Sunday, February 15, 2009

Top Two Points Leaders = Missed Playoffs

After watching my Buds comeback against the Penguins last night including a five goal third period, it looks as if the Pens are going to be hard pressed to make the playoffs. Currently (Feb. 15) Pittsburgh sits five points behind eighth place Buffalo, and the Sabres have a game in hand. It seems like it would be next to impossible to have the top two scorers in the league and still find a way to miss the post season. Malkin and Crosby are one-two in scoring, although Ovechkin is making up ground fast. As amazing as it would seem, this would not be the first time that a team with the top two scores failed to make the playoffs.
Exactly sixty years ago, in 1948/49 the Chicago Black Hawks enjoyed the top two points men in the NHL, Roy Conacher and Doug Bentley. They tallied 68 and 66 points respectively, finishing a full twelve points clear of third place Ted Lindsay. The Hawks still managed only 50 points over the 60 game season finishing seven points out of the post season dance. Their downfall that season would appear to have been team defense, as they allowed 39 more goals than any other squad. 'Sugar' Jim Henry posted a GAA of 3.52 finishing well back of the Ranger's Chuck Rayner in second last at 2.90.
Amazingly, the Black Hawks also had the fifth and seventh ranked scorers that season in Jim Conacher and Gus Bodnar. It was not enough. If the current Penguins can't straighten themselves out soon, they'll join Chicago in this rare and un-wanted achievment.

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