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Press Release

NHL reaches halfway mark of 2018-19 season

Record number comebacks, increased scoring among highlights from opening 95 days, 635 games

by NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL
2018-19 SEASON REACHES HALFWAY MARK . . .

The 2018-19 season officially passes the halfway point today. A look at ongoing storylines through the first 635 games of the campaign:

 

QUICK HITS

* There have been 3,887 goals scored this season (including 39 shootout-deciding goals) - up 4.0% over 2017-18 (3,739 goals, including 60 shootout-deciding goals) - for an average of 6.1 per game. Last season finished with an average of 5.9 goals per game, tied for the second-highest such total since 1996-97 behind 2005-06 (6.2 G/GP).

* The 2018-19 season has featured 285 instances of a team overcoming a deficit of any kind to win a game, the most-ever comeback victories through 635 contests of a campaign in NHL history.

* There have been 27,684 hits recorded this season for an average of 43.6 per game - in line with each of the past two seasons (42.5 in 2017-18 and 43.6 in 2016-17); every campaign since 2008-09 has averaged 40 or more hits per contest through 635 games. Thirty-two players have registered 100 or more hits - a list topped by Golden Knights forward William Carrier (219).

* Four teams who were not part of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs currently hold a postseason position (Eastern Conference: Sabres and Canadiens; Western Conference: Flames and Stars). Overall, 20 teams either possess or are within four points of a playoff berth.

 

NO SHORTAGE OF GOALS

There have been 3,887 goals scored this season (including 39 shootout-deciding goals), up 4.0% over 2017-18 (3,739 goals, including 60 shootout-deciding goals) and the most through 635 games since 2005-06 (3,960 goals, including 61 shootout-deciding goals). That campaign finished with the most goals in NHL history (7,588), with Joe Thornton (29-96-125) topping a scoring list that included seven 100-point players to claim the Art Ross Trophy and teammate Jonathan Cheechoo (56) edging a group of five 50-goal scorers for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy.

Video: SJS@CGY: Thornton slaps puck by Rittich on power play

* The average of 6.1 goals per game is up 3.4% from the halfway mark of 2017-18 (5.9 G/GP). Last season finished with an average of 5.9 goals per game, tied for the second-highest such total since 1996-97 behind 2005-06 (6.2 G/GP).

* Twenty-two players have scored at least 20 goals this season. Only nine campaigns in the last 30 years (since 1988-89) featured as many 20-goal scorers through the first 635 games, most recently in 1996-97 when 30 players had reached the plateau.

* There have been 41 instances of a team scoring at least seven goals in a game, the most through 635 contests in a season since 1995-96 (70). The 2018-19 season has also featured 48 hat tricks, the most through the first 635 games in a campaign since 2000-01 (50).

* The overall scoring increase is supported by a surge in even-strength goals this season. Overall, 75.3% of goals have been scored at even strength (2,927), the highest at this stage of a campaign since 1979-80 (76.1%; 3,381 of 4,439).

 

SEASON OF THE COMEBACK

There have been 285 comeback wins in 2018-19, the most-ever through 635 games of a season in NHL history. That includes 110 instances of a team erasing a third-period deficit of at least one goal to win, tied for the third-most at this stage of a season in League history behind only 2014-15 (116) and 2013-14 (114).

* Furthermore, there have been 84 instances of a team overcoming a multi-goal deficit to win a game in 2018-19, amounting to 13.2% of all games. Only one season in NHL history has featured as many multi-goal comeback wins through the first 635 games: 1985-86 (86).

 

TRENDING TOWARD MORE PLAYOFF TURNOVER

Four teams who were not part of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs currently hold a postseason position (Eastern Conference: Sabres and Canadiens; Western Conference: Flames and Stars). Overall, 20 teams either possess or are within four points of a playoff berth.

* Last season, seven teams made the playoffs after not qualifying in 2016-17 - matching the largest year-to-year change in NHL history (for the second straight campaign and third time in four seasons).

* There has been playoff turnover of at least five clubs in 11 of the past 13 seasons.

 

 

LIGHTNING LEAD THE WAY

The Lightning (32-7-2, 66 points) occupy first place in the NHL standings this season, 12 points ahead of the Maple Leafs (26-12-2, 54 points), Flames (25-13-4, 54 points) and Golden Knights (25-15-4, 54 points). Tampa Bay, which has not relinquished the position since Nov. 29, can capture the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in franchise history.

* The Lightning are led by forwards Nikita Kucherov (20-49-69 in 41 GP), Brayden Point (24-30-54 in 41 GP) and Steven Stamkos (23-23-46 in 41 GP), who rank first, seventh and 21st in League scoring, respectively. Tampa Bay is one of seven teams to feature three or more players averaging at least one point per game this season (min. 35 GP).

* Kucherov, who has collected at least one point in 33 of 41 games this season, leads the League in both assists and points. He can become the second player in franchise history to win the Art Ross Trophy; he would join Martin St. Louis, who did so in 2003-04 (38-56-94 in 82 GP) and again in 2012-13 (17-43-60 in 48 GP).

* Kucherov collected 30 of his 69 points this season in December (9-21-30 in 14 GP) to establish a franchise record for most by a Lightning player in a calendar month. He became the first player on any team to record at least 30 points in one month since Jaromir Jagr did so in March 2001 (15-16-31 w/ PIT).

Video: TBL@LAK: Kucherov extends point streak with PPG

 

OVECHKIN CONTINUES PURSUIT OF MORE HARDWARE

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin leads the League with 30 goals this season (30-16-46 in 40 GP) as he pursues another Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, aiming to break a tie with Bobby Hull (7x) and become the first player in NHL history to finish atop the League's goal-scoring race eight times. The 33-year-old paces a group of 22 players who have reached 20 goals, 12 of whom are age 25 or younger

* Ovechkin (33 years, 201 days as of April 6, 2019) can become the sixth player in NHL history to lead the League in goals at age 33 or older. The only players to do so: Bill Cook in 1932-33 (36 years, 165 days), Gordie Howe in 1962-63 (34 years, 358 days), Nels Stewart in 1936-37 (34 years, 82 days), Maurice Richard in 1954-55 (33 years, 228 days) and Phil Esposito in 1974-75 (33 years, 45 days).
^Ages based on final day of respective regular season

* Ovechkin, who made his League debut in 2005-06, reached the 30-goal mark for the 14th time in as many campaigns and became the second player in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in each of his first 14 seasons, joining longtime Capitals forward Mike Gartner (15; 1979-80 to 1993-94). Only one other player has reached the 30-goal mark in 14 or more consecutive seasons (NHL debut or otherwise): Jaromir Jagr (15; 1991-92 to 2006-07).

* Ovechkin became the sixth player in NHL history to reach the 30-goal mark in at least 14 total seasons (consecutive or otherwise), joining Gartner (17), Jagr (15), Howe (14), Wayne Gretzky (14) and Marcel Dionne (14).

Video: WSH@STL: Ovechkin nets 30th goal to join Gartner

 

ROOKIES ON THE RISE

The rookie scoring race is led by Canucks forward Elias Pettersson , who paces all first-year players in goals, assists and points this season (22-20-42 in 38 GP). Four other rookies have scored at least 10 goals in 2018-19, including a set of teammates: Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov (11-8-19 in 40 GP), Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph (10-4-14 in 35 GP) and Senators forwards Brady Tkachuk (10-10-20 in 30 GP) and Colin White (10-15-25 in 40 GP).

* Eight rookies hit the 20-goal mark in 2017-18, including Calder Memorial Trophy winner Mathew Barzal who led all first-year players in assists and points (22-63-85 in 82 GP). It marked the 16th time in League history - and first since 2008-09 - that at least eight rookies each scored 20 or more goals in a season.

* Ten of 13 players to reach the 50-point mark this season are age 25 or younger, with the three exceptions being Patrick Kane (age 30), Sidney Crosby (age 31) and Blake Wheeler (age 32). Almost half the players who have appeared in at least one NHL game this season are age 25 or younger (46.5%), including 26.0% age 23 and under.

Video: VAN@OTT: Pettersson collects first career hat trick

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