Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. The San Jose Sharks have won seven games in a row and look poised to be strong contenders for the playoffs. We all said that at the end of January when San Jose was 7-0-0 to open the season. Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s an interesting question, JD. Thanks, self! Just how good has Carey Price, G (L, 30 SV, 2 GA, .938%) been this season? Pretty damn good, that’s how good. In 52 starts he has posted a season line of 36-13-3/1.92/.935/6 and with 18 games left in the regular season for the Habs, Carey now leads the Vezina race over Pekka Rinne and will challenge Dominik Hasek’s ridiculous 1998-99 season. That year Hasek posted arguably the best season by a goalie ever putting up a 1.87 goals-against average to go with a robust .937 save percentage. That’s absolutely ridiculous. What’s more ridiculous is the shooting gallery he faced doing it. There has rarely been a better example of a one-man show than the 1998 Buffalo Sabres, who had no earthly business making the playoffs but no one told Hasek that. Then Sabres Head Coach Lindy Ruff would let his entire team pinch deep offensively allowing tons of odd-man rushes leaving Hasek hanged out to dry more often than not and more often than not Hasek shut the door. The 2014 Habs aren’t nearly that bad, but it can be argued that without Price they would be struggling to make the playoffs, don’t get me started on leading the Eastern Conference. Indeed, Carey’s 1.92 goals-against average to pair with his beastly .935 save percentage have carried the Habs to first overall in the east despite sitting just 22nd overall with 2.6 goals per game on offense and sporting one of the league’s more inept power plays ranking 24th overall converting on just 16.8% of their chances. That’s pretty ridiculous and come playoff time the Habs will have trouble advancing without a potent power play, but don’t put it past Price to carry them to the Eastern Conference Finals again. Is Price putting up the best season for a goalie ever? You could certainly argue that’s the case. I know I am. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
When Ben Scrivens (0 GA, 59 SV, W) was traded to the Oilers a lot of Oil fans rejoiced, and why not? Ilya Bryzgalov had been recently signed but almost immediately hurt after Stars rookie Valeri Nichushkin rang his bell and sent him to IR and Devan Dubnyk had long been a bleh option for them. I didn’t think this did much for the Oil in the short term given the ease with which Martin Jones displaced Scribbles before Jon Quick returned in L.A., and because the Oiler defense is one of the worst in the league. Last night they proved that was still the case allowing 59 shots to reach Scribbles, who amazingly pushed every last shot aside to shut the Sharks out 3-0. Today people are going wild over Scrivens and I swear I’ve heard some chants of “Scrivezina! Scrivezina!” quietly rolling over the Canadian tundra from Edmonton. When I look at what happened last night I see the fact that the Oiler D allowed 59 shots on goal as the real indicator of what’s going to happen moving forward for Scribbles than his ability to stop them all. How often is that really going to happen? And by “that” I mean both the fact that he faced that many shots and stopped that many? Well, if the Oiler D is any indication, he’ll be facing tons of shots a lot more often than he can stop most of them. Broken down further, the Sharks launched 100 shots last night. 59 made it on net, 22 were blocked and the rest missed. Still, I have to give Scribbles his props; he was absolutely amazing all game and he deserves credit for his performance. Before last night the previous record for most shots against in a shutout belonged to Mike Smith, who pushed away 54 in 2011-12 for a 2-0 win vs. the Blue Jackets. Scribbles shut down the Sharks, there’s a big difference there. Dominik Hašek holds the record for more stops in a playoff game with a whopping 70, but that game went to four OTs, more than double the length of Scribbles’ insane game. So what does this mean for fantasy owners? Nothing. You should still avoid the Edmonton goalies because, uhm, their D allowed 59 shots on goal! Come on! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night: