Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stat Line of the Day: March 31st

St. Louis Blues: 10 G, 47 SOG vs. Detroit Red Wings

   Not the team you would think to score 10
   on the Red Wings for the first time in 18 years
Over the last 15 years, no team has had quite the success of the Detroit Red Wings. But before they won the Stanley Cup in 1997, they hadn't won a Cup in 42 years. Wednesday night's loss to the St. Louis Blues brings back memories of that "Dead Wing" era. The Blues posted 10 goals, with five in the second period alone. The last time the Red Wings gave up 10 goals in a single game was 1993. And eight goals in two periods? March 3, 1986. As for the Blues, the last time they scored in the double digits was in 1994 when they beat the Ottawa Senators 11-1. Tonight's game, however, also gives a unique insight into the current parity in the NHL. The Blues are on the verge of elimination in the Western Conference. The Red Wings, meanwhile, despite a bit of a late season slide over the last six games (1-3-2), are still in second place in the West and and 1st in the Central Division with a comfortable 6 point lead over the Nashville Predators. Despite this, the Blues came out tonight and scored on a whopping 21.3% of their recorded shots. Furthermore, these ten goals were scored by 9 different players. Chris Porter scored his first two goals of the season. Cam Janssen scored his first of the year tonight. Eight different forwards scored in this game, with only one goal coming from a defenseman. This kind of herculean effort bodes well for a team that is looking to build on this year's efforts next season. They have many of the right pieces in place, and this is a team that has a lot of success to build on next season. Although a game like Wednesday's match between the Red Wings and Blues is anomalous in the NHL, with its score looking more like a defensive football struggle than a hockey game, it does speak to what a developing team can do when it gets hard work from its entire lineup and perhaps some lucky bounces.

Honorable Mention

Jhonas Enroth (BUF): 0 GA, 23 Saves, 1.000 SV% vs. NYR
After a quick glance at tonight's score, I wasn't overly surprised to see that the Buffalo Sabres had shut out the New York Rangers. This isn't to say that the Rangers are particularly bad, or that the Sabres are particularly good, but merely that a shutout was not a rare event for Ryan Miller (he has 22 SO in 392 starts over 8 seasons).  But the winning goalie was not Miller, but rather Jhonas Enroth,  a 22-year-old playing in his 10th NHL game. Meanwhile, the impressive rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky of the Philadelphia Flyers has yet to post a shutout in 47 starts.  On the other hand, in his 49 starts this year, the Chicago Blackhawk's young Corey Crawford has posted four shutouts. Enroth was a 2nd round draft pick of the Sabres in 2006, and has spent the years since playing in both his native Sweden and for the Portland Pirates of the AHL, where he has posted 8 shutouts over two seasons. In his ten major league games, he has posted a .906 SV% and 2.77 GAA. Enroth may not be the next Ryan Miller, but nonetheless his first shutout is a nice achievement for the young goalie.

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