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Shot Blocking Monsters

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A common observation in last night's GDT was that the Leafs' defense was keeping Dallas shooters to the outside and blocking a lot of shots. Of course, when a Stars' player did manage to get a good chance, Jonas Gustavsson was very solid in goal, and had a few people whispering the words 'goaltending controversy'. 

It's true that the Leafs blocked 27 shots to Dallas' 18, which in the end, was likely an important difference in the outcome of the game, with François Beauchemin and Luke Schenn leading the way in blocked shots for the Leafs with 6 and 4 respectively. But according to some solid work done by James Mirtle over at the Globe and Mail, we can see that 27 blocked shots isn't anything out of the ordinary, anymore:

Since the first year the NHL has made blocked shots figures available (1997-98), they have gone from 16.5 blocks per game up to a current rate of 28.2 this season. For the most part, blocked shots have been at the 22 to 27 mark per game, but a trend is recognizable even in this short time frame.

More from Mirtle & Co. after the jump.

Leaf Links:

Shot blocking on the rise - The Globe and Mail
Numbers are up for players getting down in front of big shots. Another good'n from James Mirtle.

Gustavsson closes the door - The Globe and Mail
Mirtle's recap, with some focus on Gustavsson, Kessel, and Kadri.

Unlikely top line emerges for Leafs - The Globe and Mail
Mirtle, on how the trio of MacArthur, Grabovski and Kulemin continues to click.

The Hockey News on the MGK line.
Yep, they're playing well together. 

Vintage Leaf Memories: The Gustavsson Conundrum
Michael Langlois wonders if Giguère's job will be safe when he comes back.

Perspective at Sports And The City
A few of Jonas Gustvasson's numbers you'll probably like.

The Good and the Bad: The Leafs After Twenty Games
Maplestirup compares this team to last year's.

Brad Richards to Toronto?
No. From Kukla's Korner.

Brad Richards - Is He the Answer?
No. Darren K tell us why he thinks not.

Stars Stymied - Maple Leafs Hot Stove
Nikhil Daljeet with a few more observations on the game.

Game In 10 – Game 20
Xterratu with a few thoughts on the game over at LeafsHQ.

Under the Helmet of Slava Duris: Now Posting at The LeafsNation site
It's not much of a post, but if you've been following SD's fantastic work on scoring chances, it's good to note that he's moving from his old home to a new one.


NHL Links:

Strength of Schedule at the Quarter Pole - Bird Watchers Anonymous
I can think of a few problems with this method of measuring SoS, but it's a fun exercise anyway.

What Exactly is Luck? - Behind The Net
If you're interested in learning more about stats, 'luck' is a word you should get used to hearing.

Luck in the NHL Standings - Behind The Net

An extension of the work done by Hawerchuk in the previous post.

Video: Marc Staal's brutal open-ice hit on Flames' Matt Stajan
Wyshynski gives his take on the Staal-Stajan hit, and includes a video link from As I see it, that's a totally clean hit. Unfortunate about Stajan's brain.


Jeremy Roenick Has A Business Proposal For You

New stuff from Barry Melrose Rocks.

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