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Facts and Figures: Kopitar, Brown fueling hot start by Kings

Rejuvenated forwards thriving under new coach Stevens

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

The Los Angeles Kings are off to the best start in their history. Two reasons they are 6-0-1 after their 6-4 win at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday are center Anze Kopitar and forward Dustin Brown, who appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of the more upbeat tempo under new coach John Stevens.

Kopitar and Brown share the team lead with 11 points, and each is plus-11, tied for first in the NHL. The scoring numbers and plus-minus totals are major turnarounds for each player.

Kopitar's 11 points in seven games match his total to start the 2009-10 season, when he set an NHL career high with 81 (34 goals, 47 assists). He finished last season with 52 points, his fewest in a full season since entering the NHL in 2006, and didn't get his 11th point until Dec. 1, his 19th game.

Video: LAK@CBJ: Kopitar scores twice in Kings' 6-4 win

Brown's revival is even more remarkable. The 32-year-old hasn't had more than 36 points in a full season since 2011-12, which was also the last of his five 20-goal seasons. He also hasn't been a plus player since 2013-14. Brown also got his 11th point last season on Dec. 1; it was his 24th game.

 

50 shots no guarantee 

Any hockey player knows he can't score a goal without shooting the puck. But in the NHL, getting a lot of shots is no guarantee of victory. Three teams have taken 50 or more shots on goal in a game this season. But none of the three left the ice with a win.

The most recent was the Montreal Canadiens, who had 51 shots at Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson on Friday but lost 6-2. The Canadiens had 30 shots in the second period, setting a team record, but Gibson set a Ducks record by making 28 saves.

Video: MTL@ANA: Gibson comes up with a pair of huge saves

Two nights earlier, the Edmonton Oilers outshot the Carolina Hurricanes 51-21, but went home with a 5-3 loss. On Oct. 11, the Toronto Maple Leafs had 50 shots against the New Jersey Devils in a 6-3 loss.

Five teams had 50 or more shots in a game last season; those teams were 2-2-1. In all, 51 teams have taken 50 or more shots in a game since the start of the 2013-14 season; just 23 have won.

In contrast, four teams have taken 20 or fewer shots in a game this season; those teams are 3-1-0. The New York Rangers had 15 shots, fewest by a team in any game through the first 18 days of the season, but defeated the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Saturday.

 

Lundqvist's Halak hex

Superman had his kryptonite. Henrik Lundqvist has Jaroslav Halak.

No matter where Halak has played, he's gotten the better of Lundqvist, who tied Glenn Hall for ninth place on the all-time wins list with No. 407 when the York Rangers defeated the Predators. If anything, that trend has grown stronger since Halak joined the New York Islanders in 2014. Halak made 38 saves and stopped two of three shootout attempts Thursday in the Islanders' 4-3 win at the Garden, giving Halak a 13-4-0 career record against Lundqvist. He's 7-1-0 when facing Lundqvist since joining the Islanders - who, not coincidentally, are 11-3-0 overall against the Rangers since Halak's arrival, including 8-1-0 since the start of the 2015-16 season.

 

Beat the clock

Coaches at every level of hockey tell their players to go hard through all 20 minutes of a period. The Tampa Bay Lightning must be listening.

Video: PIT@TBL: Gourde puts in rebound before time expires

For the second time in nine days, the Lightning scored a goal within the final second of the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Yanni Gourde put the puck into the net with 0.2 seconds remaining in the first period on Saturday during a 7-1 victory at Amalie Arena. On Oct. 12, Victor Hedman cut it even closer, scoring with 0.1 seconds left to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

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