Ondrej Pavelec (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)
We're through one month of the NHL season, and already there have been some amazing stretches of play from some of the league's best and brightest. See who takes top spot in our countdown of the top five streaks of the early season.
Under new coach Bill Peters, the Hurricanes stumbled out of the gate and lost their first nine games before finally getting Peters his first NHL win. Just when they seemed poised for that first victory, they’d have it snatched out from under their feet. It wasn’t great to watch.
But there are some of the best streaks. This is not a list of futility, but rather a list of incredible stretches from the first month of the 2014-15 season:
5. Miller sets Canucks record
When the St. Louis Blues traded for Ryan Miller late last season, it was supposed to be the deal that solved St. Louis’ supposed goaltending problem and helped the Blues to Stanley Cup glory. Instead, Miller posted a .897 save percentage and the Blues dropped the final four games of what would end up being a six game series.
In the off-season, Miller signed in Vancouver for three years at $6 million per season. At the time the move may have been questionable at best, but it’s paying off for the Canucks. In 10 starts this season, Miller has posted a .917 SP and won nine games. He’s the first goalie in Canucks history to win nine of his first 10 games.
4. Fuelled by Goaltending
The Winnipeg Jets were supposed to be the laughing stock of the Central Division and it was supposed to be thanks in large part to their goaltending. Things haven’t quite turned out that way.
Matter of fact, the only reason the Jets aren’t looking up from the basement of their division is thanks to the tandem of Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson. Last weekend the Jets posted back-to-back blank slates en route to setting the franchise record for longest team shutout streak, going 161 minutes, 17 seconds without allowing a goal.
It’s one of the most surprising – and one of the best – streaks of the early season.
3. Jakub Voracek hitting his stride
Since being drafted seventh overall in the 2007 draft, there has always been the feeling that we haven’t seen all that Jakub Voracek has to offer. He was always good, but never quite great. This season, he may be able to change that perspective in a big way.
With career highs of 23 goals and 62 points both coming last season, Voracek looks like he may build on those totals. He’s registered a point in each of Philadelphia’s last six games, scoring 11 of his 18 points over that time. Currently scoring at a 1.5 point-per-game pace, if he keeps it up, Voracek would nearly double his career high point total.
2. Fleury, Greiss put up brick wall
Three nights after blanking the Predators in Nashville, the Pittsburgh Penguins were back home riding high. Nine seconds into the game, the visiting New Jersey Devils scored. They tallied twice more early in the second period, the second coming from Tuomo Ruutu at 5:14. It took over a full week before the Penguins surrendered another goal.
The Penguins dominated both the Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres in consecutive games, shutting out both teams. When the Penguins walked into Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota to take on the Wild on Tuesday, Marc-Andre Fleury and Thomas Greiss put the streak on the line. It took until midway through the third frame for the shutout streak to finally be broken.
Nino Neiderreiter’s shorthanded goal halted the streak at 205 minutes, 28 seconds – good for second longest in Penguins history.
1. Evgeni Malkin cannot be stopped
Unlike Penguins opponents, who have been shutout on three occasions this season, super-sniper Evgeni Malkin is off to a torrid start.
In each of the Penguins games this season, the Russian super-sniper has picked up at least a point, racking up 16 over the course of the team’s 11 contests thus far. The streak – which is the longest of Malkin’s career – began on opening night and feels like it could be going for a good long while.
At 11 games, it’s the second longest point streak of Malkin’s career. In 2007-08 and again in 2009-10, the Russian superstar worked his way onto the score sheet in 15 straight contests.
The Penguins are dangerous with Sidney Crosby alone, but when Malkin is playing this well the rest of the NHL should be on notice.