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Scott Cullen

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McDavid makes the difference for the Oilers; Bergeron, Tatar and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.

Edmonton’s second-year superstar centre Connor McDavid scored the overtime winner, and added two assists, in a 4-3 OT win against Florida. He has 14 points (3 G, 11 A) in the past 12 games and maintains his scoring lead with 54 points in 47 games.

While McDavid’s goal-scoring is down a bit (15 goals in 47 games this season, after scoring 16 in 45 last season), he’s generating more shots. 

In the past dozen games, he’s averaging 3.58 shots on goal per game, lifting his season average to 3.02 per game, which is nearly a 30% improvement (his ice time is up nearly 18% this season, so that would account for some), so even though the goals haven’t been there quite so readily this year, McDavid is creating more opportunities.

Here are the forwards with the best scoring chances/60 (via Corsica Hockey, minimum 400 5-on-5 minutes):

 

FORWARD LEADERS, SCORING CHANCES/60

PLAYER TEAM POS SCF/60
Patric Hornqvist Pittsburgh RW 13.7
Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh C 13.5
Conor Sheary Pittsburgh LW 13.4
Jordan Staal Carolina C 12.5
Connor McDavid Edmonton C 12.1
Brendan Gallagher Montreal RW 11.8
Justin Williams Washington RW 11.8
Tyler Bozak Toronto C 11.7
Zach Hyman Toronto LW 11.7
Auston Matthews Toronto C 11.6

HEROES

Patrice Bergeron – Boston’s outstanding two-way centre put up a goal and two assists in a 6-5 shootout loss at Detroit, giving him 11 points (5 G, 6 A) in the past 11 games. He had 10 points (5 G, 5 A) in the first 34 games this season.

Tomas Tatar – The Detroit winger led the way with a goal and two assists in the win over Boston, giving him 11 points (6 G, 5 A) in the past 14 games. 

ZEROES

Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Luke Schenn – The Arizona defence pairing was clobbered (11 for, 21 against, 34.4 CF%, 5-11 scoring chances) and they were on for four goals against together (Ekman-Larsson was on the ice for another, making it five!) in a 6-3 loss at Winnipeg.

Max Pacioretty and Nathan Beaulieu – The Habs captain and improving young blueliner were both on the ice for three even-strength goals against in a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh.

Anze Kopitar – It was a difficult night against San Jose, as the Kings centre failed to record a shot attempt and had a poor possession game (5 for, 11 against, 31.3 CF%, 1-6 scoring chances) in a 3-2 loss to San Jose.

Tuukka Rask – Boston’s netminder is struggling. He allowed five goals on 25 shots in a 6-5 shootout loss at Detroit and has a .866 save percentage in his past seven games.

VITAL SIGNS

Ondrej Pavelec – Making his first NHL start of the season, Pavelec stopped 30 of 33 shots in a 6-3 win against Arizona. He had a .917 save percentage in 18 AHL games. 

Jake Guentzel – The Penguins have called up the 22-year-old winger and he scored a goal in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win at Montreal. He has six points (4 G, 2 A) in seven NHL games, and was tearing up the AHL with 42 points (21 G, 21 A) in 33 games.

Cameron Gaunce – Injuries on the blueline prompted the Penguins to call up the 26-year-old journeyman defenceman, who had eight points (2 G, 6 A) and a plus-6 rating in 39 AHL games. It’s interesting to see Gaunce get the nod ahead of Derrick Pouliot.

SHORT SHIFTS

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The Wings need more out of Dylan Larkin if they are going to keep their playoff streak alive.

Red Wings C Dylan Larkin had a goal and an assist in a 6-5 shootout win against Boston. He had no goals and one assist in his previous seven games…Bruins LW Frank Vatrano scored two goals in Boston’s loss, giving him four points (3 G, 1 A) in the past five games…Bruins LW Brad Marchand earned two assists against Detroit, and has 14 points (7 G, 7 A) in the past eight games…Bruins D Adam McQuaid had a goal and an assist vs. Detroit after recording a single assist in his first 42 games this season…Jets C Bryan Little contributed a goal and an assist in a 6-3 win over Arizona, and has five points (2 G, 3 A) in the past five games…Panthers D Aaron Ekblad chipped in a couple of assists in a 4-3 overtime loss at Edmonton, giving him four assists in the past three games. He had one assist in the previous 13 games…Sharks C Joe Thornton had two assists in a 3-2 win at Los Angeles. He had three points (1 G, 2 A) in the previous nine games…Kings RW Dustin Brown assisted on both Los Angeles goals against San Jose, and has six points (2 G, 4 A) in the past five games…Jets D Jacob Trouba scored a goal, and had 13 shot attempts (5 SOG), in a 6-3 win vs. Arizona…Bruins D John-Michael Liles had a strong possession game (13 for, 2 against, 86.7 CF%, 6-1 scoring chances) in a 6-5 shootout loss at Detroit.

FIRSTS

Michael Sgarbossa – The Panthers centre scored his first NHL goal – on the power play – in his 30th career game, a 4-3 overtime loss at Edmonton.

FANTASY FOCUS

Recently productive players that are still available in more than half of TSN leagues:

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It's possible that Tyler Bozak is now underrated.

Tyler Bozak – He may be Toronto’s third-best centre, but has eight points (3 G, 5 A) in the past six games. Owned: 28.3%

Michael Frolik – Having great success in Calgary on a line with Mikael Backlund, and has 12 points (5 G, 7 A) in the past 12 games. Owned: 22.1%

Andreas Athanasiou – Finally getting a legitimate chance to play, the Detroit winger has eight points (5 G, 3 A) in the past seven games. Owned: 7.3%

Jordan Staal – Known for his two-way game, the ‘Canes centre has nine points (2 G, 7 A) in the past seven games. Owned: 31.8%

Much of the data included comes from corsica.hockeystats.hockeyanalysis.com www.hockey-reference, www.naturalstattrick.com and www.datarink.com

Scott Cullen can be reached at scott.cullen@bellmedia.ca