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Inside the Numbers: First Quarter Edition

by John Kreiser / Vancouver Canucks
Though it seems like the season just started, we're already coming up on the quarter pole (the New York Rangers are already into the second quarter of their season, and several teams will reach the one-quarter mark in the next few days).

Here's a look at some of the key numbers from the first few weeks of the season:

0 — Goals allowed by Boston's Tim Thomas in back-to-back 1-0 victories at Edmonton on Oct. 27 and at Vancouver the next night. Thomas became the second goaltender in NHL history to ring up back-to-back 1-0 wins on the road. Both instances have occurred in 2008 — Florida's Craig Anderson did it in March, blanking the Islanders and Bruins.

1 — Games won by teams at both ends of the shots on goal spectrum. Calgary's 4-1 victory over Colorado on Tuesday was the only one in seven games by a team getting 50 or more shots on goal. Vancouver's 4-2 victory over Toronto on Nov. 15 was the only one by a team getting 15 or fewer shots (Vancouver won despite being outshot 30-15).

2 — Defensemen who've had the deciding goal in back-to-back shootouts since the NHL instituted the breakaway competition in 2005. Minnesota defenseman Marek Zidlicky became the second defenseman and fifth player overall to get the winner in consecutive shootouts when he scored against Columbus on Nov. 15 and at Pittsburgh three nights later.

3 — Games in the history of the Montreal Canadiens in which they won after trailing by three or more goals in the third period. The third came on Nov. 1, when the Habs trailed the New York Islanders 4-1 after two periods but scored four times in the final 20 minutes to skate away with a 5-4 victory.

4 — Games that have ended 7-6; two in regulation and two in overtime. The 13 goals by both teams are the most in any game this season, as are the seven goals by one team. Though offense is up this season, no team has scored more than seven times in a game; in the same time span last season, a team had scored eight goals four times.

5 — Wins thus far in November by Joey MacDonald, who's taken over the No. 1 goaltending job for the New York Islanders due to injuries to Rick DiPietro. Before this month, MacDonald had a career record of 5-12-4 in 24 NHL games with the Red Wings, Bruins and Islanders.

6 — Games won by the Pittsburgh Penguins when trailing after two periods, twice as many as Colorado, Carolina and the New York Rangers, who are next with three. The Penguins are already more than halfway to the single-season record of 11 set by Dallas in 2006-07.

7 — Shorthanded goals allowed by the Rangers, the most in the NHL (one more than the Columbus Blue Jackets). The Rangers' propensity for allowing shorthanded goals takes some of the luster off their 18 power-play goals, the sixth-highest total in the League.

8 — Shootout goals allowed (in 17 attempts) by Tampa Bay's Mike Smith, the most in the League this season. What's more amazing is that prior to 2008-09, Smith had not allowed any shootout goals — he had stopped all nine attempts he'd faced.

9 — One-goal losses by the Lightning in their first 18 games, the most in the NHL. The Bolts have lost three one-goal decisions in regulation and a League-worst six times in overtime or shootouts. Tampa Bay also has four one-goal wins, meaning that 13 of the Lightning's 18 games were decided by a single goal.

10 — Power plays without a goal by Minnesota against Montreal on Oct. 30, and by the Canadiens at St. Louis on Nov. 16, the most by any team without a goal. St. Louis went 1-for-9 in the same game against Montreal, meaning the two teams combined for a 1-for-19 showing with the man advantage.

13 – Consecutive games with at least one assist by Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, who had the streak snapped Tuesday in a 2-1 shootout loss to Minnesota. Since 1998, only Jaromir Jagr (16 games) has had a longer assist streak.

14 — Road games played by the Edmonton Oilers, the most in the League thus far. The Oilers played only their sixth home game of the season Thursday night; they play their next game at Rexall Place on Wednesday before going on the road for two more games.

15 — Goals by Buffalo's Thomas Vanek, the most in the League so far this season. It's a big improvement from last season for Vanek, who didn't get his 15th goal of 2007-08 until Feb. 5.

30 —
Goals scored in the three games played on Wednesday. The average of 10 per game is by far the most of any night this season in which three or more games were played.

33 — Points by the San Jose Sharks in their first 20 games, matching the second-highest total by a team in the past 25 years. The Sharks were the fourth team with 33, one fewer than the 2005-06 Ottawa Senators.

37.9 —
Shots per game by the Sharks, the most in the NHL. The Sharks have allowed just 26.0 shots against per game, second to the Los Angeles Kings; San Jose's differential of 11.9 per game is by far the best in the League.

45 — Games that have gone to a shootout this season. Home teams have won 23; road teams have taken 22. The key to winning seems to be scoring first; just five of the 45 winning teams have rallied after allowing the first goal of the shootout. The Rangers are tops with four wins; Chicago has played the most shootouts (6) and lost the most (4).

60 — Shots on goal by the New York Islanders against the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 25, the most by any team this season — and the most by a team in a non-overtime game since Feb. 24, 1990, when the Montreal Canadiens outshot Pittsburgh 61-26. The Canadiens won that game 11-1; the Isles lost 4-3 as Cam Ward made 57 saves.

242:36 — Shutout streak by Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo, the second time in as many seasons he's gone more than 200 minutes without allowing a goal. Both of those streaks included a run of three consecutive shutouts.
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