Balanced scoring, Nilsson fueling Canucks' hot play
The surprising Vancouver Canucks; Baertschi, Boeser, Dorsett and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
The Vancouver Canucks have been surprisingly effective early in the NHL season, going 6-3-1 in the first 10 games.
Even more surprising is that they have been doing this with the Sedins playing 14 minutes a night. They have new leaders.
In Thursday’s 6-2 win over Washington, Sven Baertschi scored two goals and added an assist. He has eight points (4 G, 4 A) in the past seven games.
Canucks rookie RW Brock Boeser recorded three assists against Washington and now leads the team with nine points (2 G, 7 A) in eight games. Yes, he missed two games this year because he was a healthy scratch to start the season.
Coming into the season, expectations for the Canucks, generally, were quite modest, but there were some hopes for a talented rookie like Boeser and for continued development from last year’s leading scorer, Bo Horvat, who produced a goal and an assist against Washington, giving him five points (2 G, 3 A) in the past five games.
On the other hand, there were virtually no expectations on agitating winger Derek Dorsett. The 30-year-old played just 14 games last season due to neck surgery and he’s never scored more than 25 points in a season. However, Dorsett contributed a goal and an assist against Washington and has eight points (6 G, 2 A) in 10 games this season.
It’s not as though the Canucks are a powerhouse, with a 49.2% score-adjusted Corsi, and there’s a long way to go, but they have been more competitive than expected through the first 10 games of the season.
Radim Vrbata – Florida’s veteran winger recorded a hat trick in a 8-3 rout over Anaheim, his first goals of the season. He now has eight points (3 G, 5 A) in nine games.
Teuvo Teravainen – Carolina’s 23-year-old winger is off to a strong start, and he busted out for a goal and two assists in a 6-3 win at Toronto. He has five points (3 G, 2 A) in the past five games.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau – The start has not been as great for Pageau, but he had a nice performance in a 5-4 win against Philadelphia, scoring one goal and adding a couple of assists. With Kyle Turris out due to illness, Pageau played a season-high 20:54. He has five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past four games.
Sean Couturier – Philadelphia’s new number one centre produced a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss at Ottawa. He has 11 points (7 G, 4 A) in the past eight games.
Jonathan Quick – After posting a 40-save shutout in a 4-0 win at Montreal, the Kings netminder has a league-leading .944 save percentage in eight starts.
Shea Weber – Montreal’s workhorse blueliner was on the ice for all four goals against in a 4-0 defeat against Los Angeles.
Connor Brown and Tyler Bozak – The Leafs duo struggled (9 for, 18 against, 33.3 CF%, 5-14 scoring chances) and were on the ice for three 5-on-5 goals against in a 6-3 loss to Carolina.
Mike Reilly and Kyle Quincey – The Wild defence pairing had a rough night (3 for, 19 against, 13.6 CF%, 1-6 scoring chances) and were on the ice for two goals against in a 6-4 win against the Islanders.
Mattias Janmark – It was a tough game (11 for, 21 against, 34.4 CF%) for the Stars winger, who was on the ice for four goals against in a 5-4 loss at Edmonton.
John Gibson – The Ducks netminder was pulled after allowing six goals on 17 shots in two periods of an 8-3 loss at Florida. He had a .946 save percentage in his previous six games.
Braden Holtby – Washington’s star goaltender gave up five goals on 22 shots in a 6-2 loss at Vancouver. He had a .939 save percentage in his previous five starts.
Kings C Adrian Kempe continued his hot streak, scoring a goal and adding an assist in a 4-0 win at Montreal, giving him nine points (6 G, 3 A) in the past five games…Hurricanes C Josh Jooris scored two goals in a 6-3 win at Toronto. He has three points (2 G, 1 A) and eight shots on goal in the past two games…Hurricanes C Victor Rask added a goal and an assist in Toronto, his first points since the first game of the season…Hurricanes D Haydn Fleury contributed a couple of assists, the first points of his NHL career…Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist in the loss to Carolina; he has six points (3 G, 3 A) in the past four games… Rangers RW Michael Grabner scored two goals and had 10 shot attempts (8 SOG) in a 4-2 win against Arizona; he had one goal in the previous seven games…Rangers RW Pavel Buchnevich also scored a pair of goals, giving him four points (3 G, 1 A) in the past five games…Rangers rookie C Boo Nieves put up three assists in his first NHL game of the season. He had three points (2 G, 1 A) in seven AHL games before getting called up… Senators D Erik Karlsson had a pair of assists in a 5-4 win against Philadelphia, and has eight assists in five games…Flyers LW Travis Konecny, D Ivan Provorov and RW Jakub Voracek each had a goal and an assist in a 5-4 loss at Ottawa. Konecny had one assist in the previous five games, Provorov had one assist in his previous six games, and Voracek has 14 points (1 G, 13 A) in 10 games… Lightning RW Nikita Kucherov stayed on his roll with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win over Detroit. He also recorded 13 shot attempts (8 SOG)…Red Wings C Frans Nielsen scored both Detroit goals in a 3-2 loss at Tampa Bay; he had zero points in the previous five games…Panthers C Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck both had a goal and two assists in an 8-3 win over Anaheim. Barkov has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in the past four games, and Trocheck has six points (2 G, 4 A) in the past four games…Panthers RW Evgeni Dadonov scored a couple of goals against Anaheim, and has nine points (4 G, 5 A) in the past nine games…Panthers LW Jonathan Huberdeau and LW Connor Brickley both added a pair of assists. Huberdeau has five assists in the past four games and Brickley has seven points (2 G, 5 A) in eight games…Ducks RW Logan Shaw recorded a goal and an assist in an 8-3 loss at Florida. He had one assist in his previous eight games…Ducks C Chris Wagner chipped in a couple of assists and has five points (2 G, 3 A) in the past four games…Islanders RW Josh Bailey earned three assists in a 6-4 loss at Minnesota; he has eight points (2 G, 6 A) during a five-game point streak…Islanders rookie C Mathew Barzal and D Nick Leddy both had a goal and an assist in the loss. Barzal has five points (2 G, 3 A) in the past five games and Leddy had one assist in his previous seven games…Islanders D Johnny Boychuk had a couple of assists at Minnesota, his first points of the season…Wild LW Marcus Foligno and C Eric Staal both produced a goal and an assist in a 6-4 win over the Islanders. Foligno has five points (2 G, 3 A) in seven games and Staal has seven points (4 G, 3 A) in the past seven games…Wild D Jared Spurgeon recorded a couple of assists, giving him seven points (1 G, 6 A) in the past seven games…Oilers C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals in a 5-4 win vs. Dallas; he had one assist in the previous five games…Oilers RW Leon Draisaitl earned three assists, giving him six points (1 G, 5 A) in five games…Oilers LW Milan Lucic chipped in a couple of assists against Dallas; he had one assist in his previous six games…Oilers D Darnell Nurse contributed two assists; he had one assist in his previous eight games…Stars RW Alexander Radulov put up a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss at Edmonton. He has five points (2 G, 3 A) in the past five games…Stars LW Jamie Benn scored two goals at Edmonton, and has 13 points (7 G, 6 A) in the past eight games…Stars D Dan Hamhuis added a couple of helpers, giving him five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past five games.
Lightning LW Ondrej Palat had strong possession numbers (16 for, 3 against, 84.2 CF%, 8-0 scoring chances) in a 3-2 win against Detroit…Canadiens rookie RW Nikita Scherbak didn’t play much (4:43 at 5-on-5), but he had a rough game (1 for, 11 against, 8.3 CF%) against Los Angeles…Oilers forwards Drake Caggiula, Jujhar Khaira and Zack Kassian all had the same impressive possession stats (13 for, 3 against, 81.3 CF%) in a 5-4 win over Dallas.
Bruins G Anton Khudobin turned aside 36 of 37 shots in a 2-1 win vs. San Jose, and has a .926 save percentage in five games…Penguins G Matt Murray stopped 30 of 31 shots in a 2-1 overtime win against Winnipeg; he has a .936 save percentage in his past seven starts…Jets G Connor Hellebuyck had 34 saves on 36 shots in the loss at Pittsburgh, giving him a .939 save percentage in his past five starts.
Danton Heinen – The Bruins rookie scored the first two goals of his career, in his 12th career game, a 2-1 win over San Jose.
Owen Tippett – The 10th pick in the 2017 Draft tallied his first NHL goal, in his fourth game, an 8-3 win over Anaheim.
Luke Kunin – Drafted 15th overall in 2016, the Wild winger scored his first NHL goal in his fifth game, a 6-4 win against the Islanders.
Zack Mitchell – Minnesota’s 24-year-old winger scored his first NHL goal, in his 15th game, a 6-4 win over the Islanders.
Kalle Kossila – The Ducks centre scored his first career goal in his third game, an 8-3 loss at Florida.
Chandler Stephenson – Washington’s checking centre notched his first NHL goal in his 14th game, a 6-2 loss at Vancouver.
Filip Chlapik – The 2015 second-rounder made his NHL debut, and recorded an assist, in a 5-4 win over Philadelphia. He had three assists in seven AHL games.
Mike Amadio – A 2014 third-round pick by Los Angeles, Amadio made his NHL debut in the Kings’ 4-0 win at Montreal. He had two assists in five AHL games.
Scott Cullen can be reached at email@example.com