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‘NHL’ Articles

Pro Hockey

NHL ‘Three Stars of The Week’ for October 2-6: Rangers’ Zibanejad, Red Wings’ Mantha and Maple Leafs’ Matthews

 

NEW YORK (Oct. 7, 2019) – New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, Detroit Red Wings right wing Anthony Mantha and Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Oct. 6.

 

FIRST STAR – MIKA ZIBANEJAD, C, NEW YORK RANGERS

Zibanejad topped the NHL with 4-4—8, collecting four points in each of his first two outings of the season to power the Rangers (2-0-0, 4 points) to a pair of victories. He registered 1‑3—4, including the tying goal in the third period, in a 6-4 triumph over the Winnipeg Jets Oct. 3. Zibanejad then posted 3-1—4 (including the winning goal) – scoring on the power play, at even strength and while shorthanded – to lift New York to a 4-1 victory over his former team, the Ottawa Senators, Oct. 5. The 26-year-old Huddinge, Sweden, native became the first NHL player since 1995-96 to record eight or more points through his team’s opening two games of a season (Jaromir Jagr: 3-5—8 w/ PIT) and just the second player in Rangers history to achieve the feat (Rod Gilbert: 0-8—8 in 1976-77). Zibanejad, the sixth overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft, also became the first NHL player to compile four-plus points in each of his team’s first two contests of a season since 1990-91 (John Cullen: 1-8—9 w/ PIT).

 

SECOND STAR – ANTHONY MANTHA, RW, DETROIT RED WINGS

Mantha shared the League lead with five goals and ranked second overall with seven points (5-2—7) in two games to also guide the Red Wings to a 2-0-0 start to the season. He recorded 1-2—3 in a 5-3 victory at the Nashville Predators Oct. 5. Mantha then scored all four Detroit goals, including a natural hat trick and the tiebreaking tally with 53.3 seconds remaining in regulation, in a 4-3 win versus the Dallas Stars Oct. 6. The 25-year-old Longueuil, Que., native became the second player in Red Wings franchise history to register four or more goals in the team’s home opener, joining John Sorrell in 1933-34 (4-0—4 vs. NYA). Mantha, the 20th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, also became the 23rd different player in team history to post a four-goal game and the first to do so since Feb. 2, 2011 (Johan Franzen: 5-0—5 at OTT).

 

THIRD STAR – AUSTON MATTHEWS, C, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Matthews matched Mantha with five goals in three games (5-0—5) to help the Maple Leafs (2-0-1) earn five out of a possible six standings points. He scored twice, including the winning goal, in a 5-3 triumph over the Ottawa Senators Oct. 2. In doing so, the No. 1 overall selection from the 2016 NHL Draft became the fourth player in League history to collect at least one goal in each of his first four career season openers (9-2—11 in 4 GP). Matthews added one goal in a 4-1 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets Oct. 4, followed by two goals – including the tying strike with 1:15 remaining in regulation – in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens Oct. 5. The 22-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., native ranks third in the NHL with 116 goals (in 215 GP) since making his debut in 2016.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELAATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

Patrick Marleau’s re-signing with San Jose for 22nd season, has him chasing many milestones

Veteran within striking distance of climbing all-time lists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After signing a one-year contract to return to San Jose, Patrick Marleau will enter his 22nd NHL season and continuing the sixth-longest consecutive games played streak in NHL history (788 GP entering 2019-20).

Marleau begins 2019-20 within striking distance of passing several notable names on all-time NHL lists. The 40-year-old has 551-615—1,166 in 1,657 regular-season games, placing him among the top 100 in League history for games played (5th), goals (28th), assists (t-82nd) and points (53rd).

A FRANCHISE ICON IS GOING BACK TO CALI
Marleau returns to San Jose, where he played his first 19 seasons from 1997-98 to 2016-17 after being chosen by the Sharks with the second pick in the 1997 NHL Draft – behind teammate and fellow 22-season veteran Joe Thornton. Marleau has appeared in 1,493 of the 2,152 all-time regular-season games contested by the Sharks (69.4%), the highest such percentage by a player with an NHL franchise (min. 1,000 GP contested by club).

* Marleau is the all-time franchise leader in numerous statistical categories – notably regular-season games played (1,493), goals (508) and points (1,082). His 1,082 career points in a Sharks uniform are the third-most by a player with a California-based franchise, behind only Kings legends Marcel Dionne (550-757—1,307 in 921 GP) and Luc Robitaille (557-597—1,154 in 1,077 GP).

* Marleau (1,493 w/ SJS) needs seven games to become the seventh player in NHL history to make at least 1,500 regular-season appearances with one franchise. Four of the six in that group did so with the Red Wings (Gordie Howe: 1,687; Nicklas Lidstrom: 1,564; Alex Delvecchio: 1,550 and Steve Yzerman: 1,514), while Shane Doan (1,540) achieved the feat with the Coyotes/Jets and Ray Bourque (1,518) with the Bruins.

* Marleau and Thornton will reunite for their 13th season as teammates. The 899 regular-season games in which both Marleau and Thornton have skated with the Sharks is by far the most by the top two picks from the same NHL Draft, 453 contests more than Bobby Smith and Ryan Walter, the top two picks in 1978, played together with the Canadiens (446 GP). Marleau (343-386—729) and Thornton (212-715—927) have combined for 555-1,101—1,656 points in those 899 games.

MARLEAU ON TRACK TO CLIMB GAMES PLAYED LIST, EXTEND “IRONMAN” STREAK
Known for his health and longevity, Marleau – who celebrated his 40th birthday on Sept. 15 – has played 82 games in nine of his last 10 seasons with the lone exception being 2012-13 when teams contested 48 fixtures.

* A 78-game season in 2019-20 would propel Marleau past Ron Francis (1,731) and Jaromir Jagr (1,733) and into sole possession of third place on the NHL’s all-time list, behind only Howe (1,767) and Mark Messier (1,756). He also enters his 2019-20 campaign with an active “Ironman” streak of 788 consecutive regular-season games dating to April 9, 2009 – the sixth-longest such run in NHL history (one of three active runs among the top seven all time).

* Marleau is on track to join Thornton and Boston’s Zdeno Chara – the only other 40-year-olds in the League – on a short list of NHL players to appear in at least one game in four or more different decades. One game in the 2020 calendar year would put him on the below list.

ONE OF THE MOST CLUTCH SCORERS IN NHL HISTORY
Marleau has made a name for himself as a clutch scorer through his first 21 NHL seasons and is one of nine players in League history with at least 100 career game-winning goals. Nearly a fifth of his career goals have been game winners (19.2%; 106 of 551), the highest such percentage among the NHL’s 45 members of the 500-goal club.

* Marleau has reached the 15-goal mark in each season since 1998-99 and is one of eight players in League history with at least 20 career 15-goal campaigns; the only skaters with more are Howe (24), Jagr (23), Francis (21) and Delvecchio (21).

* Another 15-goal season would move Marleau – who occupies 28th place on the League’s all-time goals list with 551 overall – past Johnny Bucyk (556; 27th), Guy Lafleur (560; 26th), Mike Modano (561; 25th), Mats Sundin (564; t-23rd) and Joe Nieuwendyk (564; t-23rd) for sole possession of 23rd place in NHL history.

PLAYOFF BERTH ALMOST ALWAYS A GUARANTEE WITH MARLEAU ON ROSTER
Marleau has helped his teams clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 19 of his 21 prior NHL seasons, with the only outliers being when the Sharks failed to qualify in 2002-03 and 2014-15. Should the Sharks make the playoffs this season, Marleau would be placed among a group of eight other players in League history who have appeared in at least one postseason game in 20 different years.

* In addition to his strong track record of reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Marleau has also maintained his high standard of playing ability once there, with 72-55—127 in 191 career postseason games. His 72 career goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are tied with Esa Tikkanen for 14th place on the NHL’s all-time list, while his 127 postseason points place him in a three-way stalemate with Yvan Cournoyer (64-63—127 in 147 GP) and Robitaille (58-69—127 in 159 GP) for 46th place in League history.

* Marleau’s 16 career game-winning goals and 24 power-play goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are also tied for ninth and 17th place in NHL history, respectively.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

 

NHL Central Division’s Minnesota Wild 2019-20 Outlook: Missing playoffs first time in 6 years has team motivated to return

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MINNESOTA WILD: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
In 2018-19, the Wild missed the postseason for the first time since 2011-12, snapping a streak of six consecutive playoff appearances. Minnesota will look to avoid consecutive seasons outside the playoff picture, something they have not experienced since a four-campaign drought from 2008-09 to 2011-12.

SEASON-OPENING STATS
* The longest season-opening goal streak by a Wild skater is three games, accomplished three times including once by current Wild forward Zach Parise (2015-16). The other instances: Antti Miettinen in 2008-09 and Chris Stewart in 2017-18.

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
* Eric Staal has topped the 20-goal mark in each of his first three seasons with the Wild (28 in 2016-17; 42 in 2017-18; 22 in 2018-19). No player in Wild history has reached the 20-goal mark in each of their first four seasons with the franchise – Brian Rolston is the only other skater to do so in each of his first three campaigns with Minnesota.

* Matt Dumba led all NHL defensemen with 12 goals in 32 games before suffering a season-ending injury in December of 2018 – five shy of the franchise mark for goals by a blueliner.

Zach Parise sits 33 goals shy of becoming the third player to score 200 goals with the franchise. He would join Marian Gaborik (219) and Mikko Koivu (201).

* Newly signed forward Mats Zuccarello needs 45 points to reach 400 for his NHL career (114-241—355 in 511 GP), a milestone not yet reached by a player born in Norway.

THE FUTURE IS NOW
Ryan Donato, 23, had 4-12—16 in 22 games with the Wild in 2018-19 after being acquired in a trade with the Bruins. Donato’s 0.73 points-per-game with Minnesota ranked second on the roster behind Zach Parise (0.82) among players still with the team at the end of 2018-19.

Luke Kunin, 21, Minnesota’s first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft (No. 15), had 6-11—17 in 49 NHL games in 2018-19 and looks to carry a more prominent role this season. Only four players in Wild history have recorded a 20-goal season prior to their 23rd birthday: Marian Gaborik (2x; 2001-02 & 2002-03), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2006-07), Guillaume Latendresse (2009-10) and Nino Niederreiter (2014-15).

BETWEEN THE PIPES
Devan Dubnyk is one of three goaltenders with 30 or more wins in each of the last five seasons, joining Pekka Rinne and Braden Holtby. Dubnyk (165) sits 30 wins from surpassing Niklas Backstrom (194) for the most victories in franchise history.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with Wild. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 2 – Kurtis Foster (Nov. 19, 2005)
Most assists: 2 – five players; most recent: Ryan Donato (Feb. 21, 2019)
Most points: 3 – Todd White (Oct. 5, 2005)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 2 – Kurtis Foster (Nov. 19, 2005)
Most assists: 2 – Louie Belpedio (April 7, 2018)
Most points: 2 – Kurtis Foster (Nov. 19, 2005) and Louie Belpedio (April 7, 2018)

GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 43 – John Curry (April 10, 2014)
Shutout: Dwayne Roloson (Oct. 6, 2001) and Devan Dubnyk (Jan. 15, 2015)

First season with Wild. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 34 – Brian Rolston (2005-06)
Most assists: 48 – Andrew Brunette (2001-02)
Most points: 79 – Brian Rolston (2005-06)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 14 – Marc-Andre Bergeron (2008-09)
Most assists: 30 – Marek Zidlicky (2008-09)
Most points: 42 – Marek Zidlicky (2008-09)

GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 27 – Devan Dubnyk (2014-15)
Most Shutouts: 5 – three goaltenders; most recent: Devan Dubnyk (2014-15)

 

PREVIEW WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

Central Division’s Nashville Predators 2019-20 Outlook: Team is always a Stanley Cup contender

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NASHVILLE PREDATORS: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
The Predators are the two-time defending Central Division champions after claiming the No. 1 seed in the regular-season in both 2017-18 and 2018-19. Nashville looks to top 100 standings points in three consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history after hitting 100 in 2018-19 (47-29-6) and capturing the Presidents’ Trophy with 117 points in 2017-18 (53-18-11).

The Predators also put their five-year playoff run on the line in 2019-20, tied with the Capitals for the second-longest active streak of postseason appearances behind the Penguins (13).

SEASON-OPENING STATS
* The Predators got off to a fast start in 2018-19, opening with an 8-2-0 (16 points) record to lead all teams through 10 games. Nashville also opened 2018-19 with eight consecutive road wins, the third-longest road winning streak from the start of a season in NHL history.

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
Viktor Arvidsson has led or co-led the Predators in goals in each of the last three seasons, including a career-high 34 tallies in just 58 games in 2018-19. His 0.59 goals-per-game average ranked third in the NHL (min. 20 GP) behind 50-goal scorers Alex Ovechkin (0.63) and Leon Draisaitl (0.61).

* Arvidsson is one of five players to lead their current team in goals in each of the last three or more seasons. He is joined by Ovechkin (14; 2005-06—2018-19 w/ WSH), Vladimir Tarasenko (5; 2014-15—2018-19 w/ STL), Anders Lee (3; 2016-17—2018-19 w/ NYI) and Tyler Seguin (3; 2016-17—2018-19 w/ DAL).

* New acquisition Matt Duchene also topped 30 goals in 2018-19 with the Senators and Blue Jackets (31-39—70 in 73 GP). The Predators have had multiple players score 30 goals in a season on three occasions: 2005-06 (Steve Sullivan: 31 & Paul Kariya: 31), 2015-16 (Filip Forsberg: 33 & James Neal: 31) and 2016-17 (Arvidsson: 31 & Forsberg: 31).

* Captain Roman Josi has reached the 50-point mark four times in his career, including 15-41—56 in 2018-19 (82 GP). He needs 52 points to become the second defenseman in franchise history to record 400 points with the Predators (Shea Weber: 166-277—443 in 763 GP).

* Forsberg and Craig Smith have each scored 20 or more goals five times with the Predators – no player in franchise history has recorded six 20-goal campaigns with the club.

THE FUTURE IS NOW
* After ten games with Nashville in 2018-19 – four in the regular season, six in the playoffs – Dante Fabbro is expected to contend for a full-time NHL role in 2019-20. Current Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis holds the franchise records for goals, assists (tied) and points by a rookie blueliner, marks he set in 2003-04 (7-19—26 in 80 GP). Seth Jones also had 19 assists as a rookie in 2013-14, falling one short of Hamhuis in the other categories (6-19—25 in 77 GP). In total, only three rookie defensemen have topped 20 points in a season with the Predators: Hamhuis, Jones and Cody Franson (6-15—21 in 2009-10).

BETWEEN THE PIPES
Pekka Rinne is one of three goaltenders with 30 or more wins in each of the last five seasons, joining Devan Dubnyk and Braden Holtby. Overall, Rinne has reached the 30-win plateau eight times in 13 seasons – only Martin Brodeur (14), Patrick Roy (13), Henrik Lundqvist (11), Marc-Andre Fleury (9) and Ed Belfour (9) have more 30-win seasons in NHL history.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with Predators. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 3 – Steve Sullivan (Feb. 18, 2004)
Most assists: 1 – 37 players; most recent: Kyle Turris (Nov. 11, 2017)
Most points: 4 – Steve Sullivan (Feb. 18, 2004)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 1 – 4 players; most recent: P.K. Subban (Oct. 14, 2016)
Most assists: 1 – 11 players; most recent: Samuel Girard (Oct. 10, 2017)
Most points: 2 – Denis Grebeshkov (March 2, 2010)

GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 39 – Jan Lasak (April 9, 2002)
Shutout: None

First season with Predators. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 31 – Paul Kariya (2005-06)
Most assists: 54 – Paul Kariya (2005-06)
Most points: 85 – Paul Kariya (2005-06)
DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 16 – Andy Delmore (2001-02)
Most assists: 39 – Marek Zidlicky (2003-04)
Most points: 53 – Marek Zidlicky (2003-04)

GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 23 – Dan Ellis (2007-08)
Most Shutouts: 6 – Dan Ellis (2007-08)

 

PREVIEW WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

 

Central Division’s Defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues 2019-20 Outlook: Team has a bullseye on their backs

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ST. LOUIS BLUES: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
The Blues are coming off a season that saw them rally from last place overall through games of Jan. 2 and rebound to capture the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. They became the first team from any of the four major North American sports leagues to win a title after occupying last place overall after one-quarter or more of the season’s games (since 1967-68).

St. Louis now sets its sights on becoming the sixth club in League history to successfully defend its first-ever championship. All eight such teams in the past 25 years have fallen short of the repeat. The only ones to do so: Red Wings (1936-37), Flyers (1974-75), Islanders (1980-83), Oilers (1987-88) and Penguins (1991-92). The original Ottawa Senators won the Cup in 1920 and 1921 but had won the championship multiple times before the NHL was formed.

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
Vladimir Tarasenko (33-35—68 in 2018-19) has topped the 30-goal mark in each of his last five seasons – only Alex Ovechkin (14 seasons) has a longer active streak of 30-goal campaigns. Only two players have recorded more consecutive 30-goal seasons with the franchise than Tarasenko’s five: Gary Unger (8) and Brett Hull (7).

Ryan O’Reilly led Blues skaters with a career-high 77 points in 2018-19 (28-49—77 in 82 GP), his first season with the club. Only one player in franchise history has led the Blues in points in each of his first two seasons with the club: Red Berenson (1967-68 & 1968-69).

* O’Reilly captured his first career Selke Trophy in 2018-19 and led the NHL in faceoff wins (1,086), marking the fourth time in his career he has won more than 1,000 draws in a single campaign. The only other players since 1997-98 (when faceoffs were officially tracked) to win 1,000 or more faceoffs at least four times are Rod Brind’Amour (6), Patrice Bergeron (4), Mats Sundin (4) and Adam Oates (4).

Alex Pietrangelo (93-305—398 in 688 GP) sits two points shy of becoming the second defenseman (also Al MacInnis: 127-325—452 in 613 GP) and 12th skater to record 400 points with the franchise. Pietrangelo also sits seven goals shy of joining MacInnis as the second blueliner to score 100 goals with the franchise.

* Pietrangelo has reached the 40-point mark on seven occasions, tied with MacInnis for the most such seasons by a defenseman in franchise history. Only six active blueliners have more career 40-point seasons: Duncan Keith (9), Keith Yandle (9), Shea Weber (9), Zdeno Chara (9), Brent Burns (8) and Erik Karlsson (8).

THE FUTURE IS NOW
* Robert Thomas had 9-24—33 in 70 games as a teenager in 2018-19 and will be 20 years old for the entire 2019-20 campaign. Wayne Babych had 27-36—63 at age 20 in 1978-79 (67 GP), the highest single-season goal and point totals by a Blues player before age 21.

BETWEEN THE PIPES
Jordan Binnington was a catalyst of the Blues’ turnaround season, putting together a 24-5-1 record as a rookie with a .927 save percentage, five shutouts and an NHL-leading 1.89 goals-against average (min. 25 GP). He can become just the second goaltender in NHL history to lead the League in goals-against average in each of his first two career seasons (min. 25 GP) – Canadiens legend Bill Durnan did so in each of his first four seasons from 1943-44 to 1946-47.

* Binnington also can become just the fifth goalie in NHL history to post a goals-against average under 2.00 in each of his first two seasons (min. 25 GP) – and first in the NHL’s modern era. The only ones to do so: Lorne Chabot (1926-27—1928-29), George Hainsworth (1926-27—1928-29), Hal Winkler (1926-27—1927-28) and Frank Brimsek (1938-39—1939-40).

* Only one goaltender in franchise history has posted multiple seasons with a goals-against average less than 2.00 (min. 25 GP): Brian Elliott (1.56 in 2011-12, 1.96 in 2013-14).

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with the Blues. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 2 – 6 players; most recent: Vladimir Tarasenko (Jan. 19, 2013)
Most assists: 4 – Dave Pichette (Feb. 15, 1984)
Most points: 4 – Dave Pichette (Feb. 15, 1984) and Adam Creighton (Jan. 20, 1995)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 1 – 10 players; most recent: Kris Russell (Nov. 12, 2011)
Most assists: 4 – Dave Pichette (Feb. 15, 1984)
Most points: 4 – Dave Pichette (Feb. 15, 1984)

GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 35 – Guy Hebert (Dec. 11, 1991) and Chris Osgood (March 15, 2003)
Shutout: Chris Osgood (March 15, 2003)

First season with the Blues. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 44 – Mark Hunter (1985-86)
Most assists: 79 – Adam Oates (1989-90)
Most points: 102 – Adam Oates (1989-90)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 20 – Larry Sacharuk (1974-75)
Most assists: 44 – Scott Stevens (1990-91)
Most points: 51 – Rob Ramage (1982-83)

GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 42 – Roman Turek (1999-2000)
Most Shutouts: 9 – Brian Elliott (2011-12)

 

PREVIEW WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

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