Kings @ Senators
Prev game : @Sabres, Saturday, December 12th
Hot : Anze Kopitar - 11P (3G, 8A) in last 11 GP
Cold : Tyler Toffoli - 0P in last 7 GP
Given the relative weakness of the Pacific division, it might be tempting to write off the division leading Kings. Don't. Oddly enough despite leading by a healthy margin, the Kings have actually had a rougher time with divisional opponents than they have with out of division games.
Their underlying numbers are scary. Their 5v5 Corsi percentage is the top of the league. The base components, shot attempts for and shot attempts against, are both individually second overall in the league. They aren't run and gun like Dallas or choke the game like New Jersey - they get the puck, they keep the puck, they generate chances with the puck.
Two things are due for regression with this team - the goaltending and the shooting. Their 5 on 5 PDO makes the two look balanced, but the shooting is running too cold while the goaltending is running too hot. This team should both be scoring more and allowing more goals. Somewhat oddly, these areas already move back to the pack somewhat on special teams. The team shooting percentage goes from 28th at 5v5 to 21st on the power play, and the team save percentage drops from 2nd at 5v5 to 13th on the penalty kill.
Senators @ Capitals
Prev game : @Penguins, Monday, December 14th
Cold : T.J. Oshie - 0P in last 4 GP
The parade of division leading opponents continues in to Washington. While for much of November the talk of the Metro was the Rags pulling away, a combination of a surging Capitals and sagging New York has changed that talk in December with the Caps now leading the Metro with three games in hand.
One relative disappointment has been Alex Ovechkin. He's still playing very well, and at almost a point per game, but his goal scoring is well down from normal. He's also shooting at a few percent below normal for him, so that probably won't last too long.
At the other end, Braden Holtby is having what is shaping up to be a career year. He's continued to build his reputation with a 5th place .930 save percentage and a first place 1.90 GAA.
Sharks @ Senators
Prev game : @Maple Leafs, Thursday, December 17th
Cold : Paul Martin - 0P in last 9 GP
Finally, a team that isn't leading a division, and not even close to it. The Sharks aren't even in a playoff spot right now (though not by much).
San Jose is playing largely like a middle of the pack team. Middle of the pack possession numbers, middle of the pack scoring, middle of the pack goals against per game.
The Sharks would probably be able to climb to the top of the bubble if they sorted out their goaltending. Off-season acquisition Martin Jones has been better than the past two years of Antti Niemi, they're still not great starter numbers. Alex Stalock has been downright bad in his backup role with a sub 900 save percentage.