Any good Hollywood movie has a story line, a natural progression from start to end where, more often than not, a character goes through a bildungsroman and ends up (hopefully better) for the trials endured. We are now just 2 days in the season and very much in the formative phase of our characters in this narrative. In the novel that is the 2017-2018 NHL season I anticipate much will change between now and the end of the year, but until then, here are 5 things that the story has unfolded so far:
1. Hat Tricks
4 to be specific: Brandon Saad, Wayne Simmonds, Connor McDavid and Alex Ovechkin, hardly a group of unknown nobodies. Could this be a sign that this year will be a goal infused highly offense oriented affair? Perhaps the pucks have been juiced to infuse offense or maybe the sun was in the goalies eyes.
2. Arizona Coyotes Power Play
See below minutes and notate how top heavy their power play units are:
Power Play Minutes:
Max Domi: 3:59
Christian Dvorak: 3:59
Clayton Keller: 3:59
Derek Stepan: 3:59
Oliver Ekman-Larsson: 3:56
rest of the team COMBINED: 5:58. No player had more than 1:12 beyond the starting unit. That is less than a third then anyone on the top unit and this wasn’t against the Carolina Hurricanes whose penalties are “recherché” no the Anaheim Ducks do not shy away from a minute or two in the box.
1 per night – Cam Talbot vs. Calgary Flames & Jonathan Quick vs. Philadelphia Flyers again no big surprise, two goalies who should be top 6 in the league coming out strong. To me, Quick’s shutout is a bit more impressive as he faced 35 shots to Cam’s 26, perhaps the Edmonton defense is stronger than I am giving them credit for? Or perhaps Cam is letting out loud yelps distracting players who are repeatedly shooting wide (I’m inclined to think the former).
4. Shooting Percentage
The fantastic time of year before the whole “regressing to the mean” takes effect.
100% Shooters (all 1/1): Auston Matthews, Chris Wideman, Matt Duchene, Chris Stewart, Anthony Duclair, Brett Connolly, Scott Hartnell, Brad Marchand (empty netter!) and Colton Parayko.
5. Shots on Goal
I know it seems like I obsess over this stat sometimes but it’s remarkably simple to see and conceptualize and even a low end forward is scoring 6-7% of the shots they take. With two days under wraps, below are the players who have taken at least 6 shots per game this season: Evander Kane, Oscar Klefbom, Alex Pietrangelo, Mika Zibanejad, Connor McDavid, Tyler Toffoli, Alex Ovechkin, James van Riemsdyk, Clayton Keller, Max Pacioretty and Zemgus Girgensons
Cheers to a great weekend of games,