Draisaitl drives the Oilers to victory; Staal, Palat, Muzzin, Saros and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Leon Draisaitl – The Oilers forward led the way against New Jersey, recording a goal and two assists in a 3-2 overtime win. He has 21 points (9 G, 12 A) in the past 20 games. Draisaitl is taking advantage of his opportunity to play alongside Connor McDavid and Patrick Maroon on Edmonton’s top line.
McDavid added two assists against New Jersey, giving him 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in the past nine games and when the Maroon, McDavid and Draisaitl line is on the ice at 5-on-5 this season, they have controlled 65.3% of the shot attempts; utterly dominant.
Eric Staal – The Wild pivot is turning out to be on the best free agent signings from last summer. He put up a goal and two assists in a 7-1 rout over Montreal, giving him 20 points (8 G, 12 A) in the past 14 games. He’s up to 38 points in 40 games on the season.
Ondrej Palat – The Lightning left winger scored two goals and added an assist in a 4-2 win over Buffalo. That leaves Palat with eight points (5 G, 3 A) in the past eight games, yet his 21 points in 38 games is his lowest (0.55) per-game production since 2012-2013 when he was called up for his first 14 NHL games and managed four points.
Jake Muzzin – In a 5-1 win over St. Louis, the Kings defenceman scored a couple of goals, giving him six points (3 G, 3 A) in the past six games.
Juuse Saros – Nashville’s rookie netminder had 35 saves on 36 shots in a 2-1 win over Boston. He’s not very big, but has a .957 save percentage in eight starts this season, numbers that may force him into a bigger role for the Predators in the second half.
Kris Letang - Pittsburgh's number one defenceman had team-worst possession stats (10 for, 20 against, 33.3 CF%, 0-9 scoring chances) and was on for two goals against in a 4-1 loss at Ottawa.
Jeff Petry and Nathan Beaulieu - The Montreal defencemen were on the ice for three goals against in a 7-1 loss at Minnesota.
Jarome Iginla - It was a rought night against Anaheim for the veteran Avalanche winger. He had poor possession stats (11 for, 19 against, 36.7 CF%, 3-8 scoring chances) and was on for three even-strength goals against in a 4-1 loss to Anaheim.
Carey Price – Montreal’s star netminder has hit a slump. He allowed seven goals on 24 shots in the loss at Minnesota and has a .881 save percentage over his past seven games.
Jake Allen – St. Louis’ goaltending issues continue, as Allen gave up three goals on 15 shots before getting pulled in a 5-1 defeat at Los Angeles. He has a .877 save percentage in his past eight games.
Ryan Getzlaf - Anaheim's first-line centre returned to action after missing 11 days with a lower-body injury.
Jamie Benn - Dallas' star winger returned to action, playing his first game in 2017, after missing time with a foot injury.
Roman Josi – Nashville’s star defenceman suffered a head injury after taking a high and late hit from Bruins rookie winger Anton Blidh. With P.K. Subban already out, the Predators can’t afford to be without Josi, but that’s how it appears to be playing out right now.
Tuukka Rask – Boston’s goaltender took a puck in the throat at Nashville, forcing him to leave the game, though he indicated that he would be okay before leaving the arena.
Ben Bishop – Tampa Bay’s towering goalie returned to make his first start in a little more than three weeks due to a lower-body injury, stopping 24 of 26 shots in a 4-2 win over Buffalo.
Matt Murray – Pittsburgh’s rookie netminder made his first start in a couple of weeks due to a lower-body injury; he allowed four goals on 33 shots in a 4-1 loss at Ottawa.
Radko Gudas – Philadelphia made the hard-hitting defenceman a healthy scratch against Vancouver. Since the beginning of December, his score/venue/zone-adjusted Corsi is 53.6%, pretty effective.
Mike Ribeiro – The Predators made the veteran centre a healthy scratch against Boston. He had no goals and three assists in the previous 13 games.
Anton Slepyshev – Edmonton called up the 22-year-old winger for his first NHL game in more than a month. He had 10 points (3 G, 7 A) in nine AHL games.
Wild D Matt Dumba registered three assists in a 7-1 win over Montreal, and has eight points (2 G, 6 A) in the past 10 games…Wild LW Nino Niederreiter scored two goals against Montreal; he had four points (1 G, 3 A) in the previous 10 games…Wild D Ryan Suter added a goal and an assist; he has five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past six games…Wild D Jared Spurgeon had a couple of helpers against Montreal, and has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in the past seven games…Canucks RW Markus Granlund scored two goals in a 5-4 shootout loss at Philadelphia; he has five points (4 G, 1 A) in the past four games…Canucks RW Jayson Megna had a couple of assists at Philadelphia. He had one assist in his previous 15 games…Canucks C Brandon Sutter scored a goal and added an assist at Philadelphia. He has five points (3 G, 2 A) in the past six games…Flyers C Sean Couturier led the Flyers with a goal and an assist against Vancouver; he had two goals and zero assists in the previous nine games…Senators C Derick Brassard and D Erik Karlsson both had two assists in a 4-1 win over Pittsburgh. Brassard has five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past five games and Karlsson had one assist in his previous six games…Red Wings RW Gustav Nyquist and C Henrik Zetterberg both had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 loss at Dallas. Nyquist had zero goals and four assists in his previous 20 games and Zetterberg has 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in the past 11 games…Ducks LW Rickard Rakell contributed a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win at Colorado snapping a five-game point drought…Kings LW Tanner Pearson scored twice in a 5-1 win against St. Louis, giving him 10 points (6 G, 4 A) in the past 10 games…Kings C Jeff Carter and RW Dustin Brown both had a couple of assists against St. Louis. Carter has 15 points (8 G, 7 A) in the past 11 games, while Brown had two points (1 G, 1 A) in his previous 10 games...Oilers D Kris Russell had a strong game (22 for, 6 against, 78.6 CF%, 14-1 scoring chances) in a 3-2 overtime win against New Jersey.
Ducks G John Gibson had 33 saves on 34 shots in a 4-1 win at Colorado. He’s on a good run, with a .944 save percentage in the past 11 games…Senators G Mike Condon stopped 29 of 30 shots in a 4-1 win over Pittsburgh; he has a .923 save percentage in the past 10 games…Stars G Anti Niemi turned away 31 of 33 shots in a 5-2 win against Detroit and has a .929 save percentage in the past 10 games.
Steve Santini – The hard-hitting blueliner scored his first NHL goal, in his seventh NHL game, a 3-2 overtime loss at Edmonton. Santini had no points in 15 AHL games this season, but has three points (1 G, 2 A) in six games with the Devils.
Some high-percentage shooters that are likely due for regression in the second half of the season:
Artem Anisimov – The Blackhawks centre is rolling, with 18 goals in 40 games, but he’s shoting a league-best 25.7% and his career-high for goals is 22.
Michael Grabner – While he creates breakaways like few others, Grabner has not typically been a great finisher, especially in recent seasons, but now he’s shooting 22.1% and has 19 goals in 41 games. He has one season with more than 20 goals – his rookie season of 2010-2011 when he scored 34.
Marcus Johansson – The Capitals winger has typically been an above-average finisher (13.7% for his career), but he sits at 21.9% this year and doesn’t generate enough shots (1.56 per game) to have faith in his goal-scoring prowess.
Sidney Crosby – What? How dare I question No. 87! I know the Penguins superstar is creating a lot of high-quality shots this year and the last time he was generating notably more shots per game was 2010-2011, but he’s also shooting a career-best 21.7%. He’s a career 14.8% shooter, and that’s great, so it’s not going to be easy to remain north of 20%.
Scott Cullen can be reached at email@example.com