NHL Team Talk Thursday – Avs & Flames Surprise
Today is “Team Talk Thursday” folks so we are going to take a look at the standings from just a hockey perspective rather than from a fantasy perspective.
There are quite a good number of surprises so far, the biggest of which is the Calgary Flames.
The Flames have yet to lose a regular season game and are 2-0-2 with two overtime losses. The Flames have certainly not lacked for offense as they have scored, on average, 3.75 goals per game. The Flames have gotten huge contributions from Jiri Hudler and Sean Monahan, each of which have five points in the Flames four contests thus far. Defenseman Mark Giordano leads all blue-liners on the Flames, with four points. It’s extremely early, but the Flames may not be the worst team in hockey. That distinction may belong to the Buffalo Sabres.
The Sabres are so awful that they are tied for the second worst goal differential (minus six) with the Florida Panthers, a team that was manhandled 7-0 by the St. Louis Blues just four nights ago. The Sabres minus six goals against differential comes fresh with a shutout loss to the Senators and a 2-1 loss to the Red Wings. The Sabres are simply not scoring goals, as they have four goals in four games, a pitiful rate. Even worse for Buffalo is that their two top point scorers, Cody Hodgson and Thomas Vanek are also sporting a team worst minus-4 plus/minus rating.
The final big surprise team is the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs have played great for their rookie coach Patrick Roy and Nathan MacKinnon along with Steve Downie have looked absolutely inspired. P.A. Parenteau and Jamie McGinn lead the team in goals with three and two respectively. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov has looked sharp as well, as he sports a sparkling 1.00 goals against average and a .967 save percentage. These pace numbers won’t hold up for the Avs, but considering these three teams (Buffalo, Calgary and Colorado) were slated to be the worst three in the league, two of them are off to very solid starts so far, albeit just four games into the season.