Around the Rink
The Calgary Flames managed to come from behind again on Wednesday, beating the Ducks 6-3. The odds of this run they're on continuing, a run with an unsustainable shooting percentage and a very high save percentage, is unlikely. You've probably heard that multiple times this season.
In fact, that advice may have gone so far as to effect fantasy advice. Noting that Johnny Gaudreau, Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan, Lance Bouma, Joe Colborne, Josh Jooris, Mason Raymond, and Matt Stajan are unlikely to keep up their pace is good advice. Every one of those players has an all situations shooting percentage over 12% right now. That's ridiculous. Yet, we're a month from the end of the season and they all have s Sh% over 12%.
That's especially impressive for Hudler, Gaudreau, and Monahan, who have all taken over 125 shots.
There's been a lot of talk about this lately and a lot of parallels drawn between the Flames this year and the Avalanche last year. The advice you're getting isn't unsound, but the Flames are beating what the odds say will happen. It's important to note that this isn't bad advice, the Flames are a statistical outlier. All averages have outliers and variance and their run is a part of that. But that makes it unlikely to continue over the long-term.
There are a lot of signs that these players aren't (though they could) going to keep this run going into the playoffs.
1. High shooting percentages tend to fall toward the norm. There's no set amount of time that this regression takes place in. They could keep it up. It's unlikely, but they could.
2. They aren't taking enough shots. If their shooting percentage drops toward league-average, they're in trouble. As a team, the Flames take the third fewest shots per 60 minutes of even strength play in the NHL. They only best the historically terrible Buffalo Sabres and the New Jersey Devils. At 25.1 shots for per 60 minutes, they're 1.3 shots back from the next team above them and nearly 9 shots behind the top teams.
3. They don't have any players on the team that have a historically high shooting percentage that would be buoying the team. At even strength, they have the second highest shooting percentage in the NHL. Sure, Monahan and Gaudreau are young and we don't have a good sense of what their career shooting percentage will be at the NHL level. However, it's unlikely that it's going to be as high as we're seeing. (Though Monahan did have a 15.7% Sh% last season.)
The team at the top of the league in shooting percentage is the Tampa Bay Lightning. Their stats are, in part, floated by Steven Stamkos who we do know shoots at a much higher shooting percentage than the average player. He shoots at 17.2% on average throughout his career. That's an average built over the course of seven seasons, so it's a little more reliable of a number. It's also notable because, unlike the players mentioned on the Flames, he's floating that kind of shooting percentage while taking a ton of shots. His 226 shots rank 9th in the NHL. Monahan leads the Flames active roster in shots with 151, which ranks 95th in the NHL.
The Flames continue to impress with their late game heroics and ability to beat the odds. Will that regression happen this season? Maybe. Maybe not. It did last year with the Avalanche, but they returned with largely the same roster this year and we see that regression grabbing hold.
The advice to be a little wary of players with stats like these remains sound, but the Flames are besting the odds and making it work. If you've stuck with Gaudreau, Hudler, and Monahan you're getting more than you paid for.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00 PM
Edmonton Oilers (Ben Scrivens) at Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 PM
Dallas Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Carolina Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:00 PM
Ottawa Senators (Craig Anderson) at Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price), 7:30 PM
Columbus Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Detroit Red Wings (Jimmy Howard), 7:30 PM
Winnipeg Jets (Michael Hutchinson) at Florida Panthers (Dan Ellis), 7:30 PM
Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason) at St. Louis Blues (Brian Elliott), 8:00 PM
New Jersey Devils (Cory Schneider) at Colorado Avalanche (Reto Berra), 9:00 PM
Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick) at Vancouver Canucks (Eddie Lack), 10:00 PM
Chicago Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Arizona Coyotes (Mike Smith), 10:00 PM
Nashville Predators (Pekka Rinne) at San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:30 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday
Tampa Bay Lightning
Matt Carle, D - (hip) will likely continue to experience soreness once he returns to the lineup.
Michael Blunden, RW - (knee) is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Ondrej Palat, LW - (foot) left Teusday's game and his status is unclear.
J.T. Brown, RW - (upper body) did not play Tuesday.
Kevan Miller, D - (shoulder) was moved to LTIR.
Brett Connolly, RW - (broken finger) underwent successful surgery last Thursday.
David Krejci, C - (knee) has skated, but isn't ready to return.
Taylor Hall, LW - (leg) remains out.
Tyler Pitlick, RW - (spleen) has practiced, but isn't taking contact.
Nikita Nikitin, D - (shoulder) could return on Friday.
Viktor Fasth, G - (knee) is being listed as out indefinitely.
Iiro Pakarinen, RW - (knee) will be out until at least April.
Olli Maatta, D - (shoulder) is done for the season.
Anton Zlobin, LW - is out for the season.
Christian Ehrhoff, D - (concussion) has not yet returned.
Trevor Daley, D - (lower body) won't be back in the immediate future.
Travis Moen, LW - (upper body) remains out.
Jason Demers, D - (illness) did not play Tuesday.
Cody Eakin, C - was a late scratch for Tuesday's game against the Flyers due to a team-imposed disciplinary action.
John Klingberg, D - (lower body) will be a game-time decision Thursday.
Valeri Nichushkin, LW - (hip) practiced Monday and will travel with the team, but remains seven-to-10 days away from returning.
Jack Hillen, D - (concussion) will not play Thursday.
Chris Phillips, D - (undisclosed) is out.
Chris Neil, RW - (thumb) is still in a cast.
Clarke MacArthur, LW - (concussion) is out.
Zack Smith, C - (wrist) has been cleared to take full contact in practices.
Robin Lehner, G - (concussion) remains out.
Alexei Emelin, D -(shoulder) will not play Thursday
Columbus Blue Jackets
Jack Skille, RW - (shoulder) is out for the season.
David Clarkson, RW - (oblique) will miss at least four weeks.
Nick Foligno, LW - (illness) missed Thursday's game.
Jeremy Morin, LW - (upper body) has resumed light skating.
Matt Calvert, LW - (concussion) is "making progress."
Boone Jenner, LW - (back) took to the ice with a few teammates after practice Monday.
Austin Madaisky, D - is out for the season.
Ryan Murray, D - (ankle) will not play Thursday.
Detroit Red Wings
Alexei Marchenko, D - (oblique) has skated.
Darren Helm, LW - (oblique) was a participant in Wednesday's practice.
Jonas Gustavsson, G - (concussion) is out.
Johan Franzen, RW - (concussion) is out.
Bryan Little, C - (undisclosed) didn't play Tuesday.
Dustin Byfuglien, D - (upper body) remains out.
Mathieu Perreault, C - (lower body) is out indefinitely.
Matt Halischuk, RW - (foot) is nearing a return.
Grant Clitsome, D - (upper body) has been out since early January.
Ben Chiarot, D - (hand) isout
Aaron Ekblad, D - (illness) has practiced and could play.
Roberto Luongo, G - (shoulder) is out Thursday.
Tomas Kopecky, RW - (illness) has practiced and could play
Al Montoya, G - (groin) is out.
Dave Bolland, C - (illness) practiced and could play.
Michael Del Zotto, D - (upper body) will miss about a week.
Radko Gudas, D - (knee) will return to the ice in a couple weeks.
St. Louis Blues
Jay Bouwmeester, D - (illness) took part in Wednesday's optional skate.
Zbynek Michalek, D - (concussion) is starting to close in on a return to the lineup.
Kevin Shattenkirk, D - (abdominal surgery) took to the ice with his teammates during Tuesday's morning session.
Olli Jokinen, C - (upper body) took part in Wednesday's optional practice.
New Jersey Devils
Bryce Salvador, D - (back) is unlikely to play agains this season.
Ryane Clowe, LW - (concussion) is out for the season.
Erik Johnson, D - (knee) was on the ice for a skate for Friday.
Semyon Varlamov, G - (groin) is expected to skate Thursday morning.
Jamie McGinn, LW - (back) is out for the season.
Jesse Winchester, LW - (concussion) is unlikely to play this season.
Ryan Wilson, D - (shoulder) is likely out for the rest of the year.
Nathan MacKinnon, C - (foot) will likely miss the rest of the season.
Patrick Bordeleau, LW - (knee) was on the ice for Tuesday's optional skate.
Los Angeles Kings
Alec Martinez, D - (concussion) the team has said he isn't close to returning yet.
Slava Voynov, D - (domestic violence charges) his court case for charges of domestic violence has been delayed until April, making it an almost certainty that he will not play a game this season.
Tanner Pearson, LW - (leg) Pearson has resumed skating, but not practicing.
Ryan Miller, G - (knee) remains out.
Chris Higgins, LW - (lower body) took part in a full practice Wednesday.
Brad Richardson, C - (ankle) logged a full practice Wednesday.
Kevin Bieksa, D - (hand) practiced Wednesday, but is unlikely for Thursday.
Yannick Weber, D - (undisclosed) took part in Wednesday's practice.
Johnny Oduya, D - (upper body) will return to the lineup on Thursday.
Patrick Kane, RW - (clavicle) is expected to be out for the rest of the regular season.
Mikkel Boedker, LW - (ruptured spleen) is out for the season.
Connor Murphy, D - (illness) participated in Wednesday's practice, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports. (3/11/2015)
Lauri Korpikoski, LW - (upper body) practiced on Wednesday.
Martin Hanzal, C - (back) is out for the season.
Eric Nystrom, LW - (lower body) is expected to be out for the next four weeks.
San Jose Sharks
Matt Irwin, D - (upper body) is considered day-to-day.
Raffi Torres, LW - (knee) is unlikely to return this season.
Mike Brown, RW - (leg) McLellan said Wednesday that it's looking "bleaker and bleaker" that Brown will return this season.
Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY -- Speaking of Gaudreau, high shooting percentage or not, he's been tearing it up lately. His two goals on Wednesday night give him a five-game point streak over which he has three goals and three assists. He's also a plus-5 with two power play goals, two penalty minutes, and has an average of 2.6 shots per game over that stretch. He's been getting solid ice time lately as well, breaking 20 minutes in six of his last eight outings. Prior to that, he broke 20 minutes six times over a stretch of 40 games.
Mats Zuccarello, RW, NYR -- In his first game after signing a contract extension with the Rangers, Zuccarello put up two assists and a plus-2 rating. In total since the extension he's got five assists in five games, with a plus-4 rating and a pair of penalty minutes. Zuccarello isn't likely to his the heights of last year's 59 point effort, but he's going to come close.
Matt Niskanen, D, WSH -- Niskanen, as many projected, hasn't been able to recapture his offensive magic from last year. His scoring pace is way down and he hasn't been able to put much on the board despite playing some big minutes for the Caps, like the 28:10 he logged on Wednesday night. He's got no goals and a single assist over the last eight games. He's averaging 1.75 shots per game over that stretch. That's well above his average of 1.43 shots per game on the season, but a far cry from his average of 2 shots per game last season.
Travis Zajac, C, NJD -- Zajac, in the days of Zach Parise on the Devils, was a reliable source of secondary fantasy scoring. You can't count on production from him any longer (or anyone on the Devils really). Zajac has two goals and no assists over that last 13 games. Over that stretch he's averaging fewer than 1.5 shots per game. He's doing very little for most owners.
Kevin Hayes, RW, NYR -- The big rookie forward has had a solid couple of games for the Blueshirts. He has a goal and two assists over the last two games, a plus-2 rating, and an average of two shots per game. Since February 7 he has six goals and eight assists through 17 games. He's not setting the world on fire, but this stretch may be a little more representative of what he will be than averaging out his full season stats. In a deep league where you aren't going to find Okposo lingering on the wire after his injury, Hayes can provide a little scoring. He is a "what you see is what you get" situation though. He's not going to go on a major run to the end of the season. His minutes aren't huge, and his shots are there, but you're hoping for two shots per game in a good stretch. But, if you're desperate, he may have slid under the radar, is capable, and is playing fairly well in limited minutes at the moment.
Plus, he scored this goal on Tuesday night, which highlights exactly what he's capable of being.