Red-hot Blues likely can’t keep up this pace

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Every NHL team has played around 15 games, which means we can start to put quite a bit of stock into their underlying metrics. After all, some teams have surely been lucky, while others have been unlucky, and modern hockey statistics play a big role in determining which teams are which. Here are three teams that have either been helped, or victimized, by Lady Luck.

St. Louis Blues

Just like last season, the Blues have been dealing with injuries, so it’s tough to get a handle on the team’s performance thus far, but it’s clear it is outperforming expectations. It helps that the Avalanche have gotten off to such a rough start, but in general, I think winning the Central Division is still quite a high bar for the Blues.

Just about everything has gone right for the Blues on the ice, as they have scored 57 percent of the goals (45 for, 34 against) in their first 13 games, in which they have gone 8-3-2 entering Sunday night’s game against the Oilers. But the Blues don’t dominate play, which suggests they don’t deserve to be winning games at this rate. The betting market seems to be overestimating the Blues’ chances of winning a given game on a regular basis, and that’s probably going to lead me toward betting against them more than I bet on them.

Blues
The Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko (91) is congratulated by center Robert Thomas (18) and center Ivan Barbashev (49)
USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins

The Bruins have graded out as a top-10 team in shots and scoring chances, but they rank in the bottom 10 in goals, according to hockey stats website Natural Stat Trick. The Bruins should be scoring more goals than their opponents on aggregate, but they haven’t been, and it’s tough to point the finger in one direction. Goaltending hasn’t been good, but the scoring hasn’t been there either.

I would classify this team as unlucky, but there is definitely concern that regardless of how well it plays, the Bruins are always going to struggle to score goals. And on the flip side, there’s a lot of uncertainty around both goaltenders, and how they will fare throughout the rest of the regular season. The Bruins are most likely going to win more games than they lose, but it’s going to be hard to catch up to the Panthers if they’re underperforming at both ends of the ice.

Seattle Kraken

Heading into the season, the biggest concern around the Kraken was whether they would be able to score enough goals to win hockey games. However, the offense has lived up to expectations, scoring goals at about an average rate, while also dealing with injuries to key players. The Kraken now sit in last place in the Pacific Division because they haven’t been able to buy a save. Only the Arizona Coyotes have allowed more goals on a per 60-minute basis.

The weirdest part of all this is that the Kraken seem to be a good team on defense. According to Natural Stat Trick, Seattle ranks second in shots against, and scoring chances, against, but Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger have combined for the worst save percentage in the league at 87.2 percent. The Kraken are still overvalued by the bettors on a regular basis, but it seems like the market is starting to catch on.

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