Elias Says: October 14, 2017

Keuchel: 4–0 with 0.70 ERA in the postseason

Dallas Keuchel threw seven scoreless innings and the Astros edged the Yankees, 2–1, in the opening game of the ALCS. Keuchel improved to 4–0 with a 0.70 ERA in four postseason starts. He is the only major-league pitcher to debut since 1912 (the first year that earned runs were officially compiled) and win each of his first four playoff starts while fashioning an ERA below 1.00.

Three pitchers since 1912 won four consecutive postseason starts––at any point in their careers––and recorded lower ERAs over that stretch than has Keuchel: Whitey Ford (0.00 from 1960 to 1961, and 0.56 from 1960 to 1962), Orel Hershiser (0.52 from 1988 to 1995), and Curt Schilling (0.50 from 1993 to 2001).

Altuve batting .579

Jose Altuve sparked the Astros by stroking three singles in four at-bats and scoring the game’s first run. It was Altuve’s third three-hit game in this postseason and he is 11-for-19 (.579) in these playoffs. Only two other players in the last 25 years had more than 10 hits fewer than 20 at-bats into a particular postseason and each did so for the Mariners: Edgar Martinez in 1995 (he started 11-for-18) and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 (like Altuve, he had 11 hits in his first 19 ABs).

Ovechkin ties record for most goals in first five games

Alex Ovechkin scored his ninth goal in five games this season when the Capitals beat the Devils on Friday. Ovechkin has tied the NHL’s “modern era” record for most goals by a player in his team’s first five games of a season. The other players with nine goals in five games since 1943–44 were Mike Bossy (1984–85 Islanders), Mario Lemieux (1988–89 Penguins) and Patrick Marleau (2012–13 Sharks).

Backstrom’s 19th game with four points

Nicklas Backstrom tallied one goal and three assists in the Capitals’ 5–2 win over the Devils in Newark. It was Backstrom’s first four-point game this season and the 19th game with four points or more in his NHL career. Since 2007–08, Backstrom’s first season in the league, the only other players with at least 19 four-point games are Sidney Crosby (22) and Alex Ovechkin (19).

Bobrovsky sharp on busy night

Sergei Bobrovsky outdueled Henrik Lundqvist in a battle of Vezina Trophy winning goaltenders on Friday night in Columbus. Bobrovsky stopped all but one of the Rangers’ 38 shots on goal in the Blue Jackets’ 3–1 victory, and Lundqvist made 40 saves and allowed only two goals. Bobrosvsky is 14–0–1 in the last 15 regular-season games in which he faced at least 35 shots on goal, and he’s 8–0–1 in his last nine such games (since February 2017) while allowing no more than one goal in any of those nine games,

Two assists for Werenski

Defenseman Zach Werenski notched his first two assists this season in the Blue Jackets’ 3–1 win over the Rangers on Friday. As a 19-year-old rookie for Columbus last season, Werenski racked up 36 assists in the 78 games he played. That’s the second-highest single-season assist total by a rookie NHL defenseman over the last 20 years, one behind the 37 assists that Tyler Myers produced for the Sabres in 2009–10.

Anderson blanks Flames

Ottawa’s Craig Anderson posted his first shutout of the season with a 6–0 win against the Flames in Calgary. It was the 39th career shutout for the Illinois native, which ties him with Ryan Miller for fourth-most all-time among U.S.-born goaltenders, behind Jonathan Quick (45), Frank Brimsek (40) and John Vanbiesbrouck (40). Anderson’s shutout on Friday was his 25th for the Senators, which ranks him second in club history to Patrick Lalime (30 shutouts).

Avs end streak of 59 games without multiple power play goals

Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie each scored a power play goal for the Colorado Avalanche in its 3–1 win against the Ducks on Friday. Remarkably, it was the first time that the Avs scored more than one power play goal in a game since December 11 last year, when they got two in a 3–1 victory at Toronto (one each by Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon). Colorado’s just-ended streak of 59 regular-season games with no more than one power play goal was the longest such drought in Nordiques/Avalanche franchise history, but it was only the second-longest current streak of its kind in the NHL. The Canucks have not scored more than one power play goal in any of their last 62 games.