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Facts and Figures: Golden Knights continue setting records

NHL's newest team off to unprecedented start

by John Kreiser / Managing Editor

If it seems like the Vegas Golden Knights are setting some sort of record almost every day, it's because they are.

Their 4-2 win at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday was their fifth in a row, the second time they've won five consecutive games in their first season. That matches the total of five-game winning streaks by first-year teams during the NHL's first 99 seasons; the 1926-27 New York Rangers and 1979-80 Edmonton Oilers each did it once.

The win at Arizona was the 15th in 22 games for the Golden Knights, making them the fastest first-year team in NHL history to reach 15 wins; the 1926-27 Rangers had been the fastest by doing it in 25 (15-7-3). The Golden Knights have already won more games in less than two months than the first-year Washington Capitals (8-67, five ties in 1974-75), Ottawa Senators (10-70, four ties in 1992-93), New York Islanders (12-60, six ties in 1972-73) and Atlanta Thrashers (14-57-4 with seven ties in 1999-2000) managed in a full season.

Video: Golden Knights hold off Coyotes in 4-2 victory

The Golden Knights also have another streak going: They've knocked out the starting goaltender in each of their past three games. Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings was lifted after allowing three first-period goals Sunday, Martin Jones of the San Jose Sharks was pulled after Vegas took a 3-1 lead 10 seconds into their game Friday, and Scott Wedgewood of the Coyotes was replaced at 9:05 of the second period after Vegas scored three goals in a span of 1:42.

Vegas is trying to become the first NHL expansion team to have a winning record in its first season. The closest teams have been the 1967-68 Philadelphia Flyers (31-32, 11 ties) and the 1993-94 Florida Panthers (33-34, 17 ties).


At last

It's a pretty safe bet that San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns won't match the 29 goals he scored last season while winning the Norris Trophy. But at least he's no longer scoreless.

Burns had 84 shots on goal in the Sharks' first 20 games, but no goals. He ended his drought on Friday when he scored 8:08 into the second period of the game against the Golden Knights. The goal came on his first shot of the game and 85th of the season.

With Burns finally in the goal column, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, inherits the distinction of having taken the most shots on goal this season without scoring. Keith has no goals on 52 shots, three more than Buffalo Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella. Jason Chimera of the New York Islanders, a 20-goal scorer in each of the past two seasons, leads all scoreless forwards with 35 shots.

Video: SJS@VGK: Burns slams slap shot home off face-off


Right place for Ovechkin's promise

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin more than lived up to his promise to score a goal for 13-year-old cancer survivor Alex Luey on Saturday. With his biggest fan cheering him on, Ovechkin scored three in a 4-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

Ovechkin was in the right place to promise to score a goal. He has 22 goals in 25 games (including Stanley Cup Playoff games) in Toronto, and his 0.91 goals per game is his highest average at any NHL arena where he has played more than 10 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Video: WSH@TOR: Ovechkin collects hatty in special fashion


Capitals, Penguins end back-to-back blues

The Capitals' win at Toronto was their third in a row, but their first in five tries in the second of back-to-back games. Washington had been 0-4-0 and outscored 17-5 before the victory in Toronto.

Aside from Ovechkin's success in Toronto, the Capitals had another number in their favor against the Maple Leafs: In 77 Saturday starts, goaltender Braden Holtby is 52-16-9 with a 2.11 goals-against average, .927 save percentage nine shutouts. He's also 50-15-7 in 74 starts against Canadian teams.

The Pittsburgh Penguins ended an even bigger drought, and got a little revenge, by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday. The Penguins were 0-4-2 in the second of back-to-back games, including 5-4 and 7-1 road losses to the Lightning.

The win was also the Penguins' first by a goaltender other than Matt Murray. Rookie Tristan Jarry made 33 saves for his first NHL win after going 0-0-2 in the second of back-to-back games this season.

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