Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/09/14 at 12:37 PM ET
OLYMPIC BREAK BEGINS
The NHL hits the Olympic break in a regular season defined by intense competition, dominant performances and big events.
* A wide-open playoff race features 25 teams holding a playoff berth or within four points of one.
* A close race at the top of the standings has the Ducks, Blues, Blackhawks and Penguins separated by just four points in the battle for the Presidents’ Trophy.
* Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (28-50—78) holds an 11-point lead in the NHL scoring race; Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin already has tallied 40 goals, nine more than his closest pursuer; Devils forward Jaromir Jagr, who will celebrate his 42nd birthday Saturday, is the team’s leader in goals (17), assists (32), points (49), plus-minus (+21) and shots (151); and Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has a League-leading 31 wins in 47 appearances, a pace that could see him challenge the single-season record of 48 held by Martin Brodeur.
LEAGUE LEADERS AT THE OLYMPIC BREAK
A look at the League’s leaders, with their NHL team and Olympic team (if applicable), at the break:
1. Sidney Crosby (PIT/CAN): 28-50—78
2. Ryan Getzlaf (ANA/CAN): 29-38—67
3. John Tavares (NYI/CAN): 24-42—66
4. Phil Kessel (TOR/USA): 31-34—65
5. Patrick Kane (CHI/USA): 27-36—63
1. Alex Ovechkin (WSH/RUS): 40
2. Phil Kessel (TOR/USA): 31
3. Corey Perry (ANA/CAN): 30
t-4. Ryan Getzlaf (ANA/CAN): 29
t-4. Joe Pavelski (SJ/USA): 29
1. Sidney Crosby (PIT/CAN): 50
2. Joe Thornton (SJ): 48
t-3. Nicklas Backstrom (WSH/SWE): 45
t-3. Duncan Keith (CHI/CAN): 45
5. John Tavares (NYI/CAN): 42
1. Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT): 31
2. Antti Niemi (SJ/FIN): 29
t-3. Ben Bishop (TB): 28
t-3. Semyon Varlamov (COL/RUS): 28
5. Carey Price (MTL/CAN): 26
1. Josh Harding (MIN): 1.65
2. Cory Schneider (NJ): 1.85
3. Ben Bishop (TB): 1.98
4. Ben Scrivens (EDM): 1.98
5. Frederik Andersen (ANA): 2.06
1. Ben Scrivens (EDM): .937
2. Ben Bishop (TB): .933
3. Josh Harding (MIN): .933
4. Tuukka Rask (BOS/FIN): .928
5. Frederik Andersen (ANA): .928
A look at the top team and individual performances since Jan. 1 (courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau):
HIGHEST POINTS PERCENTAGE, SINCE JAN. 1
1. Pittsburgh Penguins: .750 (11-3-2, 24 points)
2. Colorado Avalanche: .711 (13-5-1, 27 points)
t-3. Boston Bruins: .706 (11-4-2, 24 points)
t-3. Minnesota Wild: .706 (11-4-2, 24 points)
MOST POINTS, SINCE JAN. 1
1. Phil Kessel (TOR/USA): 11-17—28
2. John Tavares (NYI/CAN): 8-14—22
3. Nathan MacKinnon (COL): 12-8—20
4. Ryan Getzlaf (ANA/CAN): 9-11—20
5. Claude Giroux (PHI): 8-12—20
6. Gabriel Landeskog (COL/SWE): 6-14—20
MOST GOALS, SINCE JAN. 1
1. Joe Pavelski (SJ/USA): 13
2. Nathan MacKinnon (COL): 12
t-3. Phil Kessel (TOR/USA): 11
t-3. Rick Nash (NYR/CAN): 11
MOST ASSISTS, SINCE JAN. 1
1. Phil Kessel (TOR/USA): 17
2. Alex Pietrangelo (STL/CAN): 15
t-3. Nazem Kadri (TOR): 14
t-3. Gabriel Landeskog (COL/SWE): 14
t-3. John Tavares (NYI/CAN): 14
MOST WINS, SINCE JAN. 1
t-1. Anton Khudobin (CAR): 11
t-1. Semyon Varlamov (COL/RUS): 11
t-3. Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ/RUS): 10
t-3. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR/SWE): 10
t-3. Jonathan Bernier (TOR): 10
BEST GOALS-AGAINST AVERAGE, SINCE JAN. 1*
1. Cory Schneider (NJ): 1.47
2. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR/SWE): 1.91
3. Jaroslav Halak (STL/SVK): 1.92
4. Jonathan Quick (LA/USA): 2.01
5. Corey Crawford (CHI): 2.15
* minimum, 10 games
BEST SAVE PERCENTAGE, SINCE JAN. 1*
1. Cory Schneider (NJ): .942
2. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR/SWE): .937
3. Jaroslav Halak (STL/SVK): .933
4. Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ/RUS): .931
5. Ben Bishop (TB): .929
* minimum, 10 games
LONGEST ACTIVE POINT STREAKS
1. Antoine Vermette (PHX): 10 games (8-5—13)
2. Gabriel Landeskog (COL/SWE): 9 games (4-8—12)
3. Nathan MacKinnon (COL): 8 games (5-6—11)
t-4. Derick Brassard (NYR): 6 games (3-5—8)
t-4. Mats Zuccarello (NYR/NOR): 6 games (2-6—8)
t-6. Ryan Johansen (CBJ): 5 games (5-3—8)
t-6. Evgeni Malkin (PIT/RUS): 5 games (4-3—7)
t-6. James Neal (PIT): 5 games (3-3—6)
Philadelphia 2, Calgary 1
St. Louis 4, Winnipeg 3 (SO)
Boston 7, Ottawa 2
Toronto 3, Vancouver 1
Montreal 4, Carolina 1
Tampa Bay 4, Detroit 2
Colorado 5, NY Islanders 2
Washington 3, New Jersey 0
Anaheim 5, Nashville 2
Dallas 2, Phoenix 1
BLUES TAKE OVER TOP SPOT IN CENTRAL
T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko – who will represent the United States and Russia, respectively, in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games – scored in the shootout to help the Blues enter the break with a 6-1-1 record in their last eight games.
* With the win, the Blues leapfrogged the idle Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division. They also moved three points behind the Ducks for the top spot in the NHL standings, with three games in hand:
* Oshie improved to 7-for-10 (70.0%), with three game-deciding goals, in shootouts this season and 25-for-46, with 12 game-deciding goals, in his career – his 54.3% conversion rate ranks second among active skaters with a minimum of 20 attempts.
* Barret Jackman played in his 700th NHL game, all with the Blues. He is the fourth player in franchise history to reach the milestone, following Bernie Federko (927), Brian Sutter (779) and Brett Hull (744).
* Ken Hitchcock earned his 111th win behind the Blues’ bench, moving past Scotty Bowman and into sole possession of fourth place in club history.
* The Blues improved to 15-0-1 versus the Central Division this season, with their lone loss coming Oct. 18 versus the Jets (4-3 in a shootout).
LUCKY 7 FOR BRUINS . . .
Seven different Bruins recorded multi-point games, leading the team to its highest offensive output of the season and an 8-1-2 record in its last 11 contests entering the break.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Bruins had at least seven players post multiple points in the same game was Jan. 5, 2012, when eight players did so in a 9-0 victory over the Flames.
* Patrice Bergeron (2-1—3), who will represent Canada in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, and Brad Marchand (1-2—3) led all Bruins with three points apiece.
* Jarome Iginla collected 1-1—2, his fifth multi-point performance in his last eight games. He has 4-10—14 in that span.
* David Krejci (0-2—2), who will represent the Czech Republic in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, and Milan Lucic (1-0—1) also found the scoresheet. The line of Iginla (4-10—14), Krejci (3-8—11) and Lucic (4-5—9) has combined for 34 points in the last eight games.
* Chad Johnson made 26 saves to earn his fifth consecutive victory. He also improved to 6-0-0 with a 1.52 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and one shutout in seven home appearances this season.
. . . AND MAPLE LEAFS
Trailing 1-0 entering the third period, the Maple Leafs scored three unanswered goals to pick up their seventh consecutive victory at Air Canada Centre, their longest home winning streak since March 6-April 7, 2007 (9-0-0).
* Jonathan Bernier made 32 saves to improve to 5-1-0 in his past six starts. He has 22 wins in 44 appearances this season, double his previous career high (2010-11: 11-8-3 in 25 GP).
* Phil Kessel, who will represent the United States in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, posted 1-1—2 for his fourth multi-point performance in his past five outings. He has 4-6—10 in that span.
* Tyler Bozak recorded two assists to eclipse 100 in his NHL career (65-101—166 in 274 GP).
MORE OLYMPIANS LEAD THEIR TEAMS INTO THE BREAK
* Carey Price, who will represent Canada in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, made 31 saves to backstop the Canadiens to their third consecutive victory. He improved to 4-1-1 with a 1.15 goals-against average, .967 save percentage and two shutouts in his past six games.
* Ryan Getzlaf, who will represent Canada in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, posted 2-1—3 to help the Ducks snap a three-game losing streak. Getzlaf has seven games with three or more points this season, second in the NHL to Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (nine such performances).
* Matt Duchene (2-0—2) and Gabriel Landeskog (1-1—2) – who will represent Canada and Sweden, respectively, in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games – both collected two points to lead the Avalanche to their fifth victory in their last seven games. Duchene eclipsed 100 career goals (101-142—243 in 321 GP), while Landeskog extended his point streak to a career-long nine games (4-8—12).
* Ondrej Palat (2-0—2), who will represent the Czech Republic in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, recorded his first career multi-goal game to power the Lightning to their fifth win in their past nine games. The NHL’s Rookie of the Month for January, Palat ranks third among first-year players with 14-20—34 in 58 games this season.
* Kari Lehtonen, who will represent Finland in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, made 26 saves to help the Stars extend their point streak to five games (3-0-2). He improved to 9-3-4 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in 17 career appearances versus the Coyotes, including two victories in the past five days.
MILESTONE NIGHT FOR RED WINGS
The Red Wings played their 6,000th regular-season game, joining the Blackhawks (Feb. 3) and Rangers (Feb. 6) as teams to reach the milestone this week.
Two of the Red Wings’ Olympians also achieved personal milestones:
* Pavel Datsyuk collected an assist to earn his 800th NHL point (270-530—800 in 816 GP), becoming the sixth Russian-born player in League history to reach the milestone. Datsyuk leads all active Russians in career scoring, five points ahead of Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (411-384—795 in 656 GP).
* Daniel Alfredsson recorded his 14th goal of the season to move past Nicklas Lidstrom and into sole possession of second place in all-time scoring by Swedish-born players (440-703—1,143 in 1,224 GP).
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stopped all 25 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season and the 10th of his NHL career . . . Ray Emery made 32 saves to backstop the Flyers to their fourth consecutive victory . . . Capitals forward Troy Brouwer scored his 100th career goal, while teammate Julien Brouillette recorded his first NHL goal, the game-winner . . . Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck played in his 400th career game . . . Predators defenseman Michael Del Zotto skated in his 300th NHL game . . . Blues forward Magnus Paajarvi appeared in his 200th career game . . . Islanders forward Colin McDonald, Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone and Senators forward Mika Zibanejad all played in their 100th NHL game . . . Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov made his League debut . . . The Flames signed defenseman Kris Russell to a two-year contract extension.
above information provided by the NHL PR department
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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