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Inside the Numbers

Teams asking more from their stars in short season

Friday, 02.08.2013 / 10:23 AM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

Jack Johnson
Defense - CBJ
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 4
SOG: 26 | +/-: -4

With the 2012-13 season reduced from 82 to 48 games, NHL teams are asking for more work from a lot of their top players in the early going.

Florida's Brian Campbell and Chicago's Duncan Keith topped all players last season with an average time on ice of 26:53. Three weeks into this season, seven players are averaging more than that, with Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson on top at 28:30 per game. Ottawa's Erik Karlsson (27:59), Los Angeles' Drew Doughty (27:52), Toronto's Dion Phaneuf (27:35) and Minnesota's Ryan Suter (27:23) also are over 27 minutes a game.

Bruins-Canadiens: A rivalry by the numbers

Wednesday, 02.06.2013 / 1:15 PM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

It's fitting that the NHL's longest-running feud begins its latest chapter on Wednesday Night Rivalry.

No two Eastern Conference teams have played each other more often in the regular season than the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. They'll meet Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS), for the 718th time in a series that has seen the Canadiens win 345 games and the Bruins go home happy 269 times (the other 103 ended in ties before the adoption of the shootout in 2005). The teams have also squared off in 33 playoff series, far more than any other two teams in League history, and they've battled in an NHL-record eight Game 7s.

Regardless of who's in the lineup or where the game is being played, these two teams don't like each other. Here's a statistical look at two teams who've been battling since their first meeting on Dec. 8, 1924.

January was a good month for power plays

Friday, 02.01.2013 / 9:38 AM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

Logic says the abbreviated training camps before this season's truncated 48-game schedule should make it harder for teams to get their power plays to mesh. Then again, hockey isn't always logical.

Though training camps lasted less than a week, giving coaches little time to get organized, power-play success around the NHL in the early going is up markedly from last season's 17.3-percent rate. Through the end of January (100 games), teams are scoring on 20.1-percent of their power plays, a level not seen during a full season since 1989-90.

However, the power-play improvement isn't universal. Five teams, led by the New York Islanders at 37.5 percent, have converted on at least 30 percent of their chances. Seven others are below last season's League-low rate of 13.5 percent by Dallas (the Stars are at 16.0 percent entering the weekend).

Home teams not putting best foot forward at start

Friday, 01.25.2013 / 10:15 AM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

The Anaheim Ducks become the 30th and last team to play its home opener when they take the ice Friday night at the Honda Center against Vancouver. They'll be hoping to avoid the problems that teams have had in winning their first home games this season.

Home openers have been anything but a chance to celebrate for most teams. San Jose became only the 12th of 29 teams to win its first home game of the season when the Sharks rallied to beat Phoenix 5-3 on Thursday night at HP Pavilion. The Canucks will be looking for revenge after the Ducks spoiled opening night at Rogers Arena with a 7-3 victory six days earlier.

Home teams' success in their openers has been dropping for the past couple of years. Teams went 17-7-6 in their home openers in 2010-11 and fell to 15-11-4 last season. But this is the first time since play resumed after the 2004-05 work stoppage that road teams will win more than half of the games in regulation.

A numerical look at 1,000-point scorers

Tuesday, 11.27.2012 / 9:00 AM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

Fifty-two years ago today, Nov. 27, 1960, Gordie Howe went where no NHL player had gone before.

Howe entered the Detroit Red Wings' game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Olympia needing one point to become the first NHL player to record 1,000 regular-season points. He needed 6:36 to get it -- Howe assisted on a goal by Fred Glover that gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead in a game they went on to win 2-0.

Howe's 1,000th point came in his 938th NHL game. He went on to add 850 points (including an assist on the Red Wings' other goal that night) and finished his NHL career 20 years later with 1,850 points, a total later passed by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.

Since that night, 78 players have joined Howe as a 1,000-point scorer. Here's a numerical look at one of the NHL's most elite groups:

0 -- Number of 100-point seasons for Howe before he reached 1,000 points. Howe's only 100-point season in the NHL came in 1968-69, eight years after he passed the 1,000-point mark.

1 -- Players who scored their 1,000th point on Feb. 29, which occurs once every four years. Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque reached the milestone on Leap Day, 1992.

2 -- Players who needed more than 1,300 games to reach the 1,000-point mark. Dale Hunter got his 1,000th point on Jan. 9, 1998, in his 1,308th game. That was the record until Nicklas Lidstrom scored his 1,000th point in his 1,336th game on Oct. 15, 2009.

Key questions facing each Western Conference team

Friday, 08.10.2012 / 9:00 AM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

As the summer continues to melt away, NHL teams are working feverishly to figure out how to patch holes and put the right faces in the right places.

It's not easy. Even the best teams have questions that have to be answered, hopefully before the season opens.

Here's a look at the key question facing each team in the Western Conference:


Will Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry bounce back after down seasons?

Corey Perry
Right Wing - ANA
GOALS: 37 | ASST: 23 | PTS: 60
SOG: 277 | +/-: -7
Getzlaf was among the NHL's biggest disappointments last season, dropping from 76 points in 67 games in '10-11 to 11 goals and 57 points in 82 games. His struggles dragged linemate Perry (33 goals and 67 points after 50 goals and 98 points) down with him. The Ducks are going nowhere this season unless their No. 1 scoring tandem rebounds to All-Star form. The good news: Both have some extra incentive -- they're entering the final season of their contracts and will be unrestricted free agents next summer.

Key questions facing each Eastern Conference team

Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 9:00 AM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

The calendar says it's still summertime, but that doesn't mean NHL teams aren't already brainstorming to figure out what they'll have to do to be successful in the upcoming season.

As they get ready for 2012-13, all 30 teams have questions. Will that big rookie make an impact right away? Will the free-agent signee fill the hole he was brought in to plug? Will the offense/defense/goaltending/special teams improve?

With that in mind, here's a look at the key question facing each team in the Eastern Conference:


Can Tuukka Rask handle the No. 1 goaltending job?

Tuukka Rask
Goalie - BOS
RECORD: 11-8-3
GAA: 2.05 | SVP: 0.929
The Bruins' quest to become the first team since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings to repeat as Stanley Cup champs ended with an overtime loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the opening round last spring -- and with Tim Thomas worn down because Rask, his backup in goal, went down for the season in early March with a groin injury. Thomas has decided not to play this season, leaving the No. 1 job to Rask, who signed a one-year contract this summer. With no veteran backup as a fallback, the Bruins need Rask to show he can play as well in 60-70 games as he did in 25 last season (2.05 goals-against average, .929 save percentage).

Inside the Numbers: The 2012-13 NHL schedule

Thursday, 06.21.2012 / 4:57 PM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

The 2011-12 season is barely in the record books, but it's already time to look ahead. The NHL unveiled its 2012-13 schedule Thursday. The season begins on Oct. 11 with four games and ends with a bang on April 13, when 28 teams are in action -- and the season concludes on a Saturday rather than a Sunday.

Each team will play 82 games -- 24 against teams in its own division, 40 against non-division teams in its own conference and the other 18 against teams from the other conference.

Here’s a look at some of the more interesting scheduling numbers for the upcoming season:

Numbers help tell story of Lidstrom's brilliance

Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 4:18 PM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

If Nicklas Lidstrom isn't the greatest defenseman in NHL history, he's certainly in the conversation.

The 42-year-old Detroit Red Wings legend has decided that 20 seasons in the NHL are enough, so he's calling it a career -- though judging by his performance this season, there's no question he can still play at a high level. Few players have shown the kind of consistent brilliance that Lidstrom has exhibited during his two decades in the NHL, and even fewer have done it with such class and dignity.

Here's a numerical look at the career of one of the great players in NHL history.

A final statistical look at 2011-12 regular season

Sunday, 04.08.2012 / 10:11 AM / Inside the Numbers

John Kreiser - Columnist

It's hard to believe, but the 2011-12 regular season is over. The fourth 15-game day/night in League history sent the season into the history books with a bang -- the 1,230th and final game went into overtime before the San Jose Sharks determined the final playoff pairings by beating Los Angeles 3-2.

With a three-day intermission before the first puck drops on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, here's a statistical look at the just-concluded regular season:

0 -- Penalty minutes assessed in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 6-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 6. It was the only game of the season -- and the first in the NHL since April 2, 2010 -- in which no penalties were called.

1 -- Goals credited to goaltenders. Carolina's Cam Ward received credit for an empty-net goal against New Jersey on Dec. 26 when he made a save and New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk back-passed the puck into his own net. It was the first goal by a goaltender since Chris Mason of Nashville had one in April 2006.

2 -- Division titles won by teams that before this season had never finished first since entering the NHL. Florida won the Southeast, its first title since joining the League in 1993, while Phoenix finished first in the Pacific Division, giving the Coyotes franchise a division crown for the first time since it came into the NHL as the Winnipeg Jets in 1979.

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