The third week of the 2008-09 NHL season has come and gone. Let’s take a look at what has occurred during the third week in the Western Conference and perhaps a little foresight into what could happen down the road.
– 29 of the league’s top 52 point getters were from the Western Conference, so it’s pretty even between the two Conferences.
– Four of the top ten players that garnered the most time on ice were defensemen from the Western Conference.
– Paul Stastny and Pavel Datsyuk are leading the Western Conference in faceoff wins with 90. Jonathan Toews isn’t far behind at 89.
– Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa led the Western Conference by tallying seven points this past week.
– Shane Doan is leading the Western Conference with 36 hits.
– Keith Tkachuk just can’t be stopped on the power-play as he is now leading the league in power-play goals with six.
– Patrick Marleau leads the Western Conference with 37 shots on goal.
– Peter Mueller, Johan Franzen, Brad Boyes, Patrick Sharp, Rick Nash and Antti Miettinen all have two game-winning goals each.
– Minnesota is the only team in the NHL to have a 100% penalty-killing percentage.
– Colorado is the best in the Western Conference in five-on-five scoring ratio with a rating of 1.29. Phoenix is the worst with a rating of 0.71, followed by Calgary at 0.72.
– Minnesota is averaging a league-low of 8.8 minutes in penalties per contest. Calgary is averaging a Western Conference high of 22.4 with Anaheim and Columbus not far behind with 21.6 and 21.4 respectively.
Around the West
The Blackhawks are 2-0-2 under coach Joel Quenneville after he replaced the fired Denis Savard. The main problem for them has been the shootout – they are 0-3 so far this season. Kris Versteeg seems to have hit the jackpot lining up between Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane. He’s only 10% owned in Yahoo leagues, that number will skyrocket fairly soon, so pick him up before your league mates do. Nikolai Khabibulin doesn’t look like he’s going to give up the number one gig easily and it looks like its going to be a 50/50 timeshare between him and Cristobal Huet for the time being.
In Columbus, Pascal Leclaire can’t seem to shake the injury prone tag as he was pulled from Saturday night’s contest with a sprained ankle. Fredrik Norrena will get the bulk of the starts until Leclaire returns. Consider him day-to-day but ankles for goalies are very iffy injuries and can linger for a while. Manny Malhotra was shifted to play with Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius while R.J. Umberger was downgraded to third line duties. Manny won’t last long up there and not worth adding to your roster. Nikita Filatov continues to be scratched from matches, and will most likely be sent down to the minors.
After losing Henrik Zetterberg with a knee injury for most of last week, the Red Wings will be without Johan Franzen for the next three weeks because of a knee injury. That will probably free up some playing time for Daniel Cleary or Jiri Hudler. Detroit is second in the league for goals for at 3.