A look at the league’s best defence pairings, a Flames rookie with a breakout game, a Carolina line dominates against Dallas and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Last week, I took an early look at the most productive lines in the league so, this week, it’s time to check out the top defence pairings.
I’ve tried to find the top defenceman on each team and his most common partner and included that pair in the chart below. For Canadian teams, I’ve included at least a couple of pairings.
The Senators defence pairing of Fredrik Claesson and Erik Karlsson has controlled more than 59% of the shots when they’ve been together, but they’ve only played a little more than 70 minutes together, so they may need an asterisk at the top of the table. Even those pairs that have been together all year are still dealing with small samples at this point, so those that have been together for fractions of that small sample may be riding an unsustainable short-term wave.
The next grouping, however, gives a pretty good idea about the top defence tandems in the league early in this season: Calgary’s Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton, Columbus’ Zach Werenski and Seth Jones, and Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson.
It's early, and some players have missed time with injuries, and others have been rotating through various partners, so it could take some time for results to settle overall. However, Calgary, Columbus and Anaheim are among the teams that have a great top pair around which to build their blueline corps.
A look at the top defence pairings:
TOP DEFENCE PAIRINGS
From Monday’s games…
Mark Jankowski – The Flames rookie tallied a pair of goals and added an assist in a 7-4 win against St. Louis. The 23-year-old pivot had no points in his first seven games, but has now scored goals in back-to-back games and played a career-high 14:25 against the Blues.
Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho – Carolina’s trio dominated in a 5-1 win over Dallas. Teravainen recorded the first hat trick of his career, and added an assist, while Staal had four assists and Aho contributed his first goal of the season plus two assists.
Teravainen has 11 points (4 G, 7 A) in the past nine games, Staal has eight points (4 G, 4 A) in the past seven games, and Aho has seven points (1 G, 6 A) in the past seven games.
John Klingberg - Dallas' playmaking defenceman had a tough night (12 for, 19 against, 38.5 CF%) and was on for three goals against in a 5-1 loss at Carolina.
Jake Allen – The Blues netminder surrendered six goals on 36 shots in a 7-4 loss at Calgary. He has a .860 save percentage in his past four starts.
Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals in a 7-4 loss at Calgary, giving him 10 points (5 G, 5 A) in the past seven games…Blues left wingers Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen both had a goal and an assist at Calgary. Schwartz had nine points (3 G, 6 A) in the past seven games while Steen had two assists in his previous eight games…Blues centres Paul Stastny and Brayden Schenn both contributed a couple of assists against the Flames. Stastny had one assist in his previous six games, while Schenn has 11 points (2 G, 9 A) during a five-game point streak…Flames left wingers Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau both produced a goal and an assist against St. Louis. Bennett now has three points on the season, all coming within the past two games, and Gaudreau has 12 points (5 G, 7 A) during a seven-game point streak…Flames LW Matthew Tkachuk chipped in a couple of assists, giving him eight points (2 G, 6 A) in the past nine games…Hurricanes G Scott Darling stopped 25 of 26 shots in a 5-1 win against Dallas, the third time in four starts that he’s allowed a single goal against. After some rough games to being the year, Darling has a .937 save percentage in his past four starts.
Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org