G24 Game Notes: Streaking for six, and the birthday boy’s 500th NHL game

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
7 months ago
The surging Edmonton Oilers will look for their sixth consecutive win tonight, and in the process, they could give one of their teammates a birthday present no NHL player has received during their 500th NHL game.
— The Oilers have dominated the opposition during their five-game heater.
They’ve outscored Washington, Anaheim, Vegas, Winnipeg and Carolina collectively 26-8.
Their power play is 43.8% (7 of 16).
The penalty kill is 94.4% (killed off 17 of 18).
They’ve outscored teams 11-3 in the first period, 9-2 in the second and 6-3 in the third.
They’ve won 56.4% of faceoffs.
— They are getting contributions up and down the lineup. Thirteen players have a goal, 17 skaters have at least one point. Every skater is at least even at 5×5, and 15 skaters have a GF of 60% or higher. Stuart Skinner has a .943Sv% stopping 133 of 141 shots. Every aspect of their game has been solid, and they will look to continue that against Minnesota, who is also playing better after their coaching change.
— Minnesota is 4-1 since John Hynes was hired. They lost their first game, 2-0 in Vancouver last night. Minnesota has allowed just seven goals in Hynes’ five games. The biggest improvement has come on their penalty kill. In their first 19 games, they allowed 23 goals on 69 kills. Their PK was a dreadful 66.7%. Under Hynes they’ve allowed one goal on 16 kills. They’ve allowed 1.2 goals/game on the PK under Dean Evason and are now at 0.20 under Hynes. Their 5×5 defensive game has been good for the past month allowing only 12 goals in 10 games.
— Since Kris Knoblauch and Paul Coffey arrived the Oilers have the most prolific offence in the NHL scoring 44 goals in 10 games. They are averaging 2.5 goals/game at 5×5. Only Colorado has more at 2.61. They have 15 goals 5×5 during their five-game winning streak.
— Tonight is another scheduling advantage for the Oilers. Minnesota is playing the second half of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights. They’ve had very good first periods outscoring Carolina 4-0, Anaheim 4-2, Washington 2-0 and Vegas 1-0. They trailed Winnipeg 1-0 but outshot them 12-8 in the first. Slow starts haven’t been an issue most games this season, and I expect the Oilers to attack early tonight in hopes of getting the jump on a Minnesota team that might be a tad fatigued.
— If you were blown away by the Oilers’ start vs. Carolina, you have reason to be. It was the second-fastest start, goal scoring-wise, in franchise history, with Ryan McLeod and Mattias Ekholm scoring in the first 41 seconds. The franchise record was set on March 28th, 1982, when Mark Messier and Dave Lumley scored in the first 24 seconds.
—  Evan Bouchard is riding a career-high nine-game point streak. Paul Coffey owns the franchise record at 28 games, followed by 11 games four times and two 10-game point streaks. Bouchard could become the second defender in franchise history with a double-digit point streak.
— Mattias Janmark will play his 50oth NHL game tonight while also celebrating his 31st birthday. He’ll become only the third player in NHL history to celebrate his birthday while playing his 500th career game. Goalie Dan Bouchard turned 32 on December 12th, 1982. It wasn’t a great birthday for Bouchard as the Quebec Nordiques lost 7-3 in Chicago. Lanny McDonald turned 27 on February 16th, 1980. He picked up an assist, but his Colorado Rockies lost 5-3 v. Boston. Janmark could become the first player in NHL history to win his 500th career game while celebrating a birthday.
— Janmark was 20 years old when the Detroit Red Wings drafted him 79th overall in 2013. He played six games at the end of the 2013-14 season for the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate and remained in Sweden the following season. Detroit traded him and Mattias Backman to Dallas at the 2015 NHL trade deadline for Erik Cole. Six months later Janmark arrived in Dallas, and his life changed drastically over the course of a few weeks.
— Janmark explained his first training camp in Dallas. “It was a bit of a whirlwind. I wasn’t supposed to make the team,” he said. “I was just going to come over for the rookie tournament and maybe one preseason game, but I played pretty well in the rookie tournament and then scored in my first preseason game and then things kind of went from there. I had one small suitcase of clothes with me (laughs). I wasn’t planning on staying long and I had my mom, my sister and my cousin over and I scored on my first puck touch in my first NHL game. It was a pretty memorable game.”
Janmark scored 23 seconds into his first NHL shift (1:39 in the game vs. Pittsburgh), and then two nights last he opened the scoring 20 seconds into the game in Colorado during his second NHL game. He had a four-game point streak to start his NHL career. I jokingly said, you were probably thinking the NHL is pretty easy? “Yes, for sure (laughs), but then I found out the hard way it wasn’t. But it was a great start for me,” said Janmark.
— Teammates and coaches often use the same term to describe Janmark — a really smart player. I asked him about his hockey sense and where he feels it came from.
“I think from a young age, I’ve always felt like I was a pretty smart player growing up. I was never an outstanding player, but now I have the skating. I didn’t have that growing up, or at least I didn’t use it to the degree that I do now, but I think I’ve always had the smarts. When I was younger it was more hockey sense, but since I’ve been in the league, I’ve had a lot of different coaches and been on four different teams. Every coach I’ve had has had one or two really smart things I learned from them, and you take those with you and use in your game. That’s how you learn at this level, but I feel I’ve always been a thinker out there.”
— As he prepares to play game 500, I asked him: What has been the biggest learning curve through the first 499 games?
“There has been many. I wasn’t really expected to make the team in Dallas, and then I had a really good rookie year. Then I missed my second year with two knee surgeries, and I was given a 70% chance of making it back. I thought for a while that I was done and that puts things into perspective, but I worked my way back.
“I had different coaches, went through different stretches good and bad, but at the end of the day you learn about the grind of every day, but make sure you enjoy it. You know things will even out and I know the player I am. Some nights the puck will go in, and some nights you do the same things, but pucks won’t go in. You have to trust your game. I know when I’m playing well and when I’m not. During the middle of my career thus far that was the hardest part, like when pucks weren’t going in you think you have to change your game. But now you know the player you are and when you aren’t scoring you have to bring something to the table otherwise you won’t be playing. Those are the little things I got rewarded for on Wednesday, and that’s how you stick around to reach 500 games.”
— Janmark had his first career three-assist game vs. Carolina. It was his third three-point game and first one on home ice. He was the second star and as we spoke about his career you could tell he was proud of reaching game 500 tonight. He will become the 1,838th player, and 101st Swedish player, to play 500 NHL games. It is a big accomplishment and something to be very proud of. He scored 15 goals and 29 points as a rookie, and then missed the entire 2016-17 season with knee injuries. He scored 19 goals after the year off, the highest total of his career. To battle back from an injury where the doctors gave him a 30% chance he’d never play again is impressive.


Thanks to Douglas for his awesome bid of $6200 for the membership at Glendale Golf and Country Club.

DAY Six: Pyramid of Giving
We will build a pyramid of giving to help Adopt-A-Teen. It is a simple donation.
We will have 15 people donate $100.
Ten people donate $200.
Four people donate $500.
Two people, or companies, will donate $1000.
And we will raise $7,500 for Adopt-A-Teen. (Tax receipt included).

It goes from 2-6 p.m. on Sports 1440. You can text the show between 2-6 p.m. at 833.401.1440 and include your name and donation amount. Then the staff at Adopt-A-Teen will call you to get your information.
Thanks in advance.

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