All that will stop the London Knights' win streak is the time of year, with the forecast calling for players heading to world junior camps and a lack of Raine.
It is better to put the Knights' 18-game skein, which matches the longest win streak their 2004-05 Corey Perry-led colossus had during its Memorial Cup season, in perspective before it ends. Cam Charron alluded to the fact the Knights have defenders Scott Harrington, Olli Määttä and Nikita Zadorov to various national junior team training camps. London is about to lose a fourth regular since 19-year-old Kevin Raine, as Ryan Pyette reported, faces supplemental discipline over "a match penalty call for kneeing Mississauga defenceman Trevor Carrick in the stomach multiple times during a second-period fight" on Sunday and "will be considered a repeat offender by the OHL after serving a six-game suspension for a boarding call in Peterborough in October."
London is deep, but it's doubtful any team has the depth to cover for four of their top six D-men being unavailable. They could get picked off this weekend, perhaps on Saturday at Guelph. So now is a good a time as any to run some cursory numbers between two streaks:
2004-05: 79-31, +48
Shot margin (excluding empty-netters)
2004-05: 7.3 (132 more shots on goal than allowed)
2012-13: 3.8 (69 more shots on goal than allowed)
Shooting percentage (excluding empty-netters)
2004-05: 11.9% (75 goals on 631 shots)
2012-13: 11.0% (68 goals on 618 shots)
Team save percentage
2004-05: .938 (468 saves on 499 shots)
2012-13: .940 (516 saves on 549 shots)
What may one read into this? That 2004-05 team was all-time dominant, but you knew that already. That 18-game streak actually ended with a 0-0 tie against Guelph and Adam Dennis, who later ended up being traded for by London. It might have been 20 or 31 games with the shootouts. Conservely, this Knights streak would have ended at 14 without the penalty-shot tiebreaker.
That is neither here nor there. The big takeaway is that 11% shooting percentage. It suggests Max Domi and Boston Bruins prospect Seth Griffith, et al., have not been overly puck-lucky over this stretch where they have seldom been wanting for scoring. Ontario Hockey League teams generally score on just fewer than 10% of their shots on goal (19 of the 22 regular goalies in the league have at least a .900 save percentage). London is just marginally better at 11%, rather than being up in the 13% or 14% range that is unsustainable. It is hard to maintain a .940 save percentage, but it's more reachable when a team isn't dependent on a single goalie and plays good defence regularly.
There is also what the numbers don't show — how many of London's chances are Grade-A compared to those they allow on goalies Kevin Bailie and Jake Patterson (AKA 'Kevin One-L' and 'Jake Two Ts' to the accuracy-challenged in the guild with #OHLWriterProblems). There will be some levelling off for London, but they appear to be unstoppable when they have all hands on deck. Granted, the OHL season will not end for another five months.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
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