One of my favorite things about the new season is how skewed the stats look one week into the year. For instance, Eric Staal is on pace to be a -131 and we all know that isn’t going to happen. David Legwand leading the NHL in points probably won’t sustain either but what we can do is look how certain players have performed up to a certain point and evaluate them. Granted, that’s hard to do when you’re only going by five games but there’s a few things for Canes fans to be happy about this season. One of which is the newly formed defense pairing of Bryan Allen and Tim Gleason. These two have given the Canes something they didn’t have for a lot of last season; a solid, stay-at-home defense pairing who you can put up against other team’s top lines and be confident in them. At least that’s how they’ve been so far.
In the first five games of the year, Allen and Gleason have been on-ice for zero goals against at even strength when paired together. They’ve also been on-ice for four Hurricanes goals at even strength and only two shorthanded goals. When I saw this, I was impressed but then I thought to myself, “Just how many shots are they giving up in their own end?” Going by scoring chances, these two have been on-ice for 10 of Carolina’s chances 5-on-5 and only 9 of the opponents when paired together. That’s pretty damn good for a defense pairing that gets a lot of tough assignments.
Will this sustain throughout the season? The percentages suggest they will not (both have ridiculous on-ice shooting and save percentages) but let’s hope they can stay solid for the rest of the yera. The good news is that right now, Allen and Gleason are getting the job done.