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Scott Cullen

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Smith backstops the Flames to victory; Marner, Seguin, Matthews, Tavares, Radulov, Rielly, Monahan and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.

The Calgary Flames took a surprising 3-0 decision in Nashville Tuesday, thanks to veteran goaltender Mike Smith, who stopped all 43 shots that he faced for the shutout. That raises his save percentage to .906 in three games. He had previously allowed eight goals on 42 shots.

Predators winger Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala were the two most frustrated by Smith, as they combined for 11 shots on goal, including several high-quality chances.

Smith’s injury was such a big part of the Flames falling off of the playoff pace, so it comes as no surprise that he is an important part of the Flames’ hopes this season.

Smith has a .916 save percentage in 58 games with Calgary since the start of last season. His expected save percentage in that time (via Corsica Hockey) is .908, and his delta save percentage (save percentage minus expected save percentage) of .081 ranks seventh among starting goaltenders.

So, while his career has had some ups and downs, Smith has been very good since arriving in Calgary.

HEROES

Mitch Marner – Toronto’s playmaking winger put up a goal and three assists in a 7-4 win at Dallas, doubling his point total to give him eight points (2 G, 6 A) in four games.

Tyler Seguin – Dallas’ top centre notched a goal with three helpers in a 7-4 loss to Toronto, giving him eight points (3 G, 5 A) in three games.

Auston Matthews and John Tavares – The Maple Leafs centres both scored two goals in a 7-4 win at Dallas. They have combined for 13 goals between them in four games.

Alexander Radulov – The Stars winger produced a goal and two assists against Toronto, and has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in three games.

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Morgan Rielly is riding Toronto's early-season scoring wave.

Morgan Rielly – Toronto’s top defender continued his stellar start to the season, posting four assists at Dallas. He has 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in four games.

Sean Monahan – Calgary’s first-line centre scored a pair of goals in a 3-0 win at Nashville and has five points (4 G, 1 A) in three games. His left winger, Johnny Gaudreau assisted on all three Flames goals, giving him seven points (1 G, 6 A) in three games.

Nick Foligno – Columbus’ captain tallied two goals and added an assist in a 5-2 win over Colorado, giving him four points (2 G, 2 A) in three games.

Kevin Labanc – The Sharks winger put up four assists in an 8-2 win at Philadelphia and has five points (1 G, 4 A) in four games.

Sven Baertschi – In a 5-3 loss at Carolina, the Canucks winger delivered a pair of goals plus an assist, his first points of the season.

ZEROES

Andrew MacDonald – It was a rough night for many Flyers, but the veteran defenceman was on the wrong side of the puck (9 for, 29 against, 23.7 CF%, 6-15 scoring chances) and on the ice for three goals against in an 8-2 loss to San Jose.

Brock Boeser – The sophomore Canucks winger had a tough game (8 for, 18 against, 30.8 CF%) and was on the ice for three goals against in a 5-3 loss at Carolina. He also had just one shot on goal, his third shot on goal in three games this season.

Mark Barberio – Colorado’s blueliner struggled (1 for, 10 against, 9.1 CF%) in a 5-2 loss at Columbus.

Ben Bishop – The Dallas netminder surrendered six goals on 29 shots in a 7-4 loss to Toronto.

Brian Elliott – When your team gives up 48 shots as the Flyers did against San Jose, it’s obviously not all on the goaltender, but eight goals against is still eight goals against.

VITAL SIGNS

Kristian Vesalainen, Jack Roslovic, and Mathieu Perreault – The Jets’ third line was benched against Los Angeles, with all three finishing under eight minutes of ice time.

SHORT SHIFTS

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Sebastian Aho and the Hurricanes are off to a strong start.

Sharks LW Evander Kane and C Joe Pavelski both scored twice in an 8-2 rout at Philadelphia. Kane has four goals in four games and those were Pavelski’s first points of the season…Sharks D Erik Karlsson and D Marc-Edouard Vlasic both had a couple of helpers and now both have three assists in four games…Flyers RW Wayne Simmonds recorded a goal and an assist in an 8-2 loss to San Jose, giving him four points (3 G, 1 A) in three games…Flyers LW Claude Giroux added a pair of assists and has four assists in three games…Hurricanes C Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win against Vancouver. He has six points (2 G, 4 A) in four games…Hurricanes RW Teuvo Teravainen and D Jaccob Slavin both had a pair of assists. Teravainen has four points (1 G, 3 A) in four games and Slavin has three assists in four games…Canucks D Alexander Edler chipped in a couple of assists in a 5-3 loss at Carolina, giving him four assists in three games…Maple Leafs D Ron Hainsey had a goal and an assist in a 7-4 win at Dallas, his first points of the season. Maple Leafs RW Kasperi Kapanen added a couple of assists, his second straight multi-point game…The Sharks line of Marcus Sorensen, Antti Suomela and Joonas Donskoi controlled play (22 for, 2 against, 91.7 CF%, 12-2 scoring chances) at a ridiculous rate in an 8-2 rout at Philadelphia…Kings G Jack Campbell stopped 37 of 39 shots in a 2-1 loss at Winnipeg. He has a .948 save percentage in two starts.

FIRSTS

Sheldon Dries – The undrafted winger out of Western Michigan made his NHL debut for Colorado in a 5-2 loss at Columbus. He scored 10 goals in 22 AHL playoff games for Texas last season.

Many of the advanced stats used here come from Natural Stat TrickCorsica and Hockey Reference.

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