If a team from the Eastern Conference has any shot at winning a Stanley Cup this year, it’s going to be thanks to the West grinding itself into fine powder and the eventual Hunger Games-esque victor being so banged up that they’re not the same hockey team they were at the start of playoffs. And really, that scenario isn’t that far-fetched. The team defenses are generally suffocating out West, so it’s going to take some blood and bruises to create anything.
The Los Angeles Kings are safely third in their division and eight points up on the final wild card spot, yet they can’t score goals to save their lives. Here’s the last three teams in the league in goals for:
Yup. Prestigious company you’re keeping there, Kings. But it doesn’t matter – to beat hockey teams you have to score on them, and the Kings give up a league-best 2.06 goals-per-game which is a head-asplode type number. So yes, they’re going to brutal to play in the post-season. Grind, grind, grind.
Beyond the Kings, five of the top seven teams in league goals-against-per-game are from the West, with the St. Louis Blues following up the Kings with a 2.27 nightly goals against.
And they felt the need to upgrade their goaltending.
Basically, I’m not sure if the Blues are going to give up a goal ever again (there’s some potential that might be hyperbole, but you get the point). Read the rest of this entry »
(Andy Marlin, Getty Images)
In 2012, the New Jersey Devils made a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Final and were the only team to win more than one game in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings. What makes the run particularly surprising is that the Devils missed the playoffs in the previous and subsequent seasons.
The Devils finished the 2010-11 season with 81 points, jumped up to 102 points in 2011-12, then dropped down to 48 points in 2012-13, an 82-point pace. It’s a remarkable trio of seasons, as the Devils jumped from 11th up to 6th in the Eastern Conference, then dropped right back down to 11th.
It’s enough to make you wonder exactly what happened in those three seasons and what will happen in the future, with the Devils losing both Ilya Kovalchuk and David Clarkson, while also adding some significant pieces. To go from well out of the playoffs to the Stanley Cup Final and right back to being well out of the playoffs is a stunning reversal of fortune, and it’s fortune itself that I want to investigate.
Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this season, I had a very brief sit down with Columbus and explained a reality: Detroit is just not that into you. As a rival, I mean.
The Wings once had a rivalry with Colorado that mattered, so I guess they might consider them a top opponent. They once had one with Chicago, so there’s that too. I think they might even consider St. Louis a rival. Regardless, I don’t think they’ve historically had you very high on their list of teams they’re concerned about.
Why’s that, you ask?
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary “rivalry” is defined as “not that.”
I did a little check to ensure that was right, and check this out – it’s never been close. Chart time! Read the rest of this entry »