Takin' a T/O With BT: A Streaky NHL Power Poll
For those on Bleacher Report that don't know, I write a weekly Power Poll every Friday for the NHL. This week it's centering on streaks and I figured it might be a good idea to try it out on B/R.
The point breakdown is very simple: Take the two points for a win, add goals-for, and subtract goals-against. Anyhow, hope you enjoy...
Streaks make or break a player, a season, a team, a series, and the game itself.
Where would hockey--let alone any sport--be without the almighty streak?
Or streakers for that matter, but this is a family program so I digress.
Just past the midpoint of the NHL season, we're seeing a lot of streaky teams and streaky players.
Kind of fitting that this week's power poll examines teams and the who, what, where, when, why, and how of their streaks and streakiness.
30. New York Islanders--(-12 points, Last week: -23 points): The Islanders have a few streaks going: One has them as the longest reigning last-place seed in this power poll, with the current standing at four weeks and counting.
They've also finished fourth place or lower in the Atlantic for three straight (soon to be four) seasons. While their futility isn't record setting, it leads to fewer stands in the fans, less support (voice vocal and fiduciary), and a floundering team that may or may not be moved within the next decade.
29. Toronto Maple Leafs--(-One point, Last week, Two points): To be honest, it'd be too easy to key on the "Leafs haven't won a Stanley Cup in 41 years" streak. That and it's probably the single-most depressing statistic in my life right now.
Why don't we pull up the fact that the Leafs have blown a lead in three of their past four losses in which they've scored a goal.
That and Jason Blake was on a five-game point streak until the Leafs were shutout by Buffalo last night.
28. Tampa Bay Lightning--Three points (Last week, 8 point): They've been dealing with Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors for 27 days. Aside from last year's Mats Sundin rumors, this has to be a record-long rumor regarding the trading of a team's captain right?
27. Atlanta Thrashers--Four points (Last week: Six points): Rounding out the end of January, the Thrashers were on a four game losing streak that was broken Tuesday night against the Rangers.
Coinciding with that streak was Rich Peverly's four-game point streak (as well as points in five of six games), while Kari Lehtonen has come off of back-to-back 40 save performances. Not really a streak so much as a pair, but if he can do it again I'll give it to him.
26. Ottawa Senators--Seven points (Last week, 11 points): How about this: Five games, Two games, and Five games.
Each of those represents a scoreless streak for Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jason Spezza this season. Alfrredsson's isn't bad, but considering the Sens rely on these three for 85-95 points per season, that's a big drop-off.
And if you're wondering, Filip Kuba has two five-game streaks, Antoine Vermette has a 10-game pointless streak this season, and Mike Fisher is dating Carrie Underwood (last time I checked).
So unless you count that last one, the secondary scoring hasn't been much better for the Sens this season.
Sidenote: I was wondering if it would be possible to use the term "secondary scoring" in the same way Sean Avery used the term "sloppy seconds" as in: 'Mike Fisher is providing Tony Romo's exes with some secondary scoring'.
There were two problems though: The first one being that that doesn't make any sense, and the second being that I can't afford to spend time in anger management.
Random Fact: I accidentally spelt it "sexondary scoring" before posting this. I guess sensitivity training isn't out of the question.
25. Phoenix Coyotes--25 points (Last week, 35 points): The Phoenix Coyotes are an easy team streak-wise. They've currently lost five straight and before Thursday night's 5-4 loss to Detroit, the 'Yotes has scored one or fewer goals in three straight games.
I'm hoping this team holds on and makes the playoffs, but if they can score four goals more often than they get one or zero, they'll have an enormously better chance (And you thought you wouldn't get your "duh" moment for the day).
24. Nashville Predators--25 points (Last week, 17): Four seasons. That would be Nashville's streak of "no one thinks we're going to make the playoffs but we're going to anyways, surprise everyone, and then have them doubt us next year". In other words: Don't count them out.
Until they get to the first round where they also have a four-season streak of losing in the first round (two to Detroit, two to San Jose).
23. St Louis Blues--29 points (Last week, 22): The St Louis Blues were in the National Hockey League Playoffs for 25 years ranging from 1979-2004.
They've also had five players selected in the first round of consecutive drafts play for the team this season (2004's Marek Schwarz, 2005's T.J. Oshie, 2006's Patrik Berglund, 2007's David Perron, and 2008's Alex Pietrangelo).
22. Carolina Hurricanes--30 points (Last week, 25): For the 'Canes, their past three games have featured short-handed goals.
On January 29th against Tampa Bay Chad Larose scored short-handed in a Carolina win, Matt Cullen scored one the next game against Atlanta (ironically with Larose assisting on it), and Alex Burrows of the Canucks scored a short-handed goals against them on Tuesday night.
21. Los Angeles Kings--31 points (Last week, 24 points): Jonathan Quick has been the winning goaltender in each of the Kings' past eight wins, meaning that the last Los Angeles goalie to win a game not named Quick was Erik Ersberg back on December 13th against Minnesota.
Speaking of streaks, Denis Gauthier is also going to miss five straight games thanks to his suspension. After the Kings' 1-0 win over Ottawa, he's only got four more games to go.
20. Colorado Avalanche--33 points (Last week, 37 points): Strange fact #345: The Colorado Avalanche played in two-straight games where they scored, and allowed, a power play goal--their 7-4 loss to Toronto and their 4-3 loss to Anaheim.
They were able to hold off the Calgary Flames Monday night though while scoring a power play goal, so the Avs currently have a three-game power-play goal streak going.
19. Edmonton Oilers--35 points (Last week, 42 points): Dustin Penner has had trouble in Edmonton this city. He's been benched during games, scratched for two straight games earlier this season, and now he's gone 0/0 in goals and assists in the past four games.
Another interesting trend: Penner has had two consecutive negative seasons (minus-2 and minus-12) so if his current trend keeps up (Four of his past seven games have yielded a negative plus/minus) he could be broaching a third straight negative year.
18. Dallas Stars--36 points (Last week, 18): The Stars have made the playoffs 12 of 14 seasons and for five straight seasons. Earlier this year it looked as though the Stars' might miss out for the first time since 2001/02, but now the Stars are looking good having finally figured it out this season.
17. Columbus Blue Jackets--40 points (Last week, 40 points): The Jackets have had 40 points on this power poll for three straight weeks. Rick Nash has also been a source of threes for the Jackets: He had a three-game goal streak early on in October, and he had a three-game streak where he scored two points in each game midway through November.
Steve Mason has also been very un-Steve Mason-like lately, allowing three goals in each of his past two games.
16. Vancouver Canucks--44 points (Last week, 44 points): Two straight weeks of 44's for the Vancouver Canucks.
Then again this is kind of surprising seeing as Roberto Luongo has had to face 27 or more shots in his past six games, and he's only allowed fewer than three goals once (Jan. 20th), and he's only won once (His most recent game Feb. 3rd).
15. Florida Panthers--49 points (Last week, 39 points): Here's a weird stat for the Florida Panthers (a team who's getting hot in January/February for the second-straight season): Six of their past eight games have featured the number three, whether the Panthers have allowed three or scored three, won or lost, there's been a number three.
Also, if you add the one from Craig Anderson's number to the two in Tomas Vokoun's number, and divide Vokoun's nine by Anderson's three you get three in both cases.
Alright, alright; I'm reaching now.
14. Pittsburgh Penguins--49 points (last week, 44 points): Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are good together.
Want proof? Five of the past six games, the two Penguin superstars have been in on the same goal together dating back to Jan. 20th against Carolina. Granted the Pens lost four of those games, but a streak is a streak (Malkin and Crosby also combined in the four games leading up to Feb. 3rd against Montreal.
13. Anaheim Ducks--53 points (Last week, 45 points): Not knowing the Anaheim Ducks' situation personally, I find this kind of surprising: Jonas Hiller has seen majority time (40 minutes or more) in the past eight Ducks' games.
If you're wondering about J.S. Giguere, he's also received a loss in each of his past three games.
Hopefully J.S. can turn it around.
12. New York Rangers--55 points (Last week, 58 points): For the New York Rangers, the past few games have been a bit of a struggle.
Most importantly, the Rangers are 0-3 in their last three: They lost 6-2 to Pittsburgh, 1-0 to Boston, and 2-1 to Atlanta. On top of that, the Rangers haven't scored a power play goal in nearly 12 and a half periods--their last power play goal coming just over the midway point of their game against the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 20th.
11. Buffalo Sabres--67 points (Last week, 50 points): With 32 goals this season, Thomas Vanek has posted four-straight 25-goal seasons, Ryan Miller has two-straight shutouts, and Tim Connolly has points in six of eight games including four multi-point games.
Interesting point: The Sabres have currently won four-straight against Northeast Division opponents including Toronto, Boston, Ottawa, and Toronto again. Their last loss to a divisional opponent was to Montreal back in December.
10. Minnesota Wild--69 points (Last week, 56 points): Many argue that, when healthy, Marian Gaborik is Minnesota's offensive dynamo.
But while Gabby is currently skating and eyeing a return (or a trade depending on who you talk to), Mikko Koivu has point in five of his past six games and eight of his past 10.
Marc-Andre Bergeron has also had a quiet-yet-quality year, posting three plus-ratings in the past four games, along with 21 points. More interesting however is that if Bergeron gets traded at some point this season, it'll mark his third-straight season split between two franchises.
An interesting streak if there ever was one.
9. Philadelphia Flyers--64 points (Last week, 64): For the Flyers, Jeff Carter is streaking, but in the opposite way they'd like (or in one of the opposite ways they'd like because I'm not sure if him sprinting naked through the Wachovia Center is what they'd like).
Carter has gotten a bit cold lately, scoring just two goals in his past five games and just three goals in his past eight games.
Also in the "We'd rather not have that happen" category, Daniel Briere has a streak of his own--he's missed 26 consecutive Philadelphia Flyer games, his latest action coming Dec. 2nd against Tampa Bay while Derian Hatcher has yet to play a game.
On the bright side, Glen Metropolit is pointless in his last twelve games and has one point in his last sixteen. Oh well, at least he's on a two-year contract and has next year to have a contract year!
8. Calgary Flames--70 points (Last week, 64 points): I seem to recall a streaker falling onto the ice in Calgary a few years ago and I figured "what better than to feature that video in a 'streaky' power poll?"
Well either I'm out of luck or I didn't look hard enough because I couldn't find it. What I could find though, was a video of the Calgary Flames most embarrassing moments.
Streaking can be embarrassing (especially if you fall/get caught/can't outrun a dog) so I guess you'll just have to enjoy this instead.
7. Montreal Canadiens--71 points (Last week, 72 points): Interestingly enough, the Habs least-streaky player this season has been defenseman Andrei Markov. Markov just finished up a nine-game point streak, and has points in 11 of 13 (including 13 total points over that span).
With Montreal's second-leading scorer Robert Lang out due to injury and third-leading scorer Alexei Kovalev roaming around the dog house floor, it'll be interesting to see if Montreal's top d-man can keep up his streak of consistency.
6. Washington Capitals--88 points (Last week, 75 points): Washington is on a three game winning streak right now, but what's more impressive is how they've been doing it: In successive order they've beaten Detroit, Ottawa, and New Jersey, scoring four or more goals in each of those victories.
Another interesting point is that starter Jose Theodore hasn't allowed more than three goals in a game since Jan. 13th (a streak of seven games) and that he's only faced fewer than 28 shots once during that span.
Leading scorer Alexander Ovechkin is also on a three game multi-point streak (four games overall) and has five goals in his past three games.
5. New Jersey Devils--93 points (Last week, 85 points): I want to look and see if there are any dynamic offensive streaks, good or bad, for the Devils, but only one thing matters:
Until Feb. 3rd (vs. Washington), the New Jersey Devils won eight straight games, allowing only as many as three goals (which happened three times) and as few as one goal (which happened three straight times during that streak.
4. Chicago Blackhawks--96 points (Last week, 88 points): Here's something I bet you didn't expect: Martin Havlat has finally stayed healthy this season for the Chicago Blackhawks.
While he's a little under point-per-game pace, Havlat has put together an excellent season. He had a three game point streak right at the beginning of the year, and followed that up two games later with a five-game point streak.
When talking about 'Hawks streakers and surprises though, many are surprised that Nikolai Khabibulin is still wearing the Red.
Chicago is looking wiser and wiser for not trading him however because Khabibulin has been stellar this season: he's had a three-game win streak, a four-game win streak, and he's currently won two in a row and hasn't allowed more than four goals since December 30th.
3. Detroit Red Wings--103 points (Last week, 102 points): Despite a five-game losing streak prior to February, the Wings are still riding high in the league, and are bouncing back having won two in a row.
What's more impressive though, is the Wing's streak of dominance.
They've been Central Division Champs for seven straight seasons, they've won four Presidents' Trophies in that time, and they've got four Stanley Cups in the last 11 seasons.
Talk about a streak of success.
2. San Jose Sharks--127 points (Last week, 120 points): While the Sharks have been streaking to the top of the West this season, it's the post season where they hope to break one of their most troublesome streaks of bad luck.
The Sharks have made the playoffs each of the past four seasons. Since 2003/04 though, the Sharks have only made it to the Conference Semifinals--in other words, the Sharks have lost in six games in the Semis for three straight years.
While making the playoffs consistently is great, consistently seeing the same exact becomes taxing.
Granted this streak is a little more manageable than the last one (The 12 previous years the Sharks missed the playoffs five times, lost in the Quarters three times, and the Semis four times), but that doesn't change the fact the Sharks want to win.
If you're interested in the Claude Lemieux saga, then you'll be interested to know he has no points in four games. Joe Thornton had a big six-game point streak towards the end of December while Patrick Marleau just ended a four-game point streak.
All the Sharks can do is hope that, coupled with a healthy Evgeni Nabokov (five goals allowed in his past four, along with a four-game win streak previous to that) mean playoff success.
1. Boston Bruins--142 points (Last week, 130 points): The Bruins are on the biggest streak of all, having been at the top of the East for a majority (if not all of) the season, and having slid into top spot throughout the entire NHL for more than a few extended periods of time
Tim Thomas continues to have an amazing season for the Bruins, netting five wins in his past four games, and he's been consistently stopping a lot of shots as well, averaging 32 saves over his past 10 games.
For not being a really big-time goal scorer, Marc Savard had a four game streak going that ended Feb. 1st, and he also had an eight-game point streak going as well.
But Savard's just one piece of the puzzle. As I said, this entire team as been on one big streak for the entire season.
Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer and an NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report. If you want to get in contact with Bryan you can do so through his profile. You can also check out his other work via his archives.
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