December 20, 2011
Star players that excel offensively away from home have always received extra credit from me.
They're seeing tougher defensive matchups because their opponents get the last line change. They're usually swimming against the tide of emotion and momentum a home crowd provides. They're out of their comfort zone away from home; or, perhaps, they're in their comfort zone if they like playing Call of Duty with the boys in the hotel more than being a domesticated athlete. And who doesn't?
Whatever the case, here are the top NHL players for road scoring this season. In points ... not in, like, groupies:
Because I give it extra weight, I typically factor in road performance in lauding leadership. Toews has 18 goals on the season and 11 of them away from Chicago. Phil Kessel, a rival for Hart Trophy honors throughout the first months of the season, has scored six of 19 on the road in comparison.
For poops and grins, I decided to dip back two years and average out the best road scorers in the NHL amongst leading point-getters. The top 10 reveals a few surprises among expected names:
The total points are through Monday; the road points are through Sunday, and account for the last two seasons and this season.
|Road Points (2009-11)||Road Points Per Game (2009-11)|
|Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks||227||108||1.22|
|Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks||245||114||1.13|
|Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals||216||97||1.10|
|Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins||187||70||1.09|
|Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks||179||100||1.08|
|Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning||215||105||1.07|
|Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks||193||94||1.03|
|Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks||163||76||1.00|
|Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals||199||95||1.00|
|Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings||184||90||0.98|
|Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning||223||98||0.97|
|Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators||123||73||0.95|
|Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings||162||77||0.94|
|Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks||203||92||0.94
|Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks||185||86||0.93|
Ovechkin remains high on the list despite his stats having fallen off a cliff this season -- 11 points in 15 road games, compared to 42 in 38 last season. Sid had five points in four road games before his relapse.
The surprises? Alfredsson might be done, but he had 42 points on the road in 36 games two seasons ago. Selanne as a point-per-game player on the road is interesting given his age and the rigors of travel. Kopitar's PPG average on the road is higher than his overall PPG average last year or so far this year.
Again, this isn't meant to be anything but a glance at the numbers; the zone starts for the Sedins on the road, for example, would be the real sizzle for this kind of study, given their road proficiency and the other team having the last change. (Plus, every debate about the Sedins' offensive prowess begins and ends with zone starts. Well, and twin-based E.S.P.)
Bottom line: Jonathan Toews is pretty damn good.