In the end, it all comes down to which team scored the most. Take a quick stroll through the NHL’s red-light district:
He’s old, injured and isn’t even mouthing off this year, but Jeremy Roenick still knows how to win: The Sharks center leads all NHLers with five game-winning goals, despite missing six contests with an injured knee (he’s listed as day-to-day).
Only two other Sharks have scored more than one game-winner through 32 games – Milan Michalek (three) and Joe Thornton (two).
From J.R. to P.S., as in Patrick Sharp, the Chicago Blackhawks winger who quietly has piled up 14 goals in 30 games, including a league-leading five shorthanded markers.
Sharp, who bounced around the Flyers organization for a few years, is a 26-year-old native of Thunder Bay, Ont., and scored 20 times – including three shorties – for the Hawks last season.
The NHL’s leading goal-scorers, a week before Christmas, reads like a list of the usual suspects:
Ilya Kovalchuk? Check.
Alex Ovechkin? Check.
Jarome Iginla? Check.
Vincent Lecavalier? Check.
Dany Heatley? Rick Nash? Daniel Alfredsson? Check, check and check.
There is, however, one fresh name in particular that’s worth a second look.
St. Louis Blues right-winger Brad Boyes. With 19 goals in 30 games, Boyes was tied for seventh place among all NHLers.
Boyes, a first round pick in 2000, already has been traded three times and is coming off a 17-goals-in-81-games campaign last season. The 25-year-old, who did put up 26 goals as a Bruins rookie in 2005-06, has benefited from skating on the Blues’ first line with Paul Kariya this season. (Doug Weight also played on the line until being traded to Anaheim Dec. 14; now, ex-Duck Andy McDonald is St. Louis’ No. 1 pivot.)
Believe it or not, Kovalchuk should shoot even more than he already does.
The Thrashers left-winger, who leads all NHLers in goals – yes, even Brad Boyes – has scored 26 times on 123 shots (tied for ninth). That’s good for a 21.1 shooting percentage (tied for seventh in the league).
You have to go all the way down to the 96th-ranked NHLer (in shots) to find a player with a better shooting percentage than Kovalchuk.
That player? Brad Boyes, who else? His 19 goals have come on 73 shots (26.0 percent). The NHL leader in shooting percentage is Dallas center Mike Ribeiro, at 40.0 percent (16 goals on 40 shots).
On the other hand, Toronto winger Jason Blake might want to think about faking the shot and passing off once in a while.
Blake, a notorious shoot-first player when he was with the New York Islanders, has continued that trend with the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. Blake, coming off a 40-goal campaign in 2006-07, was fifth in the NHL with 141 shots, but had managed only five goals (3.5 percent) in 33 games.
Only one NHLer has scored two overtime-winners this season. And it says here that you could take a lot of guesses before coming up with Atlanta center Todd White.
Guess all those opposing defenses were concentrating on Kovalchuk, White’s linemate.
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