As it currently stands, we are 9-6-0 for a total of 18 points. This places us 5th in the division behind Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix, Vancouver respectively. If we were in the Central Division, we would be 5th place. If we were in the Atlantic Division we would be 4th place and if we were in the Metropolitan Division we would be 3rd place. We are in the most competitive division of the 4 and the most competitive conference of the 2.
Is this cause for alarm? Perhaps. We have an 82 game season this year, so we still have 67 games to go. Yes, you read that right. SIXTY SEVEN.
Now, let’s take a look at some other stats.
Kopitar leads the team (as usual) with 15 points. That’s 12 assists and 3 goals in 15 games so he’s averaging a point a game. Justin Williams has 11 points with 5 goals and 6 assists. Mike Richards has 11 points with 3 goals and 8 assists. Jeff Carter who we are now without has only 9 points with 5 goals and 4 assists. Dustin Brown has 7 points with 3 goals and 4 assists. Muzzin and Doughty each have 7 points and then everyone else has 4 or less. Except for Trevor Lewis who has ZERO POINTS in 15 games.
The best Plus/Minus player so far is Matt Greene with a +5, followed by Kopitar and Brown at +4. Williams, Clifford, Martinez are rocking a +2, Doughty and Stoll a +1. The lowest ranked would be Richards and Voynov with a -4 and Frattin with a -6.
Quick is rocking a 2.68 GAA with a .896 save percentage. He has played 13 of the 15 games. That leaves him 22nd in the league for GAA and 35th of 43 for save percentage.
A look back at the last 15:
Lost: 4 to 3, Home against Nashville Predators
Won in OT: 3 to 4, Home against San Jose Sharks
Lost: 1 to 3, Road against Phoenix Coyotes
Won in Shootout: 1-2, Home against Edmonton Oilers
Won: 4 to 7, Home against Phoenix Coyotes
Lost: 3 to 2, Home against Calgary Flames
Won: 5 to 2, Home against Dallas Stars
Won in Shootout: 2 to 1, Road against Nashville Predators
Lost: 1 to 5, Road against Tampa Bay Lightning
Won: 3-0, Road against Florida Panthers
Won in Shootout: 2-1, Road against Carolina Hurricanes
Won in OT: 4-3, Home against Ottawa Senators
Lost: 3-1, Home against New York Rangers
Lost: 5-3, Road against Winnipeg Jets
Won in Shootout: 3-2, Road against Minnesota Wild
6 of our 9 wins are in overtime. In these 15 games, Goals For (in regulation or overtime, not shootout) looks like:
3, 3, 1, 1, 7, 2, 5, 1, 1, 3, 1, 4, 1, 3, 2
This means we are averaging 2.53 goals for. If you take out the 7 goal game, we’re averaging 2.21 goals for. When our goal against average is 2.68, which is higher than our goals for average, it means our normal defensive superiority is not getting it done.
Our next 15 matchups are as follows:
Home against the Sabres (3-13-1)
Home against the Canucks (10-5-2)
Road against the Sabres (3-13-1)
Road against the Islanders (6-6-3)
Road against the Devils (3-7-4)
Road against the Rangers (7-8-0)
Home against the Lightning (10-4-0)
Home against the Devils (3-7-4)
Home against the Avalanche (12-2-0)
Road against the Canucks (10-5-2)
Road against the Sharks (10-1-4)
Home against the Flames (6-7-2)
Home against the Blues (9-2-2)
Road against the Ducks (13-3-1)
Home against the Islanders (6-6-3)
If we base our speculation purely on record, we will win 9 of the next 15, giving us 18-15-0.
What needs to happen?
The obvious answer is goal scoring. It’s the same problem we dealt with last year and the same problem we dealt with in 11-12. In order to fix the problem in 11-12, management brought Jeff Carter on board. Carter is now out for an unannounced period of time with an injury to his foot. It’s the same foot he broke in the past so presumably he has in someway reinjured or aggravated it. In 2012-2013, we never really solved the scoring problem and finished out the season suffering from the same issue. Just this last week, Toffoli and Vey were brought up to play with the big boys and Ellerby was sent to waivers where he was snatched up by Winnipeg.
The not so obvious answer is defense. While Jonathan Quick (and the team) started slow last year, there were a couple of obvious answers for that. The “Stanley Cup Hangover” was in effect as well as Quick’s recovery from surgery. We didn’t have Mitchell or Greene to begin last year. Our defense’s Plus/Minus is as follows:
It is not yet time to panic. The beginning of the last two years was a fairly slow start. We’ve all heard and said many times… this team has too much talent to not start scoring. Sutter is continually shuffling the lines in order to try and find something that will work.