The Panthers and "blocked shots": too few or by design?
After closing out Tuesday night's 6-0 decimation in Dallas, one team-based stat on the box score screamed for attention: that of blocked shots (BkS), or rather in this case a lack of them by the Panthers. Granted, the Stars only succeeded in putting 25 pucks on-goal, but it's an extremely important defensive tactic that shouldn't be overlooked, even when your club is sitting relatively stable at 9-5-3.
Despite a mighty pounding concluded well before the final horn, the home team still managed to block an impressive 29 shots - defenseman Nicklas Grossman alone had five, only to be surpassed by Sheldon Souray's six. In total, 13 different Stars intentionally dropped to the ice at least once.
Florida's ironmen in the same category? Dmitry Kulikov and Ed Jovanovski had three apiece, followed up by forward Sean Bergenheim (one). And...yep, that's everyone. Seven blocks.
On a night when seemingly everything launched toward Kari Lehtonen squeaked past, such a low blocked-shot total could probably be forgiven, but still...hypothetically, those seven attempted shots could have found their way behind Scott Clemmensen had they not been blocked by Florida skaters, bringing us to an ugly 7-6 defeat. Again, a completely hypothetical situation, though certainly not impossible. Likely it's already been addressed, as such horrendously lopsided numbers would demand.
So where do the Cats stand among their NHL brothers in blocked-shots? Through Tuesday's games: 29th, with a total of 186 (or 2 better than 30th-ranked Detroit). Not so ironically, the league leader is Dallas with 303 (and now we know why). Full list here.
Perhaps more importantly, where do Florida's numbers land within the Southeast Division? Obviously fifth, but here's how the other four clubs have fared thus far in the category:
- Carolina: 265 (18GP, 9th overall in BkS)
- Tampa Bay: 253 (17GP, 13th)
- Winnipeg: 232 (18GP, 20th)
- Washington: 224 (16GP, 22nd)
Individual BkS leaders, league-wide:
- Ladislav Smid, EDM: 56 (1st)
- Brent Seabrook, CHI: 47 (2nd)
- Brett Clark, TBL: 45 (3rd)
And the Panthers...
- Mike Weaver: 26 (69th overall)
- Jason Garrison: 22 (98th)
- Brian Campbell: 20 (114th)
Anything to be inferred by the early numbers?