Friday, March 19, 2010

Sittin' at the end of the bar

Just sitting up late at night thinking…

-- Now in their fifth season, Alex Ovechkin has averaged 1.340 points per game, Sidney Crosby has averaged 1.344 points per game.

-- Ovechkin is plus-41 this year… Crosby is plus-41 for his career.

-- Adrian Aucoin leads the NHL in GDGG’s.. Game-Deciding Gimmick Goals (four). Anybody have that one when the season started?

-- At the other end of the spectrum, Dallas' James Neal is 0-for-10. We’re not sure which is worse… Neal getting no goals, or Marc Crawford giving him ten chances. OK, he was 5-for-7 last year.

-- Why will Sidney Crosby win the Richard Trophy? Here is why… of the top-20 goal scorers, none have a bigger home-road goal scoring differential than Crosby (30 at home, 15 on the road). The Penguins have seven more games at home. If the two finish the season at the same home-road pace they have had to date, Crosby will finish with 53 goals, Ovechkin with 52. Caps fans can hang their hat on the fact that Ovechkin has out-scored Crosby in the last ten games of the regular season in each of the last three years.

-- Among the top-15 rookie scorers, there is only one right winger (Niclas Bergfors).

-- We’ve noticed a lot of comment in telecasts of Penguins games we see that Crosby leads the NHL in faceoffs taken. Well, there is probably a reason for that. No other Penguin with more than 100 draws has won more than 48 percent of his faceoffs. If Eric Belanger takes 15 more draws at his current winning percentage, the Caps will have five centers at better than 50 percent (Belanger, Boyd Gordon, David Steckel, Brendan Morrison, and – yes – Nicklas Backstrom, who has finally climbed over that threshold at 50.2 percent).

-- Ryan Miller’s save percentage when the Sabres are shorthanded (.913) would be still be a respectable 16th overall. At the other end of the spectrum, Niklas Backstrom’s save percentage when the Wild are on the power play is .789… yeesh.

-- Speaking of goaltenders, consider Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak… on the one hand, he has a save percentage of .792 when Montreal is on the power play. You would think most of those shots and goals were scored on shorthanded breakaways by the competition. So he should be awful in the Gimmick, right? Nope… 15 saves on 16 shots (.938), best in the league among goalies facing at least ten shots.  In case you're wondering, he hasn't faced a penalty shot this year.

-- And speaking of Gimmicks… Antti Niemi is 10-for-10 on stopping Gimmick shots at home. He is 11-for-16 (.688) on the road.

-- In 70 games, Boston has gone to the Gimmick 18 times, better than one game in four. One more, and they tie the record (19, set by Edmonton in 2007-2008). No one is going to touch the record for wins this year, though… Edmonton had 15 in that 2007-2008 season. Phoenix has ten wins to lead the league at the moment.

-- The last time the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs, the league had only 21 teams, and “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips topped the song charts for the year (according to Billboard) -- 1990.

Drive safely…