For Saturday reading, here is a small collection of random Canes stats and math:
A Friday to break streaks
* 17: After a phenomenal start to the season scoring-wise, Justin Faulk had gone 17 games without a goal before scoring on Friday night in Winnipeg.
* 5: Since returning from a concussion, Phil Di Giuseppe had gone 5 games without a scoring point before scoring a goal on Friday night in Winnipeg. After a solid start with 8 points in 14 games, hopefully this gets Di Giuseppe going again offensively.
* 20: Friday night was Cam Ward’s first game in 20 days after a layoff due to a concussion and the all-star break.
The big line
* 7-14: Jordan Staal has 21 points in 28 games since the start of December for an impressive 62-point pace if prorated over 82 games. That number is even more impressive when you consider the role of his line checking the other teams’ best lines as often as possible.
* 5-10: Andrej Nestrasil has also been a key part of the Canes best line. His 44-point pace since the beginning of December is not eye-popping but provides key depth scoring and must also be considered in the context of his line’s primary role.
* 5 in 5: Continuing a recent scoring surge, Joakim Nordstrom notched 2 assists on Friday night in Winnipeg to give him 5 points in his last 5 games. His scoring totals are modest, but I think his unique skill set is incredibly important to why Nestrasil-JStaal-Nordstrom is playing so well. For a guy who is not overly big, he has a decent ability to fit in with line mates who are good at cycling the puck, but his speed and uncanny ability to be around the puck has been key at winning pucks when lost and winning races to 50/50 pucks.
2 ships passing in the night
* 93: If the Canes collect points for the rest of the season at the pace that it has since the beginning of December, it would finish with 93 points. Last year was a bit of an anomaly with so many teams tanking badly down the stretch but the general rule is that it takes 94-95 points to make the playoffs. I still peg the Canes clearly as an underdog, but it is not impossible.
* 5-20-1: After a lights out start, that is the Canadiens record since early December. The Canadiens also play Saturday afternoon and with a loss could enter the game Sunday 1 game below .500 despite starting the season with 9 consecutive wins.