3 concerning Calgary Flames trends as the second quarter begins

Even though the second quarter of the season started with a 6-2 win over Florida on Tuesday, it’s fair to say Calgary’s first 22 games have been underwhelming as a whole. While it definitely hasn’t been all bad, we’ve seen some frustrating trends from the Flames thus far. Here are three of them that need to be corrected with the second quarter now underway.

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Scenes from Canucks practice Brock Boeser moves up to J.T. Miller and Bo Horvats line, and Riley Stillman skates with Tyler Myers

The Canucks made changes to their lines on Wednesday at practice ahead of their matchup with the defending President’s Trophy winners, the Florida Panthers.

Bruce Boudreau ran the group through high-intensity drills in which they needed to work on breaking the puck out of their zone and moving through the neutral zone with good passes. The coach stopped the practice multiple times to let his players know that they needed to be better in these drills and focus in practice if they wanted to build good habits for games.

Let’s chat about the lines and what we saw.

What we saw

Brock Boeser appears to have new linemates as he was moved up the lineup to play with J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat.

Nils Höglander was moved down to a line with Sheldon Dries as the right wing position rotated between Jack Studnicka and Conor Garland.

Studnicka took the first reps which could indicate that Garland may find himself on the outside looking in when it comes to Thursday’s game against the Panthers. Big emphasis on could there.

Elias Pettersson’s line stayed the same with Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko on the wings.

The fourth line also stayed the same as Dakota Joshua, Nils Aman, and Curtis Lazar stayed glued together.

Here are the line combinations before we transition into the backend.

Travis Dermott continues to be in a non-contact jersey and skated on an extra pairing with Kyle Burroughs.

That meant that Riley Stillman was back on the third pairing alongside Tyler Myers.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Ethan Bear stayed together while Luke Schenn and Quinn Hughes also maintained their partnership.

Phil Di Giuseppe was not on the ice for practice so we are assuming that the Canucks will assign him back to Abbotsford soon and could draw into their lineup as the AHL team plays on Wednesday night.

What was said

We caught up with Boeser and asked about his thoughts on getting back into a top-six line and playing with Miller and Horvat.

“Things have been a little different and I’ve had some different linemates over the past couple of weeks here,” said Boeser. “I’ve been trying to work hard and put my work boots on and play the right way — help our team any way I can even if I’m not scoring. I know I need to play the right way whether that’s blocking shots, getting hits or creating for our team. So, this is a big opportunity for me and I’ve got to make the most of it.”

The Canucks are in action Thursday at 7:00 pm local time. There will be a pregame celebration of the Sedin twins and Roberto Luongo’s recent Hockey Hall of Fame induction.

Oilersnation Everyday Three is the magic number

It has been a tough November for the Edmonton Oilers, however, they have a chance tonight to come out at .500 on the month with a win over the Chicago Blackhawks. They will also be looking for their third win in a row after two come-from-behind victories over the New York Rangers and the Florida Panthers in the past week.

Tonight is the Oilers’ second visit to the United Centre after beating the Blackhawks 6-5 back on October 27th. Connor McDavid grabbed himself a hat trick that night, along with an assist for his second four-point night at that point in the season.

Like every Edmonton Oilers game day, Tyler Yaremchuk and Jay Downton will be around for the Sherwood Ford GIANT Pre-Game show, live from the Sports Closet studio. They will break down what the Oilers need to do to make it three wins in a row, as well as who Ken Holland and his staff could possibly be targeting from the Blackhawks.

Viewers can catch Tyler Yaremchuk and Liam Horrobin on Oilersnation Everyday at noon mountain on  The Nation Network YouTube page. You can also view the show on Twitter and Facebook. After the show has streamed live, you can find it on all your podcast providers.

Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin breaks NHL record for most road goals

This may not be the goal record Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin has in mind at the moment, but he now has the most road goals in NHL history.

Ovechkin broke the record midway through the first period of Tuesday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. He got the goal in typical Ovechkin fashion, scoring on a one timer set up by Dylan Strome as the Caps were moving up the ice. He also tied the record just six minutes earlier with an unassisted goal, both goals giving the Capitals an early 2-0 lead in the game.

With both goals, Ovechkin has now surpassed Wayne Gretzky for most goals on the road all-time. These were Ovechkin’s 402nd and 403rd goal on the road, and he will still have plenty of time to add to this record.

Of course, this isn’t the goal record that Ovechkin is aiming for. These two goals give Ovechkin 793 all-time, which is 101 behind Wayne Gretzky for the most in NHL history. He also sits eight back of Gordie Howe for second all-time, something he will most likely pass by the end of this season.

Ovechkin is currently in the second year of a five year deal with a $9.5 million cap hit, so he still has plenty of runway to attempt to beat the record. Barring any health concerns, which Ovechkin has managed to avoid for a vast majority of his NHL career, he has 270 games left on his contract to score the remaining 101 goals, so he’ll need to score at a 31 goal pace to reach it. And that’s assuming that he doesn’t re-sign after if he’s super close to try and finish the job.

Breaking the record still seems likely for Ovechkin, considering he hasn’t slowed down yet despite being 37 years old. He has 11 goals in 23 games this season, which puts him on pace for 39 on the year, and is even coming off a 50 goals season in 2021-22.

The post Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin breaks NHL record for most road goals appeared first on Daily Faceoff.

Leafs Goaltending At the quarter-season mark

Here we are – 24 games into the season, just past the quarter mark of what has been an exceptionally up-and-down season.

The quarter mark, in my mind, is where statistics and performances start becoming meaningful. It’s where legitimate trends can be identified, which makes it an interesting point for analysis.

Much of the discussion regarding the Leafs over the past couple years has centered around the topic of goaltending. Given the variance in both personnel and results over the last five years, and the critical role that goaltending plays in the success of any team, analyzing the Leafs’ goaltending trends is of particular interest.

It’s a general consensus among the fanbase that the goaltending has been relatively strong so far this season. Simply using the eye test can tell most viewers that the Leafs’ goaltending has been good. But exactly how good has it been? Further, how does it stack up to previous seasons? I dug into some data to find out.

2022-23 Results

So far, the Leafs have called on three goalies: Matt Murray, Ilya Samsonov, and Erik Kallgren. This collection of goalies was particularly interesting to me, and to much of the fanbase, entering the season for the storylines surrounding them. Could Matt Murray and/or Ilya Samsonov recapture the form that once made them relevant names in the world of goaltending? Could Erik Kallgren establish himself as an NHL option following his stint in the 2021-22 season?

The results thus far are as follows:

Matt Murray: 7 games played, .927 save percentage, 4.7 goals saved above expected

Ilya Samsonov: 8 games played, .921 save percentage, 4.9 goals saved above expected

Erik Kallgren: 10 games played, .898 save percentage, -0.6 goals saved above expected

Totals: .915 save percentage, 9.0 goals saved above expected (30.75 pace across 82 games)

2021-22 Results

Last year, the Leafs saw five goalies play games for them over the course of the season. Following a record-setting November, it seemed that the main storyline for the season was the (poor) performance of the goaltenders. The goalies that suited up for the Leafs were Jack Campbell, Erik Kallgren, Petr Mrazek, Joseph Woll, and Michael Hutchinson. Their results are as follows:

Jack Campbell: 49 games played, .914 save percentage, -2.3 goals saved above expected

Erik Kallgren: 14 games played, .888 save percentage, -5.2 goals saved above expected

Petr Mrazek: 20 games played, .888 save percentage, -11.6 goals saved above expected

Joseph Woll: 4 games played, .911 save percentage, 0.0 goals saved above expected

Michael Hutchinson: 2 games played, .857 save percentage, -1.9 goals saved above expected

Totals: .900 save percentage, -21.0 goals saved above expected

2020-21 Results

The 2020-21 season was memorable for a number of reasons. One such reason was that it was the end of the Frederik Andersen era in Toronto, and the beginning of the Jack Campbell era. You might recall his record-setting 11-0 start with the team. Outside of Andersen and Campbell, two other goalies saw games with the Leafs that season: Michael Hutchinson and David Rittich. Their results are as follows:

Jack Campbell: 22 games played, .921 save percentage, 8.4 goals saved above expected

Frederik Andersen: 24 games played, .895 save percentage, -4.8 goals saved above expected

Michael Hutchinson: 8 games played, .919 save percentage, -1.4 goals saved above expected

David Rittich: 4 games played, .888 save percentage, -1.1 goals saved above expected

Totals: .905 save percentage, 1.1 goals saved above expected (1.61 pace across 82 games)


While pure save percentage and goals saved above expected are flawed measures in conducting goaltending analysis, they can provide a strong indicator of the general quality of goaltending provided over a large sample size.

Over the last ~2.25 years, the Leafs have experienced the full range of great, average, and poor goaltending. Through this analysis it’s clear to see that not only has the Leafs’ goaltending been significantly stronger than in years past, but it has been one of their biggest strengths thus far this season. The difference is particularly stark in comparing last season’s goaltending to this season’s, which perhaps illustrates how poor the goaltending was last season more than how strong it’s been this one.

Both Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray have, thus far, been objectively great by the eye test and the numbers. They currently sit in 11th and 13th, respectively, in goals saved above expected and have each played less than 9 games. Once Samsonov returns from injury, it’s reasonable to expect that the goaltending will further improve, which is nothing against Erik Kallgren who has had his ups and downs but has filled in admirably when needed.

While it’s likely not reasonable to expect Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov to keep performing at the level that they have thus far this season (remember Jack Campbell last November), all signs indicate that both could be on track for great seasons if they can stay healthy. For two guys whose former teams gave up on them, this has been a storybook start.

(all data collected from MoneyPuck and EliteProspects)