A conversation this weekend on the success (or lack thereof) of a couple of teams to start the season got me thinking about starting streaks in the NHL. It ends up being a surprisingly relevant topic as most of the records that I looked at for this article are held by players or teams in the west. Just to set a little bit of context, we are super early in the season to be thinking about any record book. The team with the largest point streak to start the season was the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks and they did it over 24 games. Anaheim comes in a rather distant second with a 16-game streak. Our current season leaders are at the five-game mark. I also looked at player streaks and the Modern Era record is held by Patrick Kane with 40 points over 26 games (though the historical record is held by Wayne Gretzky who had 153 points over 51 games). Our current streak leader has maintained points in five games, early days for sure. Even so, there are some very definite surprises, so let’s dig in.
Edmonton – Undefeated over five games
So this one was a significant surprise. Edmonton is coming off of a struggle of a season where they dramatically disappointed the hope their playoff run from a couple of years ago inspired. We were getting used to the narrative that Edmonton was a black hole of a team that even Connor McDavid couldn’t will to win. Somehow they have a few wins to their name now – so are we looking at a brand new team? There are a couple of positive signs actually. They are currently 9th in the league with 13 goals against, and 7th in the league in goals for with 21. Unfortunately, they are 27th in the league in their shots for percentage. Their 47% meaning that they are facing more shots than they are putting on net. Their superstars have been clicking (as we will get to in a minute), but overall their offense has not been all that dangerous with the 15th ranked expected goals for. Edmonton also has the highest team shooting percentage at over 16%. So while Edmonton’s start has certainly been exciting (and surprising) it looks like Edmonton is likely not challenging Chicago’s (or even Anaheim’s) record.
Colorado – Undefeated over four games
Colorado on this list is less of a surprise. The hype over the summer was real and expectations were high after their end of season and post-season surges. Colorado has scored 16 goals over their four games with only nine goals against. They are still underwater with their shots percentage (48%), which is good for 19th in the league. They are in the middle of the pack (14th) in expected goals as well. Colorado has been the beneficiary of some excellent play in net with the 5th highest team save percentage thus far. Overall they look a little better than Edmonton under the hood, but it still seems like a record-breaking run is pretty unlikely.
Minnesota – Winless in five games
On the other side of the ledger, Minnesota has yet to pick up a W. Minnesota seemed to be the hip pick to be a sneaky sleeper team going into the season. Written off as uneventful, boring, and even straight bad, some deeper dives indicated there might be some fantasy value there that was being forgotten. Five games into the season it looks like it would have been better left forgotten. Minnesota ranks 27th in goals for with 10 and 26th in goals against with 21. That about sums up the problem. Their goalies have been terrible giving the wild a .84 save percentage. On offense, they are close to 50/50 in their shot percentage ranking 16th in the league, but their 21st ranked team shooting percentage is not doing them any favors. They certainly won’t be this bad all season, but Devan Dubnyk could really pick up his game.
After hitting a few team streaks I wanted to throw in a few players for good measure. We won’t do a deep dive into these guys specifically, but there are a couple of surprises on this list. These streaks are from game one. There are a few other players who have great numbers, but have missed pointing in a game or two.
Connor McDavid – 12 points in five games.
No surprises here. If someone is going to challenge Kane’s streak at this point it seems like McDavid is a good candidate.
Leon Draisaitl – 11 points in five games.
Again no surprises, especially with McDavid already on this list.
Matt Duchene – nine points in five games.
Nashville and lining up with Filip Forsberg seems to be agreeing with him.
Anze Kopitar – eight points in five games
The guy with a reputation for starting slow is definitely bucking that trend this year.
Ryan Johansen seven points in five games.
Not to be outdone by new teammate Duchene, Johansen is off to a great start this year as well.
Nathan MacKinnon – six points in four games.
The only thing surprising about MacKinnon is that he is that lowest on this list. Though he does have one fewer game to his credit.
Neal has no overall point streak to speak of but seven goals in three games deserve a mention somewhere.
And now on to our regularly scheduled programming.
Wild West Weekly Streamers:
Paul Stastny – ok so he is becoming a bit of a theme, maybe we should change the name of the column… Anyway, a good schedule plus being reunited with his running mates of Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone should help. Oh and in case you missed it he put up four points last night after bring reunited with that second line.
Last Week’s Streamers
Adrian Kempe: Kempe did fine for himself with two assists and six shots over the four games stretch.
Alex Iafallo: Similarly, Iafallo did just fine with one goal, one assist and a nice 12 shots over four games.
Cody Glass: Glass put up one goal and two assists to go along with six shots over four games, though it doesn’t appear to have been enough to keep his spot as he was bumped in favor of Stastny in Vegas’ last game.
Mikael Backlund: Backlund got on the score sheet with two assists and 12 shots over his four-game week.
Thanks for reading, see you next week.
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