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Behind The Numbers

Four interesting statistics from preseason

Scoring of Golden Knights, Flames' goaltending struggles among most eye-opening trends

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

Though you shouldn't read too much into preseason results, they do give an early indication of the potential impact significant offseason changes may have on the standings.

From this perspective, it appears the Vegas Golden Knights will have no trouble scoring, the Calgary Flames may not have solved their goaltending problem, and the Los Angeles Kings may be far less focused on physical play under new coach John Stevens. 

Here are four interesting stats from the preseason so far:

 

1. Scoring in Vegas

Scoring is perceived to be the greatest challenge facing the Golden Knights, especially without forward James Neal, who is recovering from a hand injury. Vegas scored 21 goals in its first five preseason games, 4.20 per game, so it's possible the Golden Knights will have nothing to worry about.

It's also possible that Vegas is getting good bounces. The Golden Knights rank 22nd with 28.38 shots per 60 minutes but are third with a shooting percentage of 14.79 percent, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Some of the scoring is coming from players who may not be in the lineup during the regular season. Defenseman Brad Hunt leads Vegas with six points (one goal, five assists) in three games, followed by rookie forwards Tomas Hyka, who has five points (four goals, one assist) in four games, and Tyler Wong, who has four points (three goals, one assist) in three games. Wong was reassigned Wednesday.

Video: First glimpse of Vegas Golden Knights at home

 

2. An unsolved problem for Flames

The Calgary Flames will start with two new goalies for the second consecutive season.  Mike Smith was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on June 17, and the Flames traded for Eddie Lack from the Carolina Hurricanes on June 29.

The results have not been encouraging. Lack had an .860 save percentage, allowing eight goals on 57 shots. Rookie Jon Gillies had an .844 save percentage (five goals on 32 shots), and Smith had an .800 save percentage (six goals on 30 shots). Calgary ranked last with an .837 save percentage before games played Wednesday.

 

3. Change in focus for Kings

The Kings led the NHL in hits (2,323; 28.3 per game) for the second consecutive regular season, and third time in the past four.

With Stevens, who was named coach on April 23, replacing Darryl Sutter, Los Angeles was expected to have a reduced focus on physical play. When the Philadelphia Flyers were coached by Stevens from Oct. 22, 2006 until Dec. 4, 2009, they were 20th in the NHL with 4,771 hits in 263 games (18.1 per game). Since then, the Flyers rank fifth with 15,580 hits in 597 games, 26.1 per game.

The Kings were averaging 17.7 hits per game this preseason and were outhit in three of five games for which the data was available. Los Angeles was outhit 29-25 against the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 16, 26-10 against the Anaheim Ducks on Sept. 22, and 20-18 against Vegas on Sept. 26.

 

4. Shot-based success for Sharks

The Sharks were having the most success this preseason, winning three of three preseason games.

San Jose outshot its opponents 156-86 in attempts at 5-on-5 and had a League-leading 64.46 SAT percentage.

Preseason success is nothing new for the Sharks, who were second with a 57.73 SAT percentage last season; the Toronto Maple Leafs were first (58.46).

Video: Joe Pavelski comes in at No. 26 on the list

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