There’s still a bit of a glow about last night’s win, though around these parts we know there’s really no such thing as a signature win in the regular season. But still, holding the Rangers to 25 shots when they average 31, and to shut them out when they’re the 4th highest scoring team in the league when they’d had three days off and the Hawks were on the second in two nights and now this has become quite the run-on sentence but hey that’s how things go, there’s a half bounce in the step. So let’s check out some trends, shall we?
That’s Brad Richards’s Corsi-percentage the past six games. As we’ve said all year, we’ve had a real fear that Richards would fade as the season went along as he did last year with the Rangers, which got him the buyout that landed him in Chicago in the first place. So this is pretty encouraging. It hasn’t resulted in an avalanche of points or anything, just a goal and an assist in those six. But if you keep pushing play this much, the points will follow (Bickell and Desjardins won’t biff every chance they’re presented you hope, and a motivated Versteeg would really help).
Looking back over the six, it’s probably important to note who Richards was facing. Yesterday, Richards saw mostly the Rangers 4th line and 3rd pairing. Against the Islanders it was their 4th line. Against the Sharks it was Hertl-Tierney-Wingels. Against the Yotes it was more evenly distributed, but in the previous game against the Rangers it was the 4th line again. You get it.
While Antoine Vermette hasn’t lit up the world, he’s allowed Richards to slot in and basically bum-slay. And that’s fine around here. I’d like to think that when the Hawks signed Richards, Stan Bowman may have had an inkling that Teravainen would bump him down to 3rd center at some point in the season. Kane’s injury changed things a bit, but that’s what’s happened. Long may it continue.
17, 13, 14, 12
These are the number shot attempts that Niklas Hjalmarsson has seen in the four games since Oduya returned. Before that, in the games Oduya missed it was 17, 22, 15, 18, 6, 13, 16. So it’s been a little lower. It’s hard to gauge with Oduya and Hammer, because facing competition that they do and only being asked to really be a defensive pairing, they’re always going to face more attempts than they create. But at least this is trending in the right direction.
That’s Marcus Kruger’s Corsi-percentage since Vermette arrived, and the portion of shifts he starts in the offensive zone. That’s pretty ridiculous. Kruger carried 61% last night when he was on the ice. I’d like to think this is due to Shaw being on his wing but it’s more than that. It’s kind of a special toy to have that you can constantly start Kruger in his own zone and have him turn the play back to the other end more often than he doesn’t. And he’s done it while sometimes taking on more than just the other team’s fourth line, which has mostly been Richards’s line’s role.
That’s the amount of times this season that Patrick Sharp has put up nine or more shots in two consecutive games and not scored. This is also incredibly hard to believe. While Sharp has generated more discussion than any player recently, it’s impossible to deny that luck isn’t playing a part. Sharp is 15th in the league at attempts per 60, and among the leaders in shots-per-60. We thought the binge might arrive after San Jose. Hasn’t yet, but you have to believe it’s coming.