Super 8

Not so Super 8-February 9

And we are back with this week’s “Not so Super 8”.

There was quite a bit of shifting this week in the Super 16, some of which I am not totally in agreement with. I mean sure the Golden Knights lost a couple games in regulation. That doesn’t mean they deserve to be dropped to the third spot.

This week also had a lot fewer teams that even deserved to be in consideration. Most of the teams that missed the Super 16 are on huge slides right now.

Let’s get right to it.

Super 8LA Kings

WHY DID THEY MISS?

This one is tough. They are on a two game win streak, their record the past 10 is 5-5-0 and they are in the top 16 in the NHL. It really just game down to choosing between them, San Jose and Anaheim.

Super 8

Offensive statistics for the LA Kings (Screenshot from NHL.com)choosing between them, San Jose and Anaheim.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

We need to start seeing more production offensively from players other than Anze Kopitar. Just take a look at their offensive stat breakdown. Kopitar leads the team in points by almost 20 above Drew Doughty. And while there is nothing wrong with defensemen who are offensively minded, why the hell is Doughty above any other forward in point production?

In addition to this, Jonathan Quick is not playing his best for the Kings. With only a 2.51 GAA and a .919 S% he really needs to cement his place as the Kings’ number one guy in the crease.

Philadelphia FlyersSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

The Flyers did pretty well this week, so much like the Kings, I am not super sure. Also on a two game win streak and sporting an even better record the past 10 games of 6-3-1, I think they also could’ve had a spot in the Super 16.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

It is too bad the Flyers don’t have better goalies because they have three players with plus 50 point production. The struggles in the crease are killing the team. With Brian Elliot and Michal Neuvirth combing for a dismal 2.67 GAA and a .910 S%. They need a pick me up or their woes will continue.

Super 8Carolina Hurricanes

WHY DID THEY MISS?

This is where the play quality takes a steep drop in the list. The Hurricanes are at an okay 4-5-1 the past 10 games. They have been 9-10-1 their past 20 so they are really playing pretty averagely right now.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

They are only pulling out close wins against average or less than average teams and they are getting smoked by good teams. The Hurricanes really need to find a way to pull out wins against the better teams if they want to move up in the league at all. They need more offensive production but they really won’t ever win games if their goaltending continues to be awful. Cam Ward and Scott Darling combine for even worse numbers that Elliot and Neuvirth, with a 2.85 GAA and a .901 S%. I mean those numbers are just awful and potentially the worst in the league with the exception of the Coyotes.

Florida PanthersSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

The Panthers missed purely because of actual ranking in the NHL. Other than that they are on fire, they have won four straight games and are 6-4-0 in their last 10.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

In their six games before the win streak they had 27 goals against. That is 4.5 goals per game, and it is completely unacceptable. Roberto Luongo needs to step up in a big way to keep their goal differential lower. This team could easily be in the top 16 in the league, they have the pieces to the puzzle. They just need to execute.

New York IslandersSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

They have lost one and are 3-5-2 their last 10. They are gathering points but just not quite enough to keep them on par with the Super 16.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

Win. In. Regulation. A couple of their regulation losses have been by a one goal margin. In addition to that they lost twice in overtime. They need to start pulling that second point instead of settling for one. Also they lost to the Coyotes and the Sabres in that time frame. Those are the worst two teams in the league a win in both of those games flips their past 10 record to a better than average 5-3-2.

Columbus Blue JacketsSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

The Blue Jackets are closer to being in the league’s top 16 than a lot of the teams above them. They missed because of the three game slide they are on right now with a past 10 game record of 3-6-1.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

They need to start getting contributions from their key players. Josh Anderson is leading in goals with 16 and Artemi Panarin leads in points with 42. That’s fine and all, bit where are Zach Werenski, Nick Foligno and Alexander Wennberg? I found them. Way down the stat sheet not really contributing to their team.

Chicago BlackhawksSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

I was really starting to grasp at straws here. The Blackhawks record the past 10 is 2-6-2. That pretty much speaks for itself.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

With the amount of star power this team has, it never ceases to baffle me how badly they are doing this year. They are just waiting for something to click, and when it does I am sure they’ll be back to their winning ways.

Edmonton OilersSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

The Oilers are just finally starting to figure things out this season. It is too late at this point. Their 5-4-0 record the past 10 is okay and it’s far better than most of the bottom dwellers they share real estate with.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

It can’t be just “The Connor McDavid Show” anymore. The kid is LITERALLY carrying the team to victory. He scores the majority of the goals whether they win or lose, and there isn’t much other offensive production.

I have no bonus team this week because every team that did not make the Super 16 cut was relatively average. Whereas in the past teams have been snubbed.

Team logos and featured image courtesy of NHL.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

the flyers

The Flyers are flying right now

The city of brotherly love has much to be excited about this time of year. Football and basketball in Philly have met expectations. Hockey on the other hand is exceeding expectations.

The Eagles are headed to the Super Bowl.

The 76ers are in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Flyers have soared into a playoff spot with 34 games to play.

The Flyers lost ten consecutive games from November and into the beginning of December. Many had them outside the playoff picture for the remainder of the season. However, Philly’s hockey club has roared back winning their last four and eight of their last 10 coming into Thursday. They sit in third place in one of the toughest divisions in hockey (the Metropolitan). There is still a long way to go before the playoffs, but Philadelphia has a lot to be excited about these days.

What’s been the difference for their hockey team??

Superstar Talent

Every contending team in the NHL has at least one player who lights it up on a nightly basis. Fortunately for this group, Philly has two.

the flyers

Photo from Zimbio

Claude Giroux (30):

14 goals, 42 assists – 56 points (tied with Steven Stamkos for fourth in the NHL)

22 Power play points – +9 rating

48 games played

Jakub Voracek (28):

9 goals, 46 assists (league leader) – 55 points (tied with Phil Kessel and Johnny Gaudreau for fifth in the NHL)

23 Power play points – +7 rating

48 games played

Ratings of nine and seven may seem modest, but having those on a team with just a +4 goal differential is actually quite impressive. Giroux will be the lone Philly representative at the All-Star game in Tampa on Sunday. The Flyer captain will attempt to lead his club back to the postseason after coming up short a year ago. Philadelphia is locked in that third place position, but Columbus and Pittsburgh (two current wildcard teams) are both just one point behind them (as of 1/24/18).

Young, but seasoned

The Flyers are led by their two superstars in their prime, but also possess two 25 and younger talents. These two players are playing at All-Star levels..

the flyers

Photo from Getty Images

Shayne Gostisbehere (24):

9 goals, 24 assists – 33 points (tied for fifth among all NHL defensemen)

18 Power play points – +2 rating

44 games played

Sean Couturier (25):

26 goals (leads team), 23 assists – 49 points (third on team behind Giroux and Voracek) – 48 games played

10 Power play points – +18 rating (leads team)

These two stars for Philadelphia may be young, but combine for 650 games of experience. We have talked numerous times about the youth movement in this league. Couturier and Gostisbehere are prime examples of the youthful leadership almost all contending teams have. The play of these Flyers will be a key element to this team’s success moving forward in their run to the playoffs.

MOOOOOOOSE

Philadelphia has been looking for a reliable goaltender for quite some time. Fortunately, at least for the foreseeable future, they have found it in Brian Elliott..

the flyers

Photo from NHL.com

Brian Elliott “Moose” (32):

19 wins and has picked up points in 26 of 37 games

2.77 goals against average w/a save percentage above 90 at .908

Elliott has carried a team (St. Louis) all the way to the conference finals in recent years. He has the capability of carrying the Flyers to the postseason and giving them an opportunity to win once they are there.

Philly’s backup has been reliable as well making their goalie tandem formidable.

Michal Neuvirth (29):

5 wins and has picked up points in six of 11 games

2.23 goals against average w/a .928 save percentage and one shutout

The Flyers have only scored 140 goals (lowest total for playoff team in East) this season, which makes solid goaltending imperative. They will not make the playoffs without it.

Battle and grind always

NBC Sports Philadelphia had its hometown team finishing with 96 points and a spot in the 2018 postseason at the beginning of the year..

They also had the Oilers winning the Stanley Cup, so really anything can happen as usual.

The Flyers are a very respectable 13-5-5 against current playoff teams and 3-0-1 against first place teams..

No one would be surprised if they were to go on and make it to the postseason at this point.

Philly is looking to avoid back-to-back seasons without making the playoffs since 1992-1994..

You have to battle, you have to grind.

 

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