This season, we're tracking nine stats which we thought might help tell the story of the Los Angeles Kings' 2015-16 season, and we're bringing you updates on those stats every nine games. Previous installments:
By record, this fourth stretch of nine games was LA's worst of the season. And yet, the Kings still went 5-3-1, which over a full season is a 100-point pace. That's consistency. And when looking at the entirety of 2015, which combines last year's 21-15-7 finish with this year's 23-11-2 start, the contrast is noticeable.
Calendar year 2015 regular season standings (just pretend that's a thing). pic.twitter.com/zi0rzx9INx— Japers' Rink (@JapersRink) December 29, 2015
*Hangs "Calendar Year 2015 Division Champs" banner*
It's really, really nice to see the Kings consistently putting together good stretches of hockey and getting (largely) rewarded for it. But enough about the rest of the year; what can the last nine games tell us about how LA has avoided their annual December descent through the standings?
Jonathan Quick's Save Percentage
Quick is hovering quite nicely in the 11-15 ranking spot when it comes to save percentage. He's actually 10th in the NHL (among starters) in even-strength SV% with a solid .931, but that's being dragged down a bit by the team's overall PK downturn. More on that later.
Shots on Goal by Anze Kopitar
Look at Anze, averaging over two shots per game in December! It only resulted in two goals over the last nine games (one of them being an OT winner), but even before Jeff Carter's injury, Kopitar was a bit more aggressive on offense.
Team Offensive Zone Penalties
Congrats to Nick Shore, who went the full nine games without an offensive zone penalty and thus gets his photo where it really belongs: later in the post! The team took another seven penalties though, with the most notable being Jake Muzzin's rescinded match penalty on Boyd Gordon. (I removed Tyler Toffoli's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from the count, because it's not within the spirit of this stat. Shoot before the whistle next time, though.)
Dustin Brown Points
Time to retire the quote I posted in every one of the first three Nine Numbers installments!
After consecutive 27-point seasons, Brown is on pace for... 27 points.
Amazing what a three-point night can do for you. Brown might not have enough time to break 50 points, which he did in every season from 2007-2012 and would have done in an 82-game season in 2012-13. But I, for one, would be thrilled to see him crack 40. Could Dwight King drive him to that level?
Goals by Defensemen
The defensive "deluge" continues, with Derek Forbort's first career goal adding to the blueline's productive contributions. In particular, Drew Doughty has an outside shot at topping his career highs in goals (16) and points (59), both set in 2009-10. Same for Jake Muzzin (10, 41, 2014-15). Alec Martinez should easily best his career-high in points (22, in 2013-14) and needs eight goals to top his career-high there.
Top King's NHL Score-Adjusted Corsi For% Ranking
Welcome Nick Shore to his new home. Building a 3.2% lead in score-adjusted Corsi For% at even strength earns you that much. Even when Alec Martinez ran away with that title in 2011-12, he was only 2.2% up on It ain't just him, though...
This table might look really boring at season's end. (Brown's killing it here, too.)
Tyler Toffoli's Average Time on Ice
From this, it looks like business as usual. But Toffoli actually had three straight games with only 15 minutes of TOI before Jeff Carter was injured. On December 28 and 29, Toffoli played over 17 minutes in lopsided games, the second-most used forward. If tonight's game is close he might sniff 20 minutes.
Power Play Percentage + Penalty Kill Percentage
Slight uptick in PP% but the penalty kill took a big hit against San Jose and Arizona (five PP goals against). And yet, the Kings are still seventh in the NHL on the PK. Not bad.
Most JftC Reader #1 Rankings for One Player
For the second straight nine-game stretch, Kopitar finished #1 more often in your rankings than the rest of the team combined. Along with Brown, Jamie McBain and Jordan Nolan each earned their first #1 rankings of the season, while Toffoli moved into second in the Ranker Rankings. Yet to achieve a "First Star" this year: Greene, Forbort, Doughty (really!), Ehrhoff, Clifford, Andreoff, Weal, Shore, Lewis, Martinez, Mersch, Schultz, and King.