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Behind The Numbers

Pastrnak's hot start, Capitals' road success no fluke, numbers suggest

Boston forward's shooting percentage, Washington's away splits among notable statistics from first month

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / Fantasy Editor

Pastrnak's blast on power play

STL@BOS: Pastrnak buries one-timer for PPG

David Pastrnak hammers a one-timer from the circle on the power play to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the 1st period

  • 00:59 • identifies three key stats from the first month of the season and goes behind the numbers to predict sustainability or regression for the rest of the season.

Pastrnak's goals

David Pastrnak is tied with Leon Draisaitl for the NHL lead in goals with 12 in 12 games, and his 24 points are second to the Edmonton Oilers forward's 25. It stands out that the Boston Bruins right wing's shooting percentage (30.0 percent) is more than double his NHL career average (14.6 percent), so regression is likely. The good news for Pastrnak is that even if his shooting percentage reverts to his career average, he'd be on pace to score 33 more goals, giving him 45 in 82 games.

Video: SJS@BOS: Pastrnak nets massive one-timer for PPG

The 50-goal mark doesn't seem out of the question for Pastrnak, whose two multigoal games are tied for second in the NHL. Draisaitl, Alex Ovechkin and Auston Matthews are tied for first with three each.


Hurricanes' shot attempts

The Carolina Hurricanes are once again the "analytics darling" of the NHL. They rank second in shot attempts differential (plus-87) behind the Philadelphia Flyers (plus-97). This theme has been present since the start of the 2017-18 season. Carolina's plus-1,532 SAT in that span is best in the NHL by a wide margin; the Calgary Flames are second at plus-1,127. This season, forward Sebastian Aho leads the Hurricanes at plus-65, followed by forward Andrei Svechnikov (plus-39), who is in his second NHL season. It's worth noting that nine of the top 10 teams in SAT last season qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights, Flames, Bruins, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues). Though it's too early to say definitively whether the Hurricanes will qualify again this season, it's looking like a real possibility barring any major injuries.

Video: Clutch Performance: Svechnikov scores two goals


Road points

Though road wins don't classify as an advanced stat, it's interesting to look at after the Washington Capitals finished October with 15 points (7-1-1) in nine road games, four more than the Florida Panthers, who are second with 11 (4-2-3). Eight of the top 10 teams in road points in October last season went on to make the playoffs (Predators, New York Islanders, Flames, Maple Leafs, Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche, Bruins). Though teams must sustain this success over the remaining months of the regular season, it emphasizes the importance of a strong start on the road. Twenty-five teams in NHL history have had at least 15 points through their first nine road games, and five (20 percent) went on to win the Stanley Cup that season (Montreal Canadiens, 1978; Chicago Blackhawks, 2013; Detroit Red Wings, 1950, 1952 and 2002).

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