ANALYSIS: Springfield Falcons by the numbers
In the last 48 hours, the Springfield Falcons have won two hockey games and have not allowed a single goal in either of them.
They occupy top spot in the AHL's Eastern Conference by two points over the Syracuse Crunch, who have one less win and have allowed 15 more goals than the Falcons. While the Falcons are a blast to watch every night, it's even more fun to dig into the numbers and find out what's been going well.
I think back to a conversation I had with Falcons head coach Brad Larsen just before the regular season started. I asked him what he thought about his club "on paper" after getting 20-plus assignments from the Blue Jackets; he was excited to see how the players fit together but cautioned that "everyone has a good team in this league right now."
He was right, but as it stands today, his team is one of the best good teams in the AHL.
After some intense number-crunching, here are some interesting tidbits:
6.09 -- The average number of times the Falcons are shorthanded in a hockey game. It's been a point of emphasis for Larsen, going as far as benching star players for lazy penalties.
17 -- Total number of goals allowed by the Falcons in their first 11 games. That's a team goals-against average of 1.54, and roughly translated, that's just silly.
4 -- Number of shutouts for Curtis McElhinney in his first 10 games (most in the AHL). Pretty impressive for a guy who, a few months ago, didn't know if he would be playing hockey ever again.
5 -- The number of different players who have scored at least 10 points for Springfield: Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (13), Cam Atkinson (12), Nick Drazenovic (11), Ryan Johansen/Matt Calvert (10). Balanced scoring has made the Falcons a tough team to check, and having a deep arsenal doesn't hurt their cause.
22.4 -- Springfield's power play efficiency, which is currently third-best in the AHL. The Falcons have scored 13 power play goals in 11 games, and as Larsen alluded, the best teams make opponents pay for taking penalties. Check.
.818 -- The updated points percentage for the Falcons; that means of the total points available in 11 games (22), Springfield has earned 81.8 percent of those points (18).
10 -- Consecutive games in which the Falcons have scored the opening goal. They've gotten out to quick starts, but more often that not, have built on those leads and buried opponents. Sunday against Norfolk is a prime example: Drazenovic opened the scoring just 41 seconds into the game, and Springfield went on to lead 4-0 after the first period.
6-1-2 -- Springfield's record in its home-heavy opening stretch. The Falcons have played two road games to this point, but have also taken full advantage of playing nine of the first 11 games at MassMutual Center.