Every now and then, I get bummed out about the NHL’s serious scoring problems.
A lot of times, it’s because I’m already in a bad mood for outside reasons. That’s not to say that the NHL is fine scoring-wise; if you ask me, it’s a significant problem that should not be ignored, even if that’s Gary Bettman’s MO (and always has been, aside from when the league is legitimately facing near-extinction).
No, it just tends to bother me more when I’m already cranky. It’s those darn kids playing baseball and breaking your window ending in a conniption instead of a shrug and a giggle. It’s not really about the window, even if it’s frustrating to replace it.
So, during times like these, I’d recommend trying to enjoy the little things.
For me, just looking at last night’s games, I’d say those moments come down to things like:
1) Brent Burns’ beard
2) The smooth, fluid movement of Washington’s power play.
3) Making jokes about Burns eating pizza.
5) Kyle Turris’ quiet ascension to borderline elite center status.
6) Phil Kessel getting his goals.
7) Johnny Gaudreau’s magic.
See, doesn’t that make you feel a little better? Does the trick for me.
Still though, wake up NHL. Look in the mirror and admit you have a real problem.
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PENGUINS 3, CAPITALS 1
-- This wasn't a horrible game by any means, especially in the present reality of scoring death we're living in. Still a bummer to see all that talent factoring into zero goals through two periods and only three combined if you discount the empty-netter.
Especially disconcerting since their methods are, to an extent, "working."
The Penguins have now won five of six games while the Capitals saw a five-game winning streak end.
-- For the first time in his career, Sidney Crosby hasn't scored a point in eight of nine games.
Not sure what's really going on, although this would be a great time to pry him away from a panicking fantasy manager. He only has one goal on 27 SOG, good for a terrible 3.7 shooting percentage. That should climb as the season settles down.
-- Man, Marc-Andre Fleury was really lights out in this one. He stopped 33 out of 34 shots last night and turned aside 38 out of 39 in his previous win. Despite a middling 5-4-0 record, he has an outstanding .937 save percentage.
Maybe the Penguins offense will lift him up if he stumbles after he did so for them.
-- Pittsburgh's power play really did look like the league's worst in this one. Wow.
-- David Perron got his first point in his last 12 games with a secondary assist. He does realize that he's in a contract year, right?
-- Evgeny Kuznetsov scored Washington's only goal, stretching his outstanding point streak (four goals, six assists) to four games. Astounding stuff.
SENATORS 5, FLAMES 4 (SO)
-- Bobby Ryan barreled over Jonas Hiller, leaving both shaken up. Ryan returned, but Hiller did not, and his situation is murky beyond it keeping him out through the end of the contest and that he has a lower-body injury.
-- Dougie Hamilton scored a goal in this one and (gasp) had a +1 rating. For Hamilton supporters, I'd say the biggest plus was his willingness to pull the trigger; he had seven SOG on this one. He only had 14 in his first nine games.
-- T.J. Brodie didn't get in on the scoring in this one, but he seemed spry enough in his return.
-- Sam Bennett scored his first regular season goal in this one, grabbing Calgary a point with a tying PPG. The Flames broke up Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler, so keep an eye out for updates in case that stands. Bennett also had an assist.
-- Craig Anderson deserves some credit in this one, even with four goals allowed, as Calgary generated a 38-23 shot advantage.
PREDATORS 2, SHARKS 1
-- With this win, the Predators are alone atop the Western Conference with a 7-1-1 record.
It's easy to see why. They've only allowed the first goal of a game once. They still haven't allowed a first-period goal. You do that, you're in a great spot, no matter the era, really.
-- This trip will test them, as this began a challenging four-game road run. They'll get a set of home dates after this (and then back for another extended trip), so it should be interesting to see how this team works.
-- Martin Jones robbed Filip Forsberg on a really well-executed 2-on-1 that included a saucy saucer pass by James Neal. Nashville lived off of support scoring in this one, while Joe Pavelski found the net on a nice rebound chance.
-- Apparently Cody Hodgson is the only Preds player to go without a point, at least who's dressed for every game, now that Gabriel Bourque got an assist. Nashville's nailed quite a few low-risk signings over the years, but Hodgson's obviously not off to a great start.
-- Pekka Rinne's numbers now: 6-1-1 with a .934 save percentage.