How Many Hockey Pucks Can Fit In A Net? [Solved!]

Spread the love

Is it just a coincidence that the Toronto Maple Leafs, the defending Stanley Cup champions, have a new addition to their trophy case?

Nope. It’s also the Montreal Canadiens’ turn in the spotlight, as they’ve added a second Cup in less than 12 months. The first came in 2019 after the Habs eliminated the Bruins in five games, winning four straight.

The biggest question is how well the two-time Cup winners will gel. The 2019-20 season starts on Saturday, and while there are no indications of a problem – at least not yet – there will be plenty of interest in how the newcomers interact.

One of the interesting aspects of this year’s Canadiens is their new superstar centreman, Andre Burakovsky. The 27-year-old Russian is an absolute beast on the ice, and he was already nominated for the Norris Trophy after collecting 54 points (17 goals, 37 assists) in 47 games last season. Now he has to learn English to cope with the NHL’s requirements. Translation: It will be interesting to see if he remains effective without the help of a translator.

The Key To Burakovsky’s Season

Burakovsky’s production level in Russia isn’t easy to match, but he was still only 13th in the KHL in points per game among those who averaged at least 10 minutes of ice time per game. The key to his success last season was the same as that of any top-line NHL centreman: excellent shot-blocking and a penchant for scoring timely goals. Just as crucial, though, is that he understood the need to be a good possession driver considering the Rangers’ off-peek performance, especially since he was playing with teenagers at times.

General manager Jim Rutherford, whose previous playoff performances as the Leafs’ GM have earned him the reputation of a futurist when it comes to crunch-time, recognized this potential and decided to bring in the big guns. He went with a top-heavy lineup, putting a lesser skilled centreman in net – Pekka Rinne – and two goalies – Sergei Bobrovsky and Anders Nilsson – with plenty of postseason experience. The move paid off, as the Habs went on a torrid stretch in the second half that saw them win 16 of 19 games, securing the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Key To The Canadiens’ Season

The Canadiens’ season started well, but then fizzled out. They were a disappointing 14th in the league in terms of points-per-game and scored the least amount of goals of any NHL team. The culprit may have been the combination of a lackluster supporting cast and a lack of secondary scoring. Their shooting percentage of 6.89 was the club’s lowest since 2002-03 when they shot 6.55 percent.

It’s fair to say the roster overhaul didn’t work out as Rutherford and the Habs’ brass had hoped. There was no lack of effort, as evidenced by the players’ consistently poor performance, which saw them rank 27th in the NHL in puck possession, according to Natural Stat Trick. In fact, their Fenwick (the percentage of shot attempts that are on net) was the second-lowest in the league: 44.52 percent. For perspective, the Flyers’ Fenwick was 45.22 percent, which is what caused them to tie for 22nd place.

This was a year that saw the Habs miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008 while also posting a career-worst 21 wins. That’s a lot of disappointment for a team that was looking to return to the glory days of the Patrick Roy/Yvon Chouinard era. Unfortunately, that won’t be possible this year, as the team is bound to Giroux and Mete for two more seasons. That doesn’t mean they’ll go quietly. They’ll still be a thorn in the side of any opponent they play.

It’s just not a good thing when a team’s goaltenders have a SV% (save percentage) above.920, as that means they were stopping nearly all of the pucks aimed in their direction. In other words, the Habs’ netminders did more than their fair share. In fact, two of them – Carey Price and Charlie Lindgren – were so efficient that their combined SV% of.923 was third-best in the league. That’s a lot of stopping power for two goalies!

This past season, the Blues and Blackhawks were the only teams to score more goals than the Habs while allowing fewer than five shots on goal per game. If there’s a way the team can at least marginally rebound, it’s by limiting the number of shots they give up. Price and the defense have the ability to do that, as they were second and third in the league, respectively, in terms of Sv% against (the percentage of total shots that a goalie stops). So it won’t be easy going back to the drawing board for the Habs, who will undergo a full rebuild, starting with the Vegas Golden Knights, in the summer of 2021.

Why The Rangers Will Be Hard To Beat

What happened in New York was almost a mirror image of what happened in Montreal. After a slow start, the Rangers caught fire, going 17-3-1 in their next 20 games. Their scoring average of 4.13 goals per game became the fifth-highest in the NHL. They even managed to knock off the defending champs, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the playoffs. It was an improbable run, but it’s safe to say that New York will be the team to beat this year.

The Rangers are the class of the league, and it’s not hard to see why. Brady Skjei, who the team signed to a seven-year, $49 million contract this summer, was third-best in the NHL in terms of Corsi For percentage, helping the team create more scoring chances than their opponents while on the ice. Factor in their other signings – Kevin Hayes, Ryan Buchan, and Cam Talbot – and it’s clear that the Rangers have one of the best groups of forwards in the league.

The real key to New York’s success, though, was the play of their goaltender, Alex Hall. The rookie from the U.S. National Team Development Program posted a 2.07 GAA and a.928 Sv% in 25 appearances, helping the Rangers advance to the semifinals of the playoffs. In a conference semifinals matchup against the Lightning, he shut out the Blues in a 6-0 victory. The 21-year-old’s numbers weren’t great – 3.30 GAA and.875 Sv% in 12 playoff games – but for a rookie, they were quite decent considering how young he is.

This year, the Lightning will be a tough out for any team. They added several key players this offseason, like Nikita Kucherov and J.T. Miller, who were first- and second-ranked, respectively, in terms of points per game last season. Their core is still led by the fantastic Steven Stamkos, one of the better centers in the game. Add in last year’s Vezina Trophy winner, Vladislav Namestnikov, and you’ve got a potent one-two punch up front.

If there’s a weakness it’s in the back, where the Lightning are lacking depth. They’ll be relying on a 23-year-old undrafted free agent, Andrei Vasilevskiy, to anchor their blue line, as well as Mikhail Sergachev. It’s not hard to see why the Lightning were so keen to sign Vasilevskiy. He went 26-9-3 with a 2.29 GAA and a.926 Sv% last season. He’s been a workhorse, appearing in at least 30 games in each of the last three years, so it will be interesting to see how he fares on the bigger stage.

How Can The Devils Counterattack?

Unlike the Rangers, the Devils began the season looking quite ordinary, earning just two of a possible 28 points. That’s not a good start for a team that was supposed to contend for the Stanley Cup. But then they struck gold. They went on a 9-2-2 run, which included a 5-0-1 stretch, to finish the season on a high note. Their playoff run wasn’t flawless – they needed multiple overtimes to dispatch of the Carolina Hurricanes – but it was still a good showing considering how long they were out of the post-season picture following the 2018-19 season.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!