Ramblings: Crawford Up, Leafs’ Goaltending Down, Kane Returns (March 17)

Ian Gooding

2019-03-17


I recommended a couple of Penguins for the weekend’s games, but they ran into a hot goalie on Saturday. Jordan Binnington stopped 40 of 41 shots in the Blues’ 5-1 win over Pittsburgh in a Saturday matinee game. Binnington’s remarkable season continues with a 17-4-1 record, a 1.77 GAA and .931 SV%.

I’ve heard some debate that Binnington could theoretically eclipse Elias Pettersson in the Calder race should he continue to dominate. But I’m going to use the McDavid argument as to why he shouldn’t. Binnington didn’t play his first game of the season until mid-December, and he wasn’t the Blues’ starter until early January.

There’s little doubt McDavid would have won the Calder in 2015-16 had he not missed nearly half the season due to injury (48 points in 45 games). Yet he finished third in the voting that season behind Artemi Panarin and Shayne Gostisbehere. Sure, Pettersson has fallen back to earth recently (just one goal in last 12 games). Yet he’s still 19 points ahead of the second-leading rookie point scorer (Andreas Johnsson) in spite of missing 11 games with various injuries.

Binnington is much better than expected, but I’d still like to see what he can do over a full season from October to April.

Vince Dunn scored twice for the Blues in their victory, which were goals number 10 and 11 from him. Binnington is receiving a ton of the credit for the Blues’ turnaround, but we should also give props to the defense. The Blues currently have three defensemen with double-digit goal totals: Alex Pietrangelo (12), Dunn (11), and Colton Parayko (10). As of Saturday afternoon, no other team had more than two. As well, the Blues lead the NHL with 44 goals from defensemen. In just his second NHL season, Dunn has been quietly productive, reaching the 30-point mark in 67 games.

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Dylan Larkin returned to the Wings’ lineup on Saturday after missing the past five games with a strained neck. He was held without a point in nearly 22 minutes of icetime.

Andreas Athanasiou scored both Wings’ goals on six shots on goal in their 2-1 win over the Islanders. The speedy Athanasiou now has 26 goals on the season, just one behind Larkin for the team lead.

Jo