The Carolina Hurricanes are piling up shots on goal at an unprecedented pace. Capitalizing on all those shots is another matter.
The Hurricanes are averaging 42.1 shots on goal through their first eight games. The record for a full season is held by the 1970-71 Boston Bruins, who averaged 40.6 shots in 78 games. They are the only team in NHL history to average at least 40 shots for a full season.
But unlike those Bruins, who set an NHL record that season with 399 goals (5.12 per game) on the way to a first-place finish in the East Division (they would have won the Presidents' Trophy if it had existed then), the Hurricanes aren't filling the net. Carolina has scored 26 goals (3.25 per game), tied for 16th in the NHL.
Ironically, they're even with the San Jose Sharks, who are No. 2 in generating shots (38.9 per game) but have the same record as Carolina (4-3-1). Each team has outshot its opponent in all eight games, though the Hurricanes have six games of at least 40 shots to three for the Sharks and took an NHL season-high 57 in a 5-4 overtime win at the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 13.
Combine those shot totals with Carolina's success at suppressing opposing shooters (24.9 shots per game allowed, second-fewest in the NHL), and the Hurricanes should be among the NHL's top teams.
So why aren't they filling the net and the win column as well as the shot chart?
Special teams are a big reason. Carolina is last in the NHL on the power play at 6.7 percent (2-for-30). Combine that with an NHL-worst penalty-killing percentage (65.4 percent; opponents are 9-for-26) and it gets easier to see why the Hurricanes haven't won more than they have.
Another is shooting percentage. The Hurricanes are scoring on 7.7 percent of its shots, 27th in the NHL (the average is 9.9 percent). Carolina's goalies have a combined save percentage of .874, 28th in the NHL.
A 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday is Carolina's season in a nutshell. The Hurricanes outshot the Avalanche 43-22, won 41 of 64 face-offs (Jordan Staal was 20-6) and had 81 shot attempts to 44. But they were 0-for-5 on the power play, allowed Colorado to score once on four man-advantages and needed a late goal by Micheal Ferland to avoid being shut out.
Video: Landeskog, Grubauer lead Avalanche to 3-1 win
Ducks flying high
The Anaheim Ducks, who host the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; FS-W, MSG-B, NHL.TV) are the opposite of the Hurricanes in many ways, yet they're off to a 5-2-1 start that has them in first place in the Pacific Division despite some numbers that suggest they shouldn't be.
The Ducks manage barely half as many shots on goal per game as the Hurricanes (23.3, fewest in the NHL) and allow more than anyone (37.0). They are 27th on faceoffs (46.3 percent), meaning they're chasing the puck more often than not. But Anaheim is tied for ninth in shooting percentage (11.3), 12th on the power play (25.0 percent) and tied for 14th with the Calgary Flames on the penalty kill (81.5 percent), far ahead of Carolina in each category.
Anaheim's success is largely the result of goalie John Gibson's brilliance. Gibson is 4-2-1 with a 1.91 goals-against average, and his .949 save percentage is the best of any goaltender who has played in more than two games. Largely because of Gibson, the Ducks lead the NHL with a .943 save percentage despite being outshot by double figures in six of their eight games.
Video: ANA@VGK: Gibson sprawls, stops Smith with helmet
Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat of the Chicago Blackhawks are among a number of players who've gotten off to hot starts. Each have scored seven goals in Chicago's first seven games, a big reason the Blackhawks are 4-1-2 after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. You have to go back to the days when they were known as the Black Hawks (pre-1986) to find the last time two Chicago players each had at least seven goals after seven games: Bobby Hull (11) and Doug Mohns (seven) did it in 1965-66.
Kane and DeBrincat are the 19th set of teammates since 1943-44, when the red line was introduced, who've scored at least seven goals after their team's first seven games. They are the first since, Jaromir Jagr (seven) and Tomas Sandstrom (eight) of the Pittsburgh Penguins did it in 1995-96.
Video: CHI@CBJ: Kane finishes off beautiful passing play
Eamon McAdam, who was sixth on the Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltending depth chart when training camp ended, got his first taste of the NHL on Monday when he dressed as the backup for a 4-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings at Scotiabank Arena. Two goaltenders lost via waiver claims (Curtis McElhinney to the Hurricanes and Calvin Pickard to the Philadelphia Flyers) and one to injury (Kasimir Kaskisuo, the No. 1 goaltender with Toronto of the American Hockey League), left McAdam next in line when starter Frederik Andersen tweaked his knee Oct. 13, leaving backup Garret Sparks as the only healthy goalie until McAdam was called up from Newfoundland of the ECHL.
Though he didn't play against the Kings, McAdam did no something no Maple Leafs player had ever done, dress for a game wearing No. 60. Before McAdam, No. 60 had been the exclusive property of the team mascot, Carlton the Bear.