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Off Day Watch, 2/2: Budaj and Other Workhorses

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The Pacific might not have the best goalies, but they’ve got the hardest-working. Plus, news and notes!

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Checking the goalie stats lately has been fun, primarily because Peter Budaj continues to inch up the rankings in everything from wins, to save percentage, to shutouts, where he now is tied for the league lead with Braden Holtby. To really emphasize how weird this season has been, though, look at minutes played. Budaj’s third in the entire NHL despite starting the season with the Ontario Reign. Ahead of him? Two other Pacific goaltenders, Cam Talbot and Martin Jones.

Top 5 - Minutes Played for NHL Goaltenders, 2016-17

Name Team GP GS W L OT SV% GAA MIN SO
Name Team GP GS W L OT SV% GAA MIN SO
Cam Talbot EDM 46 46 26 13 7 0.920 2.39 2741:18 4
Martin Jones SJS 43 43 26 15 2 0.917 2.22 2538:21 2
Peter Budaj LAK 44 42 24 14 3 0.922 2.01 2511:16 6
Cam Ward CAR 42 42 19 16 6 0.907 2.58 2469:43 2
Tuukka Rask BOS 43 43 25 13 4 0.914 2.24 2465:04 5

John Gibson is ninth in the NHL in minutes, while Mike Smith of the Coyotes has worked just as hard as those top three since returning from injury on November 16. The Pacific’s goalies aren’t a standout class, but man, they play a lot!

HIGHLIGHTS TO WATCH

KINGS WATCH

  • Luc Robitaille was a big part of All-Star Weekend, and he joined the All the Kings Men podcast to recap it. [LA Kings]
  • Bad luck for Jordan Nolan, who has been punching well above his weight for the Kings lately. He’s got a lower-body injury. Darryl Sutter’s update was unhelpful.
  • On the other hand, some encouraging injury news: Jonathan Quick practiced in full gear. [LA Kings Insider]
  • In case you missed it: Robyn also had some thoughts on what went well (and what didn’t) at LA’s All-Star Weekend. [JftC]

WORLDWIDE WATCH

  • Spirits are low in Colorado, understandably. Mile High Hockey questions whether management are taking the proper approach, given their current position. [Mile High Hockey]
  • The Blues finally went and did it, firing head coach Ken Hitchcock. (They also relieved goaltending coach Jim Corsi of his duties, which makes sense given the Blues’ drop from an NHL-best save percentage last season to an NHL-worst save percentage this season.) [St. Louis Game Time]
  • Is there any chance that a playoff-bound Oilers team would sell high on Kris Russell? [Copper ‘n Blue]

WATCH THIS

As part of the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” month, the You Can Play Project has created a list of team ambassadors for LGBTQ inclusion. It’s no surprise that LA’s is Dustin Brown, because he has long shown his commitment to inclusion in the game of hockey.

GAME TO WATCH

NHL.com has a free streaming game tonight! And it’s after work! The Maple Leafs take on the Blues in a game featuring a coaching debut, potential wild card implications, and Auston Matthews.