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Cullen: Jagr's big night; Pronger, Pacioretty injuries

Scott Cullen
10/25/2011 12:44:52 PM
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While one Philadelphia Flyers veteran left early Monday night, another enjoyed a renaissance game, announcing that he's back in the goal-scoring business.

Chris Pronger, the Flyers' leader on the blueline, who was playing more than 23 minutes per game going into Monday's game, left after suffering an eye injury and he's expected to miss at least ten days as he recovers.

With Pronger out, it's going to fall on Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros to handle more power play duty, while bruising veteran Matt Walker should slide into the lineup.

Pronger's absence will be significant. Not having him on the power play will affect all of Philadelphia's offensive players. Keep in mind that, although personnel isn't the same, the Flyers' power play was 17-for-123 (14.0%) last season in the games that Pronger missed (including the first five games of the playoffs) while going 37-for-196 (19.0%) in the regular season and playoff games that Pronger played.

Initial indications are that Pronger should miss at least ten days and the Flyers do have four of their next five games at home, before heading on a southern road swing November 9th.

If the Flyers are going to maintain while Pronger is out, it sure wouldn't hurt to keep getting production from 39-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who scored his first two goals of the season -- his first in the NHL since 2008 -- while adding an assist as he played a season-high 18:26 on a line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell.

While Jagr took some time to get on the scoresheet this season, he's putting himself in position to score, registering 24 shots on goal in just under 126 minutes of ice time this season, good enough to rank 21st in shots on goal per 60 minutes thus far.

 

RANK PLAYER TEAM POS. SHOTS/60
1. Andrew Desjardins San Jose C 17.88
2. Max Pacioretty Montreal LW 16.30
3. Thomas Vanek Buffalo LW 14.97
4. Henrik Zetterberg Detroit LW 14.92
5. Evander Kane Winnipeg LW 14.57
6. Mathieu Darche Montreal LW 13.27
7. Matt Martin N.Y. Islanders LW 13.07
8. James Neal Pittsburgh LW 13.03
9. Gabriel Landeskog Colorado LW 12.97
10. Marian Gaborik N.Y. Rangers RW 12.59
11. James van Riemsdyk Philadelphia LW 12.59
12. Teemu Selanne Anaheim RW 12.44
13. Marian Hossa Chicago RW 12.35
14. Patrick Sharp Chicago RW 12.26
15. John Tavares N.Y. Islanders C 12.19
16. Tyler Seguin Boston C/RW 12.13
17. Shane Doan Phoenix RW 12.09
18. Jeff Carter Columbus C 12.04
19. Danny Cleary Detroit LW 11.94
20. Tyler Kennedy Pittsburgh RW 11.63
21. Jaromir Jagr Philadelphia RW 11.44
22. Taylor Hall Edmonton LW 11.41
23. Ryane Clowe San Jose LW 11.29
24. Jeff Skinner Carolina RW 11.26
25. Joe Pavelski San Jose C/RW 11.16

* - Minimum 5 games played.

This chart provides a nice segue to the player ranked second in shots per 60 minutes, Canadiens LW Max Pacioretty, who suffered a wrist injury Monday night against Florida. Pacioretty is the Canadiens' leading scorer, with six points in eight games, and ranks second in the league with 36 shots on goal.

Given the Canadiens' start, they can ill-afford any more injuries, let alone one to one of their few players playing up to expectations, but if Pacioretty's wrist is broken, that likely means at least a month on the sidelines and more line juggling for Montreal.

What makes Montreal's 1-5-2 start so maddening is that the Habs are outshooting their opposition 33.9 to 26.6 on average. The margin of 7.3 shots per game ranks third in the league, so it's a matter of getting some of the percentages to regress to the mean.

To wit, Montreal is scoring on 6.6% of their shots (which ranks 27th in the league), while opponents are scoring on 11.7% of their shots (also 27th in the league). Unless the Canadiens are taking unusually low percentage and allowing unusually high percentage shots, these numbers should not hold long-term.

By comparison, with Carey Price enjoying a strong season last year, the Habs allowed 8.1% of opponent's shots to score, while scoring on a modest 8.2% in their own right.

Given the shot differential they are establishing this season, if those percentages come back closer to league average, the tide should turn, but if the Canadiens can't get healthy, the odds are against the percentages turning in their favour anytime soon.

Another name on that chart is Winnipeg LW Evander Kane, who has points in back-to-back games and played a season-high 17:31 in Monday;s loss to the Rangers, playing on a line with Alexander Burmistrov and Nik Antropov.

After being a forgotten man for the first couple weeks, inexplicably playing under 15 minutes in five of the first six games, Kane appears to be returning to a prominent role in the Jets' plans.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy Sports for Facebook.

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