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06.10.2019 10:12
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A look at the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs, Alexander Steen, Scott Gomez, Fantasy tips and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking. Discount Nike Air Max 97 . The world is crashing down around the Toronto Maple Leafs, and new head coach Peter Horachek, as they have managed all of two goals during a five-game losing skid. It’s one thing to be losing – the Leafs were already doing that – but coming up empty, with no offence to speak of, night after night, is quickly wearing thin on a fanbase that was ready, maybe even hopeful, for a new-coach bounce. Even if the early schedule has been more than a little daunting – the trip through California then St. Louis was going to be tough no matter who was behind the bench – there is no hiding from the fact that the Leafs’ results under Horachek have been poor, but taking a deeper look at the numbers, there is also reason to believe they are not the worst team in the history of hockey. Setting a low bar, I know. First, let’s compare the overall numbers under the last three Maple Leafs coaches: Ron Wilson, Randy Carlyle and Peter Horachek. COMPARING LEAFS LAST THREE COACHES COACH GP G/60 GA/60 SH% SV% Ron Wilson 310 2.7 3.1 9.0% .896 Randy Carlyle 188 2.8 3.0 10.3% .912 Peter Horachek 7 1.3 3.4 4.5% .879 (G/60 - Goals/60 minutes; GA/60 - Goals Against/60 minutes) What this shows is a complete aberration in the shooting and save percentages under Horachek. Unless you want to take the position that the new coach is driving percentages in such a way that the Maple Leafs suddenly have the worst shooters and worst goaltending in the league, after spending the past five years among the top shooters and riding strong goaltending for the past couple seasons, the most reasonable explanation is that the Maple Leafs’ current slump is a percentage-driven fluke. It doesn’t make it any more pleasant to experience, but it’s not as bad as it seems. The Leafs have had percentage-fueled streaks in the past. Remember the 10-1-1 stretch that ended way back in mid-December? It was no more reflective of the Maple Leafs’ true talent than this current slump would be representative of the team’s true talent. If the underlying numbers (shot attempts, scoring chances etc.) don’t change, there’s not much reason to expect sustainable change when it comes to goals. Next, here is a comparison of the Maple Leafs’ play during 5-on-5 situations. This is where we can see that Horachek has improved the Leafs’ puck possession and the only thing that seems out of whack is the percentage of goals-for, which goes right back to crashing shooting and save percentages. 5-on-5 COMPARISON COACH CF/60 CA/60 CF% SC% GF% Ron Wilson 58.4 58.1 50.1% 50.2% 48.3% Randy Carlyle 50.3 64.2 43.9% 44.2% 48.1% Peter Horachek 54.8 56.0 49.4% 49.5% 23.8% (CF/60 - Corsi For/60 minutes; CA/60 - Corsi Against/60 minutes; CF% - Corsi For%; SC% - Scoring Chance%; GF% - Goals For%) (Corsi = shot attempts) The fascinating part in all this is that Toronto’s underlying possession numbers have improved under Horachek and should provide reason for optimism. Admittedly, when a team scores two goals in five games, trying to be optimistic requires searching for a faint silver lining on enormous dark clouds, but the point of this is to understand that percentages tend to fluctuate a whole lot more than shot attempts. Seven games isn’t enough to declare that Horachek has forever improved Toronto’s puck possession, but it appears that they are headed in the right direction. Now the Leafs just need to get back to finishing opportunities like they did in the past because there isn’t any reason to justify shooting 1.5%, as they have over the past five games. Even as percentage variance goes, thats a remarkably bad run. This isn’t to say that everything is fine with the Maple Leafs or that they should remain content with improved underlying numbers, because even with the improvement, they are a below average team but, at the very least, try not to be blinded by short-term percentage variance that simply can’t continue. HEROES Alexander Steen – The high-end two-way performer for St. Louis, and former Maple Leaf, is riding a 10-game point streak after getting a couple of assists in a 3-1 win over Colorado. During that 10-game streak, Steen has recorded 18 points (7 G, 11 A). Scott Gomez – The Devils centre has been an unlikely source of offence, but he registered a couple of assists in a 5-2 win at San Jose, giving him nine points (2 G, 7 A) in his past eight games. James Wisniewski - The Blue Jackets defenceman had a goal and two assists in a 3-1 win at Minnesota. He has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in the past nine games and has the best possession stats (48.0% Corsi, +1.2% Relative Corsi) of Columbus’ regular blueliners. ZEROES Sean Couturier & Matt Read – Plus-minus doesn’t hold a lot of analytical weight, but these two Flyers forwards were both minus-5, with possession under one-third (33.3% and 31.8%, respectively), in Monday’s 7-4 loss to the Islanders. Tyler Bozak & James van Riemsdyk – By the same token, this pair of Maple Leafs forwards each took a minus-4 in a 4-1 loss to Carolina. Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time and, sometimes, being in the wrong place is what leads to being minus-4. Jonathan Bernier – Toronto’s goaltender surrendered three goals on 13 shots, getting pulled 42 seconds into the second period, against Carolina. In seven games this month, Bernier has an .877 save percentage, his worst save percentage in a month for which he’s played at least five games. LINEUP NEED TO KNOW Mark Fraser – The Devils defenceman played a season-high 22:23 at San Jose, his first time playing more than 19 minutes in a game in seven games since his return. SHORT SHIFTS Flyers RW Jakub Voracek had a pair of assists in Monday’s 7-4 loss to the Islander, pushing his league-leading point total to 55 (17 G, 38 A) in 47 games…Islanders LW Nikolay Kulemin scored a pair of goals and added an assist in a 7-4 win over Philadelphia, and has six points (5 G, 1 A) in the past five games…Islanders C John Tavares had a goal and an assist, giving him 19 points (9 G, 10 A) in the past 14 games…Hurricanes C Eric Staal scored a pair of goals in a 4-1 win at Toronto; he has 10 points (8 G, 2 A) in the past dozen games…Blue Jackets LW Scott Hartnell recorded a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win at Minnesota, giving him nine points (2 G, 7 A) in the past eight games…Blues LW Jaden Schwartz picked up a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win against Colorado, giving him 14 points (7 G, 7 A) in his past 11 games…Islanders D Johnny Boychuk (2 A) and Nick Leddy (1 G, 1 A) each had two points and were both on the ice for four even-strength goals for (and none against) in the win over Philadelphia…Devils RW Jordin Tootoo and C Tim Sestito had strong possession games (14 shot attempts for, 3 against, 82.4%) in New Jersey’s 5-2 win at San Jose… Flames G Joni Ortio made 33 saves, on 34 shots, in a 2-1 overtime win at Los Angeles…Hurricanes G Anton Khudobin stopped 34 of 35 shots in a 4-1 win at Toronto…Canucks G Ryan Miller had 23 saves on 24 shots in a 2-1 win at Florida…Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 25 of 26 shots in a 3-1 win at Minnesota…Flyers G Robb Zepp was pulled after allowing four goals on 20 shots at the Islanders. FANTASY FOCUS Some players to consider for your lineup - digging extra deep today: Dale Weise – It’s fine that he has four points (2 G, 2 A) in the past seven games, but interest in Weise is more due to his taking regular turns on Montreal’s top line with Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty. Kevin Klein – Nothing on the power play for this Rangers defenceman, but Klein’s 17 even-strength points ranks 18th in the league among defencemen, ahead of Kevin Shattenkirk, Mark Streit, Ryan Suter and others. Kyle Quincey – The Detroit defenceman had seven points in 38 games to start the season, and now has five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past four games. Like Klein, no power play points on the season for Quincey. Ales Hemsky – He got off to a brutal start for the Stars this year, but does have 10 points (5 G, 5 A) in the past 14 games. Much of the data included comes from,, and Scott Cullen can be reached at Black Friday Nike Air Max 97 .J. -- Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils took a lot of grief considering his scored the first of his career-best three goals just 12 seconds into a crucial game against the Florida Panthers. Nike Air Max 97 Online . Both sides came closest to scoring in the first half, when Roma had a goal from Mattia Destro waved off for offside and Inters Rodrigo Palacio headed high. "A draw was a fair result. Neither squad had many chances," Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic said. . The New York State Supreme Court only partially dismissed the lawsuit, meaning the case could be headed for trial. The tour announced a year ago that Singh would be suspended for saying in a Sports Illustrated story that he took deer antler spray, which was believed to contain the banned substance IGF-1.Minneapolis, MN ( - The Minnesota Vikings waited 18 years and 453 games to post a blocked punt return touchdown. They had two of them Sunday. Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen scooped up blocked punts and returned them for scores as the Vikings defeated the Carolina Panthers 31-13 on Sunday afternoon. It was Minnesotas first blocked punt return touchdown since Issiac Holt recorded one against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 12, 1986. Thielens 30-yard return in the first quarter was the longest blocked punt return touchdown in Vikings history, but that mark was short-lived. Griffens 43-yard return in the second established the new record. Teddy Bridgewater was 15-of-21 for 138 yards with two touchdowns, while Greg Jennings caught five passes for 45 yards and a score for the Vikings (5-7), who have won three of their last five games. Minnesota won despite totaling just 210 yards of offense. The Panthers were a 1-3 team last season when they came to Minnesota. They beat the Vikings to begin an eight-game winning streak and went on to win the NFC South and claim the No. 2 seed in the NFC. The script didnt produce the same result, however, as Carolina trailed 14-0 early and never really got back in it. Cam Newton completed 18-of-35 passes for 194 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Carolina, which is 1-8-1 since beginning the season 2-0. The Panthers, though, are still justt 1 1/2 games behind New Orleans in the up- for-grabs NFC South. Wholesale Nike Air Max 97. Bridgewater found Kyle Rudolph in the right flat to cap Minnesotas opening six-play, 45-yard drive, and Thielens score came after Carolinas ensuing possession. Thielen burst through the line and blocked Brad Nortmans kick before scampering in for his touchdown to make it 14-0. The Panthers next 14-play sequence, which took 6:23 off the clock, stalled in the red zone and Graham Gano booted a 30-yard field goal late in the first to get them on the board. Jasper Brinkley blocked Nortman after Carolinas next march, and Griffen scooped it up and raced into the end zone to increase the Minnesota margin to 21-3. Gano answered the score with a 35-yard field goal, but Bridgewater flipped a 17-yard TD pass to Jennings in the waning seconds of the first half to give the Vikings a 28-6 cushion heading into the locker room. Newton hit Philly Brown deep over the middle for a 32-yard touchdown on Carolinas first touch of the second half, but the Panthers never cut into the deficit further. Blair Walshs 39-yard field goal early in the fourth capped the scoring. Game Notes Carolina tallied 348 yards, outgaining Minnesota by 138 ... The Panthers were 7-of-16 on third down, while the Vikings finished 4-of-11 ... Carolina picked up 23 first downs, while Minnesota moved the chains 12 times. ' ' '

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