Two Man Advantage NHL Western Conference News & Notes, 01/16/2018

NHL

Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild skates with the puck while Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets defends during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on January 13, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (

Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee announced on Monday that the team has signed defenseman Deryk Engelland to a one-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season worth $1.5 million. Engelland has tallied 13 points (3 G, 13 A) to go with 16 penalty minutes in 41 games this season for the Golden Knights. He has also blocked 83 shots this season, which ranks as the second most on the team and tied for 28th in the league.  He is also one point away from 100 in his career.

Sunday afternoon, the Golden Knights held their Fan Fest with a reported 10,000 people in attendance.  I think they are catching on.  The Golden Knights with a league best 18-2-2 home record continues to pack T-Mobile Arena.  Last Saturday versus Edmonton they had a season high, 18,351 with about 40% of those fans decked out in Oilers gear.   Being on hand for the game.  I can honestly say, it felt like the Oilers were the home team.

William Karlsson continues to add to his goal total with number 23 in the Golden Knights overtime loss to Edmonton on Saturday.

LOS ANGELES KINGS

The Kings are in a tailspin.  They have lost four straight and now find themselves third place in the Pacific Division.  The Kings had held one of the top two spots in the Pacific Division up until this week.

The Kings have suffered three of those losses during the absence of defenseman Jake Muzzin and have given up four goals in each of the four losses.  Granted, in Monday’s loss to San Jose, the final goal was scored into an empty net.

Monday’s loss to San Jose marked the first time this season the Kings did not register a point when Darcy Kuemper was the goalie of record.  Kuemper is 5-1-3 on the season after the regulation loss to San Jose on Monday.

After Monday’s loss to the Sharks the Kings are 9-10-4 versus the West and 15-5-1 against Eastern Conference teams.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Monday was an eventful day at Preds practice as Viktor Arvidsson needed assistance from two trainers to return to the dressing room during a drill. It’s unclear what caused the potential injury, but Arvidsson gingerly walked as trainers draped his arms over their shoulders. Arvidsson was back on the ice for Tuesday’s morning skate prior to the Predators game against Vegas.

With Filip Forsberg still on the mend, Craig Smith has picked up some of the slack.  His 15 goals ties him with Forsberg for the team lead and is two more then he had all of last season.  He has also four points shy of equaling the 29 points he had all of last season.

P.K. Subban has nine goals and 32 points in 42 games this season, the second and fourth most among NHL defensemen respectively.  He is second on the Predators in points, leads the team in assists with 23, is third in TOI/game at 24:15 and has played the most total minutes on the power play at 146:41

The Predators have been dominant against the Central this season, going 10-3-2 against their divisional foes.  It’s the best record against Central Division opponents in the League outside of Tampa Bay (8-0-0). Nashville has two more wins against Central teams than their next closest divisional counterparts in Minnesota (eight).

ST. LOUIS BLUES

Could be a wild third period in St. Louis on Tuesday.  Blues games have seen 110 goals scored this season in the final 20, more than any other period for St. Louis. Only the LA Kings with 60 have scored more. The 98 goals scored by the Maple Leafs in the final 20 is their highest scoring period as well.

Even with only playing 30 of the teams 46 games, Jaden Schwartz is tied for the team lead with four power play goals.  It may explain why the team is 29th overall with the extra man.

After a 10-2-1 October, the Blues have won just 16 of the last 33 games.

Leads are something the Blues know how to protect.  They are 15-0-1 when leading after 20 minutes of play (tied for 2nd most wins in the NHL) and 20-0-1 when leading after two periods (tied for 2nd most wins in the NHL)

Home has not been so sweet with just six wins in their last 14 games.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

The Avs extended their win streak to seven with their 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.  The last time the Avs won seven consecutive games was Dec. 31, 2005 – Jan. 17, 2006, when they won eight straight. Colorado is outscoring the opposition 29-10 during this seven-game win streak.  The Avs can tie their franchise best eight game win streak when they host the Sharks on Thursday.

Jonathan Bernier has won six straight for the first time in his career.

Nathan MacKinnon scored his 20th goal of the season in Monday’s win over Anaheim extending his point streak to a season-high seven games (5g/9a).   MacKinnon is just four shy of his career high 24 goals in his rookie season (2013-14).  MacKinnon also leads the team in points (54), goals (20), assists (34), shots and game-winners (6).

Colorado has scored 87 goals on home ice are the most in the NHL.

 

DALLAS STARS

Tuesday at Detroit, will mark the 1500th game behind an NHL bench for coach, Ken Hitchcock.

Jason Spezza, a healthy scratch on Monday at Boston will return Tuesday for the Stars game at Detroit.

The Stars have four players (Benn, Seguin Klingberg and Radulov) all with 40 or more points and then not another player with more than the 23 from Mattias Janmark.

Tyler Seguin, who score the game winner in overtime Monday at Boston, is tied for seventh in the NHL with 22 goals in 2017-18, marking the fifth consecutive season he’s reached the 20-goal plateau. Seguin is one of just five players to have scored at least 20 goals in each of the past five seasons, joining Alex Ovechkin (WSH), John Tavares (NYI), Sean Monahan (CGY) and Phil Kessel (PIT).

By the way, it has to bug Bruins fans that not one player the Bruins acquired from the Tyler Seguin deal is still with the B’s (Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser, Reilly Smith and Joe Morrow).  By the way, the Bruins GM at the time was Peter Chiarelli.

The Stars have been outscored by 17 goals in the final 20 minutes.  They are a +10 and +16 respectively in the first and second periods.  Could explain their 0-12-0 record when trailing after 40 minutes.  Conversely, they are 21-1-1 when leading after 40.

SAN JOSE SHARKS

The Sharks win on Monday at LA drew the Sharks (23-13-6, 52 points) to within just one point of the Kings (24-15-5, 53 points). San Jose has two games in hand on the Kings.

Monday, the Sharks put Paul Martin on waivers.  Word on the street is that the Sharks would have to retain some salary for another team to claim him.  The 36-year-old carries a $4.825 million salary-cap hit through the 2018-19 season.  You may remember that Martin had off-season ankle surgery.  Last season he averaged more than 19 minutes a game being paired with Brent Burns.

The Sharks have earned points in five of their last six games (3-1-2)

ANAHEIM DUCKS

“Yeah, it’s something I think I don’t really talk about too much as I’ve been going through it because you’re in the process of it,” Cogliano said in his interview with Kent French from Prime Ticket prior to the Ducks game at Colorado on Monday. “It’s a tough pill to swallow, I’m not going to lie,” said an emotional Cogliano as he saw his Ironman streak come to an end at 830 games.  The streak came to an end when Cogliano was handed a two-game suspension for his hit to the head on the Kings, Adrian Kempe.

“From my end, there’s zero intent to do any sort of head contact or hit a person to injure him,” Cogliano said. “It was a situation where, like I said, I admitted to initiating contact too late. And I think it is something that happened that ended up being very unfortunate for me.”

The Ducks were a perfect 18 for their last 18 on the penalty kill until Colin Wilson snapped the streak with a second period powerplay goal on Monday.  The Ducks killed five of six Avalanche powerplays making them 20 for their last 21 in the month of January.

Sunday, the Ducks claimed JT Brown off waivers from Tampa.  Monday, Brown earned an assist in his first game with his new team.

Ryan Getzlaf is one assist shy of 600 in his NHL career.

The Ducks enter Tuesday, trailing third place Los Angeles by four points as well as Minnesota and Dallas who hold the two wild card spots by the same margin.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

The Blackhawks find themselves on the outside looking in for a playoff spot.  Chicago sits three points out of a wild card spot and five back of third in the Central.  The Blackhawks went into their five-day break with a very uninspiring 4-0 setback to the Red Wings. The one positive of late has been their penalty kill which was a perfect 4 for 4 on Sunday and has killed of 23 of the last 24 shorthanded opportunities.

Patrick Kane needs just three points for 800 in his career.  He would become the fifth player in Blackhawks history with 800 points.  Kane is six assists shy of 500 in his career.

Defenseman Jordan Oesterle has seven points (3G, 4A) over the last 12 games and prior to Dec. 21, had just three assists.

Monday, Jonathan Toews announced that he was launching the Jonathan Toews Foundation.

The Blackhawks return to action on Saturday when they host the New York Islanders

 

MINNESOTA WILD

Sunday was Zach Parise’s seventh game since returning from surgery on a herniated disk that kept him out of the lineup for the first 39 games of the season. Parise has just one assist.

Eric Staal continues to lead the Wild in goals (19) and points (37).

The Wild have earned points in six of seven games during the month of January (4-1-2).

Minnesota has earned points in seven consecutive home games going 5-0-2.

The third period has not been kind to the Wild, being outscored 62-52.

The Wild are off till Saturday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning

 

EDMONTON OILERS

Darnell Nurse had the game winner in Vegas last Saturday. It was Nurse’s third goal in the last two games and fourth in the past four games.

Birthday boy, Connor McDavid earned his 200th in the game at Vegas.  The large contingent of Oilers fans at the game sang him Happy Birthday during the second period.  I swear I thought I was in Edmonton. The crowd was 40% Oilers fans.

With the win on Saturday, the Oilers improved to 8-2 versus the Pacific Divison.

The Oilers are back in action Saturday when they host the Vancouver Canucks.

CALGARY FLAMES

The only thing that can stop the Calgary Flames and their seven game win streak is a five day break.  The Flames return to action on Saturday when they host the Winnipeg Jets in a matinee affair.

The Flames have outscored the opposition 27-10 during their seven game win streak and seen their goal differential climb from (-11) to (+6) in the process.

Johnny Gaudreau entered play on Tuesday tied for second in scoring with 54 points.

Michael Ferland is second on the Flames with 19 goals (44 games).  Not bad for a guy that had 21 goals coming into the season in his previous 173 games.

 

WINNIPEG JETS

The Central Division leading Winnipeg Jets are back in action on Saturday at Calgary when they play the red-hot Calgary Flames winners of seven in a row.  Winnipeg has played 26 games on the road (10-10-6) and just 20 at home where they have one of the league’s best records on home ice (16-3-1).

The Jets will play three of their next four on the road followed by a stretch of stretch of 10 games at home.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

The Canucks return to game action for games Saturday at Edmonton and Sunday at Winnipeg.  The Canucks went into the five day break coming off back to back road wins over Columbus and Minnesota.

ARIZONA COYOTES

The Coyotes have played 45 games and have an incredible (-55) goal differential.  Buffalo is a close second at (-52) in 44 games.

Youth is definitely being served in Arizona.  Skaters 22 years of age or younger have scored 56 of the Coyotes’ 104 goals this season, which is the most among all NHL teams.

Lots of talk about Clayton Keller and rightfully so, but don’t sleep on Christian Fischer who has scored a goal in 5 of his last 10 games and is 2nd on the team and 8th among NHL rookies with 12 goals on the year. The 20-year-old forward’s 15 goals in 50 career NHL games is the 2nd-most among a rookie’s first 50 games in Coyotes history (Peter Mueller: 15 goals in 49 games).

Clayton Keller enters tonight leading the team in scoring with 14-20-34 and has collected a point in 10 of his last 12 games (3-8-11)

The Coyotes currently have the 3rd-best penalty kill percentage (85.5%) in the NHL since October 31. The team has killed off 71 of their last 83 power-plays. Antti Raanta currently has a .918 SV% on penalty kills which is 3rd among NHL goaltenders that have played in 17 games or more.

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