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Fourteen numbers that defined hockey in 2014

by Evan Sporer / NHL.com

There are 525,600 minutes in a year, and it's safe to assume you spent a good deal of them watching hockey.

Yet, the minutes weren't the only thing we were counting. With the end of the 2013-14 season, the 2014 Sochi Olympics, an exciting 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the start of a new season, there was plenty of hockey, and plenty of numbers, to take away from the year 2014.

From Jan. 1 to this year's holiday break, here are 14 numbers that helped define the year in hockey.

Seguin's scoring

He turned 22 in January, and since the beginning of the calendar year, no player in the NHL has scored more goals than Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin's 42. Seguin has also been effective in other offensive areas, recording 86 points, second this year to the Philadelphia Flyers' Claude Giroux (89). Seguin has always been a gifted offensive player, but since getting traded to the Stars before the 2013-14 season, his numbers have taken off.

One of the big factors in Seguin's success has been linemate Jamie Benn. The Stars captain has assisted on 21 on Seguin's goals this year, or 50 percent. Likewise, Seguin has assisted on 23 of Benn's 31 goals this year, or 74 percent. In total, 51 of the 86 times Seguin has found the score sheet, Benn has also recorded a point on the play, or 59 percent of the time. Seguin had a big 2014, and Benn was usually involved when he was doing his damage.

Giordano driving play

Mark Giordano finished 10th in Norris Trophy voting for the 2013-14 season, but it's hard to have a conversation about the 2014-15 trophy without mentioning the Calgary Flames defenseman as one of the favorites. Giordano's big offensive numbers have ballyhooed his name to the top of those predictions, but really, the Flames captain has been spectacular all year long.

Giordano is perhaps the biggest singular driving force for puck possession among players in the League. When Giordano is on the ice, the Flames have attempted 339 more shots than their opponents this year in all situations. When Giordano isn't in the game, the Flames have conceded 686 more shot attempts than they have attempted, according to war-on-ice.com. The contrast is so stark, it's no wonder why the defenseman has averaged close to 25 minutes of ice time per game this season. It's certainly impressive Giordano has recorded more points (64) than any other member of the Flames this year, but where the numbers truly tell the story is in terms of puck possession.

Kings of keep-away

For the second time in three seasons, the Los Angeles Kings were crowned Stanley Cup champions in 2014. If there's something Los Angeles does particularly well that other teams should (and probably are already attempting to) strive to do, it's owning the puck.

From Jan. 1 on, the Kings have the highest Corsi-for percentage at a combined 55.6 in the 76 regular-season games they've played. Coming in behind them by nearly a full point is the Chicago Blackhawks at 54.9 percent. In those 76 games, at even-strength the Kings have attempted 729 more shots than their opponents, or over 9.5 shot attempts per game.

A Classic turnout

It was fitting that, for a venue nicknamed "The Big House," the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs were able to draw the largest crowd in League history. On Jan. 1, for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, 105,491 fans helped set a record for the highest-attended game in League history.

And the crowd got its money's worth, as the game required overtime and a shootout, with Tyler Bozak beating Jimmy Howard to give the visiting Maple Leafs a 3-2 win.

T.J. Sochi

St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie became a breakout star at the 2014 Sochi Olympics after taking six shootout attempts in a 3-2 win against Russia. (Photo: Getty Images)

While the United States fell short of its goal of winning a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a great hockey memory was forged nonetheless. In the preliminary round against tournament host Russia, the United States outlasted Alex Ovechkin & Co. on the stick of St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie.

After playing a 2-2 game through regulation and overtime, the teams headed to a shootout. Oshie scored on his first attempt, but three rounds weren't enough to decide the game. Under international rules, if the score remains tied after the first three rounds, teams can repeat shooters as many times as they choose. So U.S. coach Dan Bylsma called on Oshie again, and again, five more times for a total of six attempts. Oshie made good on four of them to give the United States the victory.

Motor City Streak

The Detroit Red Wings aren't just a model franchise in hockey. From Jim Devellano and Scotty Bowman to Ken Holland, one thing has been consistent over the past 23 seasons and continued in 2014 for Detroit: playoff hockey.

The Red Wings current streak of 23 straight postseasons is the longest active streak in hockey, and the longest active streak in any sport. The current run Detroit is on actually surpasses any playoff streak ever set by any NBA, MLB, or NFL franchise, and trails only four postseason stretches in NHL history.

As far as extending the streak, the Red Wings currently sit fifth overall in the Eastern Conference, and four points back of the Penguins for the top spot. A postseason appearance in 2015 would tie Detroit for the fourth-longest streak in League history with the Montreal Canadiens (1971-1994). The Boston Bruins hold the longest playoff streak in hockey history, set from 1968 to 1995 at 29 seasons.

Panthers, Capitals go 20

The NHL added the shootout to serve as its official tiebreaker beginning in the 2005-06 season. And that November, the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals set the mark for the longest shootout, going 15 rounds before a winner was decided.

That record stood until earlier this month, when on Dec. 16 the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals needed 20 rounds of a shootout for a winner to emerge. It was the first time in League history where a shootout extended so long that every skater on each team was used, and teams began re-using players. Florida, the home team, elected to shoot second, and scored five times following a successful Washington attempt to extend the game. Finally, at 10:41 pm ET, a full three hours and three minutes after the game was started, Nick Bjugstad secured a second point for Florida with his goal in the bottom of the 20th round.

Stamkos keeps shooting

Steven Stamkos is arguably the most prolific offensive player in the NHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain was lost for much of the 2013-14 season after sustaining a broken tibia in his right leg. Stamkos began this season with a clean bill of health and didn't take long for him to remind everyone of his offensive prowess.

On Oct. 13, only three games into the season, Stamkos attempted the second-most shots on goal in a single game this calendar year, 12, in a 7-1 Lightning win against the Montreal Canadiens. The bad news for the visiting team? Stamkos wasn't simply flinging shots from every which way as he finished the night with a hat trick, the eighth of his career.

Scrivens escapes

As a rule of thumb, when a team records over twice as many shots on goal as its opponent, it usually wins the game. In fact, what Ben Scrivens and the Edmonton Oilers did was so rare, it's only happened one other time since 1987, according to Hockey-Reference.com.

On Jan. 29, Scrivens' Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-0 behind a 59-save shutout from its goalie. Scrivens set a League record with the most saves recorded in a shutout, previously set by Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2011-12 (54).

The Oilers themselves took 27 shots that night, marking only the second time since 1987 that a team won despite taking 27 or fewer shots and allowing 59 or more. The previous time that happened was in 2009, when the New York Islanders defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime, taking 21 shots and allowing 61.

Varlamov under siege

No goalie in the League faced more shots this calendar year than the Columbus Blue Jackets' Sergei Bobrovsky (1,810), but no goalie was shot at more consistently than Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche, who finished second in 2014 Vezina Trophy voting behind Tuukka Rask. Varlamov faced more shots per 60 minutes (34.51) than any other goalie who played at least 2,400 minutes, which is 40 games worth.

Varlamov played 10 fewer games than Bobrovsky, making up the overall discrepancy. When Varlamov was on the ice, the Avalanche leaned on him heavily. Colorado allowed 4,652 shot attempts against this year, the third-most in the League.

Jagr ignores Father Time

Jaromir Jagr
Right Wing - NJD
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 20
SOG: 80 | +/-: -13
Jaromir Jagr once said he'd like to play hockey until he's 50. If he stays true to that statement, the 42-year-old will likely continue to put himself in historical conversations when it comes to point production at certain ages.

Jagr turned 42 in February, and has currently posted the 11th-most points all-time in a single season (20) for a player his age or older, with another 46 regular-season games on the schedule for the New Jersey Devils. The record for most points by a player 42 or older was set by Gordie Howe in 1970-71, when he had 52 points. Jagr's current production pace would put him at about 46 points for this season, which would be the third-highest scoring season ever for a player at least 42 years old.

On the other end of the age spectrum is Aaron Ekblad. The rookie sensation was born after Jagr had already played in over 400 NHL games and recorded over 400 career NHL points. Ekblad in his own right has been prolific for a player his age, as his 19 points currently tie him for the 10th-most for an 18-year-old defenseman. Ekblad still has some ground he can make up too, and is currently on pace to climb to sixth all-time for points scored by an 18-year-old defenseman.

Impolite house guests

No team won more in visiting arenas in 2014 than the Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders, who each won 23 times when on the road. The Ducks currently own the top spot in the League standings, thanks in large part to their 12 road victories, most in the NHL thus far in the 2014-15 season. The Islanders did the bulk of their winning away from home toward the end of last season, where they won 13 games between Jan. 1 and the end of the 2013-14 season. The Islanders have won more games on the road this calendar year than at Nassau Coliseum, where they've won 21 times.

Conversely, no team found more comfort at home than the Boston Bruins, who have won 26 times inside TD Garden this year. The Bruins had the best home record in the League last season en route to winning the Presidents' Trophy at 31-7-3, with 15 of those wins coming after the calendar changed over to 2014.

Rinne's pace

The Nashville Predators are among the biggest surprises through the early part of the 2014-15 season. One of Nashville's biggest keys has been the return of star goalie Pekka Rinne, who is finally healthy, and on a historically uncharted pace. Rinne has made 29 starts for the Predators this season, winning 22, which is tops in the League. If he continues to play and win at that pace, he'll make roughly 72 starts (which has happened only 13 times since 1917), and win around 54 games, which would be a League record.

Obviously, it's the second of those two projections that is more unlikely to happen. While coach Peter Laviolette can continue to go to Rinne as frequently as possible, him winning at the same rate is quite difficult to predict. But Rinne's 54-win pace not only puts him on track to set the single-season record, it gives him some breathing room. The mark was set by Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils with 48 wins in 2006-07. And even if Rinne doesn't win 54, or 48, he still has a chance to make history. No goalie in the NHL has ever won 40 games with a save percentage as high as Rinne's is currently (.934) or a goals-against average as low (1.84). In fact, the only goalie since 1917 who has started 50 games in a season and finished with a save percentage higher than Rinne's current number was the Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas in 2010-11, when he finished with a .938 save percentage.

Selanne's sendoff

There aren't many better ambassadors for the game of hockey than Teemu Selanne. The 44-year-old Finn played his final season in the NHL in 2013-14, receiving a standing ovation after his Anaheim Ducks were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Selanne did win one more piece of hardware, a bronze medal playing for Finland at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Selanne wasn't just out there going through the motions though, and at age 43 he became the oldest player ever to score a goal in the playoffs and in an Olympic medal game in the same calendar year. Selanne scored twice for the Ducks during their seven-game series against the Kings, and twice for Finland in its 5-0 win against the United States in the bronze-medal game.

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