. He's a plus-1 with nine shots on goal. Whether playing with Kris Versteeg or Sam Bennett, or Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, Jagr has been a plus possession player.

Possession stats below are via Corsica.

Ovechkin Injured in Practice but Reportedly Okay

When you are the NHL's goal scoring leader you don't get to skip 2-on-2 battle drills in practice. Hmmm, maybe head coach Barry Trotz might want to rethink that?

Ovechkin, who has 10 goals in nine games for the Caps, reportedly left the ice limping on Monday at the team's practice facility. According to Russian Machine Never Breaks, Ovechkin had to be helped off the ice before limping under his own power to the dressing room.

The 32-year-old sniper looked to be feeling better when he showed up for a canine calendar shoot after practice.

Washington is 4-4-1 after a 4-1 loss to the Panthers on Saturday. They'll visit the Canucks on Thursday.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

William Karlsson Scores Overtime Winner for Vegas

William Karlsson's OT winner gave the Vegas Golden Knights their third overtime win of the season and improved the franchise's record to 6-1-0.

The Golden Knights are the first expansion team in NHL history to win six if their first seven games.

Vegas lost goalie Malcolm Subban to injury in the third period and squandered a 2-1 lead, but Karlsson's 1st of the season at 4:36 of the extra session gave the Golden Knights their fourth win at home in five games.

They'll face the Blackhawks next, on Oct. 24 in Chicago.

The Kings Are off to their Best Start Ever

One of the biggest surprises in the first month of the 2017-18 NHL season kept rolling on Saturday night. And they are the NHL's only team without a regulation loss.

The L.A. Kings improved to 6-0-1 with a 6-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at First Nationwide Arena, matching the best start in Franchise history. Not since 1995-96 have the Kings made it throug their first seven games of the season without a regulation loss, and this year's team is the first in franchise history to win six of its first seven games.

There has been a lot to get excited about in Los Angeles this season, but nothing matches the fast start of Anze Kopitar. The Slovenian superstar was held to 12 goals last season and surrounded by doubts about his future. In just seven games this season, he's already half way to matching that title--Kopitar scored the game-winner on Saturday and now has six goals in seven games.

32-year-old Dustin Brown, long considered to be the deadest of the dead weight contracts in L.A., has also surged to life. He has five goals through seven games after chipping in just 14 last season. Brown has played a key role on a line with Kopitar and rookie Alex Iafallo for the Kings. The trio has a 5-on-5 Corsi Percentage of 56.85 and they have scored 7 goals while giving up just two at 5-on-5.

Bobby Ryan Will Miss a Month Due to Another Broken Finger

Ottawa Senators sniper Bobby Ryan will miss time due to a broken finger suffered in his team's 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs on Friday at Canadian Tire Center. And by time we are talking about a month. It's a shame, because the 30-year-old was in good form this season. He has six assists in eight games and was a plus-8 for the Sens.

Here's Elliotte Friedman's tweet about the topic.

It looks like it happened here:

It's not the first time Ryan has had hand problems.

The good news is the Senators notched a 6-3 win over Toronto to improve to 4-1-3 on the season.

Nikita Kucherov Scores His Tenth Goal in his Ninth Game

Nikita Kucherov is now averaging more than a goal a game after his second tally of the night in Tampa.

And he's tied with Alexander Ovechkin for the league lead.

And the Bolts are absolutely crucifying the Penguins at Amalie Arena, leading 6-0 after two.

In other hockey news, Antti Niemi is having a miserable year--he's stopped just 23 of 29 shots tonight for the Pens.

Josh Bailey Scores One of the Sickest Goals You'll Ever See

Anybody who watches Josh Bailey on a nightly basis knows what a sick set of mitts he has. For those of you who don't, and those of you who missed this beauty from tonight's Isles-Sharks game in Brooklyn: FEAST YOUR EYES.
Another look:

It impressed his teammate Josh Ho-Sang as well, and given the skills of Ho-Sang, that's saying something.

If you're scoring at home, the Isles and Sharks are tied at 2 after two.

Lundqvist Ties Hall on NHL All-Time Win List With 409

Hail the King.

Henrik Lundqvist notched his 409th career today at Madison Square Garden, guiding the Rangers to a much-needed 4-2 win over the Predators.

The victory ties Lundqvist with legend Glenn Hall on the NHL all-time win list.

It's no secret that the Rangers haven't been up to snuff this season and today's win, which brings the team to a still dismal 2-5-2 record, is a huge step in the right direction. They battled last year's Western Conference champions and protected a 3-2 lead after two periods.

Nikita Kucherov Now Has Nine Goals in Game Nine Games

Nine games. Nine goals.

Nikitia Kucherov has maintained his goal a game average for the 2016-17 season with this goal against the Penguins early in the first period at Amalie Arena.

Kucherov is second only to Washington's Alexander Ovechkin, who has ten goals in 8 games. The Capitals are hosting the Panthers tonight at Verizon Center.

Watch: Vasilevskiy Makes a Remarkable Save to Rob Carl Hagelin in Tampa


This is beyond incredible. Watch as Andrei Vasilevskiy pushes off his left pad and explodes to cover the far post and rob Carl Hagelin of a glorious chance in Pittsburgh.

Just phenomenal stuff from the 23-year-old who entered tonight's game with a .929 save percentage and a 6-1-0 record.

The Lightning head to the dressing room with a 3-0 lead after one, thanks to goals by Nikita Kucherov (9), Steven Stamkos (3) and Yanni Gourde (1). Tampa is looking for its second win in nine days over the defending Stanley Cup champions. The defeated the Pens on Oct. 12 in Tampa.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Shattenkirk's Gaffe is Crosby's Genius at MSG

With the goalie pulled the Penguins were desperate late in the third on Tuesday night, trailing by a goal and hoping for a break.

That break would come in the form of gross negligence by Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkir, and lead to a thrilling 5-4 overtime win for the Penguins on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. It the kind of excruciating loss that can give a head coach lots of grey hair. With a delayed hand pass in the offing, all Shattenkirk had to do was sit and wait for Sidney Crosby to touch the puck. If and when he did the whistle would have blown and the face-off would have come out of the Rangers zone.

So what possessed Shattenkirk to try and tap the puck around Crosby and snake it away? God only knows.

A split-second after Shattenkirk's poor decision Crosby--as he has done so often--deposited a backhand off the back of Henrik Lundqvist and into the net for the tying goal.

The dreadful play didn't stop there for the Rangers. Ryan McDonagh was caught trying to thread a pass up the middle from behind his own goal that was picked off by Phil Kessel and fed over to Evgeni Malkin for the back-breaking overtime tap-in.

The Rangers fall to 1-5-1 with the loss, while Pittsburgh improves to 4-2-1.

Seven games, eight goals. Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov has scored in seven consecutive games to begin the 2017-18 NHL season. The Russian becomes the first player to score in each of his first seven games since 1992-93 when Mario Lemieux accomplished the feat.

And what a goal it was. Just a perfect snipe, placed just inside the post and just above the left pad and right below the glove of Cory Schnieder.

Kyle Connor Will Draw in for Injured Matthew Perreault for Jets on Tuesday

Matthew Perreault's absence has opened the door for highly touted prospect Kyle Connor in Winnipeg.

The No.17 pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft played 20 games with the Jets last season, but didn't stick in Winnipeg for the full season. Connor ended up scoring 44 point in 52 games for the Manitoba Moose. This year, after a poor training camp, Connor is off to a fast start in the AHL. He has five points in four games.

Connor is expected to slot into the second line with Bryan Little and Patrik Laine.

Perreault suffered a lower-body injury on Saturday during the Jets 2-1 win over the Hurricanes and is expected to miss four weeks.

The Jets will also be without Dmitry Kulikov when they host the Blue Jackets on Tuesday at MTS Centre. He will likely be out for two weeks and will be replaced by Tucker Poolman.

It's been a rough week on the injury front for Winnipeg. Forward Adam Lowry was also injured last week and he has been placed on IR retractive to Oct. 12. Brendan Lemieux got the callup from Manitoba to replace him.

After dropping their first two games Winnipeg has won three straight.

Statisfaction: Isles PP Woes, Carey Price Struggling

Welcome to Statisfaction, your daily dose of stat-geekery from The Saucer Pass. Here's today's tidbits:

1. Isles PP is a Minus-3

Has there ever been a power play that put up a minus for an entire season? Well the Islanders have some work to do to ensure they are not the first. Josh Ho-Sang's ill-timed turnover led to a back-breaking Drew Doughty goal on Sunday night at Staples center giving the Kings a 3-1 lead over New York in the second period. L.A. held on for the 3-2 win, but the Islanders power play did not survive the carnage.

New York's power play is 0 for 20 and minus-3. The Ducks are actually 0 for 21, which is even worse by a smidgen, but they have not given up three shorties like NYI have. Below, see the five worst NHL power play percentages for this young NHL season:

2. What gives, Carey Price?

It's not surprising at all that the Canadiens are having trouble scoring. They are a streaky team offensively, and with the exception of Brendan Gallagher, they don't get to the dirty areas nearly enough. Montreal has seven goals in 5 games, which is shoddy, but the scariest part of the equation in Montreal is that Carey Price is looking pretty bad. Sure, the season is young, but seeing Carey Price with a sub-.900 save percentage is just plain weird. We probably shouldn't be too worried though. Price is one of 16 goalies with one or more starts to have a sub-.900 save percentage.

Matt Murray is one of them. Martin Jones, Tuukka Rask and Cam Talbot are others. Price will be fine. Now Antti Niemi and his .808 save percentage? That could be a problem.

3. The Anti-Corsi

A funny trend to watch in the season's first two weeks. The top five NHL teams in terms of 5-on-5 plus-minus all have a negative Corsi at 5-on-5. Chicago (plus-14 at even strength) leads the pack. Here are the top five, via Corsica:

4. Klingberg and Lindell improving in Dallas

John Klingberg and Esa Lindell were a mainstay in Dallas last year. When they were on ice the Stars were a plus-12 at evens. But the pair was a less than 50 percent Corsi duo over the 71 games they played together last year. This year that appears to be changing. Klingberg and Lindell have the NHL's second-highest CF at 5-on-5 (61.9) and they have gone from being a negative relative Corsi pairing (-1.88 last season) to a positive one (7.39 this season).

We probably shouldn't get used to this pairing though. Ken Hitchcock is looking paired Klingberg with Marc Methot to get a little more out of his top defenseman for Saturday's game against Colorado.

Here's a quote on that topic from a piece by Mike Heika of the Dallas News:

"I think Klinger is getting targeted, and we are looking for a more veteran presence that's going to have to communicate with him and talk him through some of the stuff," Hitchcock said. "I don't mean that he is getting run over. They are going after him to try to hem him in, and we can help him if we can communicate to help him exit a little cleaner. They worked together in training camp, and Methot was a good voice for him."

Methot played with two-time Norris winner Erik Karlsson for much of the last five season.

Klingberg's four-game point streak ended against the Avs, but the Swede leads all Stars with five points in five games.

5. Chris Stewart, points maven:

We are nearly two weeks into the NHL season, and guess which player leads the league in points per 60 minutes? Ah, wait, the headline gave it way--Chris Stewart.

Stewart has six points in four games for the Wild.