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First-half numbers paint an interesting picture in NHL

by John Kreiser
It seems like just yesterday the first puck was dropped for the 2010-11 season. That was Oct. 7 – and three months later, we're just about to reach the halfway point of the season; it officially arrives Saturday.

Here's a look at some of the numbers that stood out during what has been a memorable first half of the 2010-11 season:

0 – Division leaders at the halfway mark last season who are on top again this season. In the East, Pittsburgh, Boston and Tampa Bay have replaced New Jersey, Buffalo and Washington. In the West, Detroit, Vancouver and Dallas are on top, replacing Chicago, Colorado and San Jose.

1 – Games in which no goals were scored during regulation and overtime. The Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators matched zeroes though 65 minutes on Dec. 4. Buffalo's Thomas Vanek got the lone goal in the tie-breaker to give the Sabres the 1-0 win.

2 – Penalty-shot goals scored by Frans Nielsen of the Islanders, the only player with more than one. Nielsen scored against Philadelphia on Oct. 30 and again at Boston on Dec. 9. Both goals were scored shorthanded; the first coming with the Isles two men down.

3 – Overtime goals by Atlanta defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, the most of anyone in the League. Byfuglien also leads all defensemen with 16 goals and 41 points.

4 – Shootout goals by Thomas Vanek of Buffalo, Brad Richards of Dallas and Alex Tanguay of Calgary, tying them for first place among all shooters. Vanek is 4-for-4, the best perfect record in the League.

5 – Games in which a team trailed by three goals and came back to win. In eight others, including Thursday night's St. Louis-Toronto game, a team trailed by three goals and rallied for a point before losing in OT or a shootout.

6 – Teams for which Dwayne Roloson has recorded a shutout after blanking Washington, 1-0, on Tuesday in his debut with Tampa Bay. Only Sean Burke (7) has had shutouts with more teams; Lorne Chabot, who played in the 1920s and '30s, also has shutouts with six teams.

7 – Seconds needed by Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin to score the game's first goal against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, the fastest in any game so far this season. He was one second short of the team record for fastest goal from the start of a game and two seconds behind the NHL record.

8 – Consecutive losses by the Washington Capitals from Dec. 2-18, the Caps' longest drought since Bruce Boudreau took over as coach in November 2007.

10 – Power-play attempts by the Edmonton Oilers in their 4-2 loss to Minnesota on Oct. 21. It's the only game so far this season in which a team has reached double figures in power-play opportunities.

11 – Rounds in the shootout between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 23. Ryan Malone scored in the final round to give the Lightning a 4-3 victory in the longest shootout of the first half.

12 – Shots by the Edmonton Oilers in their 2-1 loss at Vancouver on Dec. 12, the fewest by one team in a game so far this season. The Oilers also had the second-lowest total – 13 against Florida on Oct. 10 – but they won that game, beating the Panthers 3-1.

14 – Consecutive losses by the New York Islanders, who went without a victory from Oct. 21, when they beat Tampa Bay, to Nov. 26, when they blanked New Jersey, 2-0. It's the longest losing streak in the League so far this season.

15 – Goals scored by Tampa Bay (8) and Philadelphia (7) on Nov. 18, the most in any game this season. The 15 goals matches the most scored by two teams in a game since 2005; the others were 9-6 wins by Toronto against the New York Islanders in December 2005 and by Calgary against the Lightning two months later.

25 – Consecutive games with at least one point by Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, the longest streak in the NHL since a 30-gamer by Mats Sundin in 1992-93. Crosby had 26 goals and 50 points during the streak, which ended improbably on Dec. 29 when he failed to get a point against the New York Islanders – the team he has more points against than any other.

26 – Most shots by a team in one period. It happened twice, though neither team won the game. Detroit had 26 in the second period against Los Angeles on Dec. 13, but Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stopped all 26 – and finished with 51 saves in a 5-0 shutout. Washington out-shot Boston 26-2 in the third period on Dec. 12, but scored just once and left the TD Garden with a 3-2 loss.

28 – Regulation losses by New Jersey, one more than the Devils' entire total for the 2009-10 season.

55 – Shots by Florida in its game against visiting Atlanta on Nov. 3, the most shots by any team so far this season. All those shots didn't translate into a victory, though. Despite being out-shot 55-23, the Thrashers won 4-3 as Chris Mason made 52 saves.

64 – Shootouts so far this season, a pace that would yield 129 during the course of the full 1,230-game schedule. That would be the fewest since the NHL adopted the penalty-shot tiebreaker in 2005 – and a major drop from the 184 shootouts last season.

118 – Blocked shots by Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, the most in the NHL. Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano is next with 111. Seven players have blocked 90 or more shots; three (Brent Sopel, Tobias Enstrom and Ron Hainsey) play for the Thrashers.

126 – Minutes needed for the Detroit Red Wings to beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 on Dec. 3. Not only was it the fastest game in the NHL this season at 2 hours and 6 minutes, it was the fastest since 2006-07.

188 – Shots on goal by Washington's Alex Ovechkin, the most in the League at the halfway point. However, Ovechkin has just 14 goals and a 7.4 percent shooting percentage; his career averages coming into this season were 54 goals and a 12.2 percent shooting percentage.

6.6 million – North American hockey fans who tuned in to watch last Saturday's telecast of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. It's the most for a Winter Classic, and came despite a weather-induced postponement that bumped the game from 1 p.m. start to an 8 p.m. faceoff – meaning it went head-to-head with games involving eight U.S. teams and two in Canada. The 4.5 million who watched in the U.S. were the most to see a regular-season game in 36 years.
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