Eastern Edge: Hot and cold streaks for March

Brennan Des

2021-03-30

In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll take a look at noteworthy trends across the Eastern Conference during the month of March. Our discussion will include coverage of the red-hot Rangers, faltering Flyers and pristine Penguins, as well as a few quick stats from other teams!

Red-Hot Rangers

The Rangers boast the best offense in the Eastern Conference during the month of March, averaging 3.80 goals per game. Only the Avalanche scored more goals per game (3.94) this month. New York's strong offensive numbers were supported by a 9-0 and 8-3 win over the Flyers. As you'll see, there are a number of strong individual performances underlying the team's scoring success.

Mika Zibanejad has 21 points through 15 games in March, bolstered by two separate six-point showings against the Flyers. It's crazy to think that 12 of his points were tallied in just two games, but even if you took those two games away, he still has nine points through 13 games this month. That may not seem very impressive at first, but nine points in 13 games represents a scoring pace of 0.69 points per game – a significant improvement from the 0.32 points per game he registered through the first two months of the season. 

Ryan Strome and Adam Fox share the league lead for power-play production as each player holds 10 points with the man advantage this month. The Rangers have converted on 23.5-percent of their opportunities in March – a significant improvement from the 14.9-percent success rate they posted through January and February. While Fox has been a prominent piece of New York's power play all season, Strome saw his share of the team's total power-play time jump from 51-percent over the first two months of the season to 66-percent in March.

Another Ranger thriving this month is Pavel Buchnevich, who has 18 points in 14 games. He's having an incredible breakout performance with 31 points in 33 games overall and is benefitting from a career-high 19 minutes of ice time per game. He's still available in 27-percent of Yahoo Leagues as I write this!

This past month has highlighted the difference in quality between New York's netminders. Igor Shesterkin continued to set himself apart from his fellow goaltenders, posting a 2.06 GAA and .942 save percentage through four games. In contrast, Keith Kinkaid posted a 2.61 GAA and .891 save percentage through eight appearances. Alexander Georgiev was even worse, with a 3.17 GAA and .872 save percentage through six outings. Look for Shesterkin to get the majority of starts down the stretch as the Rangers make a push for the playoffs.

Faltering Flyers

The Flyers have struggled in March, winning six of their 16 games. The lack of team success is caused by an inability to keep the puck out of their net, as they've conceded a league worst 4.31 goals per game. Carter Hart is mired in the worst stretch of his young career, posting a 5.04 GAA and .815 save percentage through eight starts this month. Brian Elliot hasn't been much better, registering a 3.52 GAA and .855 save percentage in eight starts of his own. Although Philly's defense and goalt