Quick Hits – Some observations from around the NHL

-Don’t look now but the Leafs, who many predicted would have trouble scoring, are now second in the NHL in goals scored per game (behind only Buffalo). And it is not just the PP either as the Leafs are 14th in the NHL in PP%.

-Is Rod Brind’amour the best player in the NHL right now? He is 7th in the scoring race, plays the power play, kills penalties with the best of them and is the best face off man in the NHL.

-The future of the Avalanche looks brighter with Paul Stastney andWojtek Wolski sitting 3rd and 4th in the rookie points race as a follow up to Marek Svatos stellar rookie campaign last year.

-After a bit of a slow start, Marc Savard is on fire. In his last 6 games he has 4 goals and 12 points.

-Speaking of Savard, the Atlanta Thrashers don’t seem to be missing him too much thanks in large part to Slava Kozlov stepping up his offensive game with 9 goals and 26 points, good for 4th in the NHL.

-While Nicklas Lidstrom is on pace to finish the season at +87, former teammate Derien Hatcher is on pace to finish the year at -82. Yikes.

-CuJo can’t buy a win. After being horrible for most of the season he comes up big games against two of the best teams in Dallas and San Jose only to lose 1-0 and 2-1.

-I can guarantee you that there is no one on this planet that predicted that Ottawa, Boston and Philadelphia would be sitting 13th, 14th, and 15th in the East at this point in the season.

-One has to wonder if Senators fans would trade Martin Gerber for Dominik Hasek and his league leading 1.74 gaa right now plus whatever they could have used the $3 million in cap space savings on?

-The Phoenix Coyotes are the most penalized team in the NHL by a significant margin which might explain their position in the standings. Or maybe not. Anaheim and Dallas sit #2 and #3 in PIMs.

-Goaltending = winning. Top 4 teams in save% are Dallas, Minnesota, Anaheim and San Jose. Bottom 3 are Philadelphia, Phoenix and Boston.

-Fourth lowest team save % in the NHL is surprisingly the New York Rangers as Lundqvist has dropped from .922 save percentage as a rookie to a horrible .888 save percentage as a sophomore. Any Rangers success this season will depend on him rebounding because they are otherwise a very good team.

-The Vancouver Canucks are learning that good goaltending with little depth on defense and scoring forwards is also not a recipe for instant success as they are once again on the border of being in or out of the playoffs just 1 point ahead of 9th place and surging Calgary.

-Will Jason Allison ever find a place to play? Would he not be able to improve Ottawa’s or Calgary’s dismal power play or be a better second line center than Tomas Plekanec (1g, 2a, -5) in Montreal?

Posted in NHL