December 14 — To Score or Not to Score?

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

THE GREAT 8(00): Alex Ovechkin completed the hat trick at 6:34 of the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks to register his 800th goal, one shy of tying Gordie Howe for second place. Ovi scored his 798th and 799th in the first period before netting No. 800 to give the Washington Capitals a 5-2 in an eventual 7-3 blowout.

HORVAT SPEAKS: After reports surfaced that Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat rejected the Canucks’ latest contract offer leaving the team to explore a trade, Horvat released a statement maintaining his focus on the season in Vancouver. Having another successful year with the Canucks, Horvat is second-best on the team with 29 points in 28 games. 

POINTS STREAKS CONTINUE: Two of the league’s longest active points streaks continued on Tuesday night. Mitch Marner had two assists in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 7-0 thrashing of the Anaheim Ducks to increase his points streak to 23 games, while Steven Stamkos saw his improve to 14 games thanks to his 497th career goal as part of a 6-2 Tampa Bay Lightning triumph over the Seattle Kraken.

CAP TO INCREASE BY $1 MILLION: Based on the league’s current revenue projections, the NHL salary cap will only increase by $1 million next season to $83.5 million. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated the revenue would need to increase by $140-150 million to pay off the estimated $70 million escrow debt due for the cap to go any higher. 

Who Said It

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Who-Said-That.gif

1) “There’s always someone that can take your spot, so you have to keep that competitive mindset and bring that every day. I’m just trying to make sure, day in and day out, that I’m bringing my best. I’m always trying to get better. I’m fortunate I came into the league where I was surrounded by superstars and good guys who helped pave the way, who showed that you have to work at it every day. It stuck with me, that no matter how old you are, how many games you’ve played, you always have to bring your best. I’m grateful for that.”

A. Ross Colton
B. Jake Guentzel
C. Bowen Byram

2) “When I played against Seattle last year, I thought it was a really tough team to play against. I thought it was a new team, an upcoming team, and I wanted to be a part of it. I definitely saw the potential in the team.”

A. André Burakovsky
B. Oliver Bjorkstrand
C. Justin Schultz

3) “Gordie Howe, just say his name and you know what it means to the game of hockey, and he’s [Alex Ovechkin] about to pass him. It’s a credit to him and a credit to everything that he’s done and accomplished. A pretty amazing feat.”

A. Jonathan Toews
B. Sidney Crosby
C. Connor McDavid

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email

Wacky Wednesday (Pt. 11)

There is never a dull moment in hockey, so we will keep you updated on all the “wacky” stats from around the NHL during the 2022-23 season. Here is part 11 of our “Wacky Wednesday” series—enjoy!

Undrafted Milestone

New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin made his NHL debut in 2015 after signing with the Chicago Blackhawks as a free agent who went undrafted. Fast forward seven years and he recorded his 400th career assist in his 529th game in November, making him the fifth-fastest undrafted player in NHL history to achieve the mark. He joins the company of Wayne Gretzky, Peter Stastny, Bobby Orr, and Adam Gates. Panarin now has 411 assists in 538 NHL games. 

Shootout Perfection

Many players have unblemished records in the shootout. However, Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov and Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki lead the league in successful attempts, going a perfect four-for-four this season. Jonathan Huberdeau is hot on their heels, with three successful conversions. 

No Place Like MSG

Madison Square Garden is no stranger to record-breaking moments, and Rangers forward Chris Kreider is on an 11-game point streak at home with a goal against the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 12. He will be looking to beat Jaromir Jagr’s 12-game home streak, set in 2006-07. Kreider has seven goals and four assists during this stretch. 

Age Is Just a Number

Some players are just getting better with age, and one of them is Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski, the third-oldest player in the NHL at 38. However, his age just gave him a new record. On Dec. 4, the Stars were losing to the Wild 4-1 going into the third period, and Pavelski contributed three assists to force overtime, although Dallas lost 6-5 in a shootout. With that performance, he became the third player in Stars history to record three points in a period at age 38 or older

What’s the (Goal) Difference?

Goal differential—the net difference between goals scored for and against a team—is pretty much as straightforward a stat as you’ll find. And while it may not help you sound like some analytics genius, it does carry a pretty solid track record of identifying the good and bad teams. Last season, the teams with the three best records in the NHL (the Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, and Carolina Hurricanes) also ranked among the top four in goal differential.

This season, that trend has continued, as the Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, and Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively, occupy the top three spots in the league standings and sport the three best goal differentials. That said, it doesn’t represent a truly accurate picture of the good, bad, and ugly of the NHL. Here are instances where goal differential doesn’t reflect the current standings and what that means for the future of some teams.

Buffalo Sabres

Last night’s dominant 6-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings helped rescue the Buffalo Sabres from the Atlantic Division basement, but do they deserve better? Buffalo has still lost more games than they’ve won (13-14-2) this season, but they have scored 12 more goals than against in those games. Even if the club isn’t poised to catch the big boys of the Atlantic, their goal differential suggests some upcoming improvement from the young Sabres.

Los Angeles Kings

A year ago, the Kings secured the third playoff spot in the Pacific Division despite a modest goal differential of plus-3. Early on this season, things are looking eerily similar in LA. Once again, in that same third spot, the Kings maintain a slight edge on the Edmonton Oilers despite allowing 12 more goals than they’ve scored. If the Oilers or Calgary Flames are about to go on a heater, the Pacific features a strong contender to go the other way.

Boston Bruins

Boston is really good, and the Bruins’ goal differential reflects that, so there is no controversy here. Why, then, are they on this list? Well, the plus-49 they are currently sporting through just 28 games is better than good. To put that number in context, it means the Bruins score 1.75 more goals per game than their opponent! Seeing how that continued production would result in a year-end goal differential of plus-143, it’s probably not sustainable. It is, however, a testament to Boston’s incredible start.

Who Said It Answers

  1. Jake Guentzel
  2. André Burakovsky
  3. Connor McDavid

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule