The holidays mess with everyone’s schedule, including the NHL, which is why we had a massive 11-game slate for a Friday night. Let’s hop to it.
Friday was career regular season game number 79 for Jake Guentzel. In the first 78 games, he had 29 goals and 55 points with 173 shots on goal. I know some people out there may be disappointed in the fact that to this point of the season, he was on pace for 28 goals and 48 points. Keep in mind, however, that for whatever reason, Pittsburgh is a distant last in five-on-five shooting percentage as a team this year at 5.3 percent. They shot 7.9 percent as a team from 2014-2017. It isn’t a matter of high-and-low extremes this year, either, as no regular forward is over 7 percent in on-ice team shooting percentage (Sidney Crosby is at 3.3 percent!). The fact that Guentzel can still crack 30 goals and 50 points is a credit to him as an offensive talent, and the upside he possesses with this roster around him. Try not to get frustrated, fantasy owners. There are blue skies ahead.
Because of all the goals he scores, it seems like Nikita Kucherov doesn’t get the credit he deserves for being a phenomenal playmaker. It reminds me of David Pastrnak in that sense; yeah, he’s a great goal scorer, but he’s elite at helping others as well. Kucherov was the primary assist on Tampa Bay’s first goal on Friday night, a power-play goal from Steve