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THN.com Blog: Best and worst by the numbers

Simon Gagne has scored four shorthanded goals early this season. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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Simon Gagne has scored four shorthanded goals early this season. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The San Jose Sharks are 10-0-1 at home, with the only blemish a 4-3 overtime loss to Nashville on Remembrance Day. The Detroit Red Wings, meanwhile, are 8-1-1 on the road, for the best away-from-home record in the league. So what happens when the home-strong Sharks host the road-warrior Red Wings in the playoffs? Oh-so-long overtime games, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before?

We can only hope.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Islanders are the league’s worst with a 2-6-1 home record; the St. Louis Blues, meanwhile, are the lowest of the low at 2-4-1 on the road. In other words, don’t waste any time worrying about what a potential Isles-Blues playoff series might look like.

Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

It’s not a big surprise to see New Jersey’s power play struggling, as the Devils aren’t exactly loaded with firepower (especially since Patrik Elias decided to stop scoring after the lockout). In their first 16 games, New Jersey had seven power play goals, the fewest in the league, and their 12.1-percent efficiency is ranked 29th, a shade ahead of Columbus’ 12 percent.

It is, however, somewhat shocking to see the Devils pulling in at a lowly 27th in penalty-killing proficiency (74.6 percent; Minnesota leads the NHL with a 93.2-percent kill rate).

With Martin Brodeur on the shelf for three-plus months (elbow), the Devils are without their best penalty killer – and the loss of Brodeur is compounded by the fact New Jersey were also without two of its top defensemen (Paul Martin – who returned to the lineup Friday - and Andy Greene) and a pair of two-way centers (Brian Rolston, Bobby Holik).

Anyone notice the NHL’s leading scorer is a Washington Capitals winger named Alex – but it ain’t Ovechkin? Left winger Alexander Semin, spurred by a five-point night against Carolina this week, is clinging to a slim lead over Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin.

Semin also is running away with the plus/minus, at plus-17 after Friday night. That “other” Alex, Ovechkin, ranks second in the NHL at plus-14. Malkin enters the weekend on a 12-game point streak, the longest hot stretch of the season.

Meanwhile, Nashville’s Shea Weber leads in scoring among defensemen. Weber has seven goals in 15 games to lead all blueliners – and tie for the team lead among Preds players.

ODDS ‘N’ ENDS
Philadelphia’s Simon Gagne leads the NHL with four shorthanded goals in 14 games. No one else had more than two…

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Looks like San Jose’s Devin Setoguchi has arrived. After 11 goals and 17 points in a 44-game NHL debut last season, the Sharks right winger is second in league in shots and was 10th in scoring with nine goals and 18 points. He’s skating on the first line with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau; that might change when Jonathan Cheechoo returns from injury…

Finally, someone sent an 18-year-old back to junior. The Blues decided defenseman Alex Pietrangelo would fare better spending another season with the Ontario League’s Niagara Ice Dogs. Another Blues rookie, Patrik Berglund, leads NHL first-year players with a plus-9 rating; pretty impressive, considering St. Louis ranked one point out of dead last in the overall NHL standings…

The top four NHL goaltenders, ranked by goals-against average: Brian Boucher, San Jose (1.49), Tim Thomas, Boston (1.76), Erik Ersberg, Los Angeles (1.94) and Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers (1.99). Washington’s Brent Johnson (2.15) and Ottawa’s Alex Auld (2.18) are also among the top 10…

Thomas and Anderson were tied for the overall lead with a scintillating .946 save percentage; Boucher was trying to keep pace at .940…

Meanwhile, Dallas’s Marty Turco continued to struggle (3.69 GAA), while Calgary’s notoriously slow-starting Miikka Kiprusoff (3.49), Philadelphia’s Martin Biron (3.33) and Detroit’s Chris Osgood (3.31) are also looking to improve their numbers…

Zach Parise, 60-goal scorer? The Devils center had 12 goals in 16 games, right on pace for a Steve Shutt-ian season…

Did you know: Phoenix power forward Shane Doan has played 898 games without recording a hat trick. However, he does have 30 two-goal games to his credit…

In case you were wondering: Marian Hossa is on a 45-goal, 115-point pace in Detroit.

 

Sam McCaig’s From The Point column appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Have a point to make with Sam McCaig? You can reach him at smccaig@thehockeynews.com.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

 

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