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Press Release

Increase in scoring, young players highlight first quarter of season

Goals up 12.4 percent from 2016-17; 23 of top 40 point leaders 25 and under

by NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL
2017-18 Season Eclipses Quarter Mark . . .

Highlights from the opening 49 days of the 2017-18 NHL season, which surpassed the quarter mark on Tuesday with 318 of 1,271 games played.

 

Quick Hits

* Goal scoring is up 12.4% over last season, with an average of 6.1 goals per game.

* Twenty-three of the top 40 point-getters in the NHL are age 25 or younger (including five of the top seven). Overall, 46.7% of players to appear in a game this season are age 25 or younger (381 of 815).

* Thirty-two players are averaging more than a point per game (min. 15 GP), including three players above 1.50 P/GP - Steven Stamkos (1.75), Nikita Kucherov (1.65) and Johnny Gaudreau (1.55).

* Eight teams - including three division leaders (TBL, LAK, NJD) - who were not part of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs currently hold a postseason position (Eastern Conference: Lightning, Devils, Islanders and Red Wings; Western Conference: Jets, Kings, Golden Knights and Stars).

 

 

Offense on the Rise

There have been 1,924 goals scored this season (including shootout-deciding goals), up 12.4% over 2016-17, with an average of 6.1 goals per game. Only one other season in the past 12 years has had more goals through 318 games - there were 2,008 goals scored in the first 318 games of 2005-06.

* Fourteen different clubs have scored at least seven goals in a game this season, led by the Blackhawks who tallied 10 times on the second day of the campaign to become the fifth team in NHL history to score at least 10 goals in a season-opening game.

* The overall scoring increase is supported by spikes in the number of goals scored at even strength (1,399; up 10.9% vs. 2016-17), via the power-play (431; up 17.4%) and while shorthanded (67; up 24.1%).

 

Hats Rain Down Across NHL

The jump in scoring has been highlighted by 23 hat tricks, with 21 different players registering at least three goals in a game and at least one such performance every week thus far - including six in the past 10 days. The 23 hat tricks are the third-most through 318 games in the past 20 years.

* The trend began on opening night, when Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds and Oilers forward Connor McDavid - the reigning Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner - each scored three times, marking the third time in NHL history that the first day of a season featured multiple hat tricks.

* Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin - a seven-time 50-goal scorer and six-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner - then became the fourth player in League history to score a hat trick in each of his team's first two games of a season - the other three occurred in 1917-18, the League's inaugural season.

 

Youth is Served

Twenty-three of the top 40 point-getters in the NHL are age 25 or younger (including five of the top seven). Overall, 46.7% of players to appear in a game this season are age 25 or younger (381 of 815). A look at rookie leaders:

* Coyotes forward Clayton Keller (11-9-20) paces NHL rookies in goals and points. He and Teemu Selanne (1992-93) are the only rookies in Coyotes/Jets franchise history to hit the 10-goal mark within the team's first 15 games of a season.

* Islanders forward Mathew Barzal (4-15-19) leads rookies in assists and is one of three players to record five points in a game this season. Only five other rookies have posted a five-point game in the past 11 years: Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, John Tavares, Alexandre Picard and Evgeni Malkin.

* Devils defenseman Will Butcher began his NHL career by becoming just the fifth defenseman in the expansion era to record three or more points in his League debut. Butcher (2-14-16), who leads rookie defensemen in assists and points, is part of a Devils team that leads the League in points by rookies (11-36-47) and features eight players age 23 or younger.

 

Schwartz, Schenn Power League-Leading Blues

Blues forwards Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn have factored on a combined 53.9% of the team's goals thus far (41 of 76) to help St. Louis post the best record in the League at the quarter mark.

* Schwartz (11-19-30), who has spent his entire career with the Blues, has registered at least one point in 18 of 22 games this season - including three outings with three or more points - and is more than halfway to his point total from 2016-17 (19-36-55 in 78 GP).

* Schenn (10-20-30), who also registered 55 points last season while with the Flyers (25-30-55 in 79 GP), is currently on a career-high eight-game point streak (7-12-19). Schenn has recorded four points in a game twice on his current streak after posting zero such performances in his first 447 GP.

 

[RELATED: Current NHL Standings]

 

Stamkos, Kucherov Guide Eastern Conference-Leading Lightning

The Lightning duo of Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov became the seventh set of teammates in NHL history - and first since 1992-93 - to begin a season on simultaneous point streaks of at least 11 games, helping Tampa Bay to an Eastern Conference-best record of 15-3-2 (32 points) at the quarter mark.

* Stamkos (10-25-35), who leads the League in assists and points, has recorded at least one point in 17 of 20 games this season. Since the start of 2016-17, Stamkos paces all players with 1.49 points per game, collecting 19-36-55 in 37 games played.

* Kucherov (17-16-33), who became the sixth player in the NHL's modern era (since 1943-44) to score a goal in at least seven consecutive team games to begin a season, paces all players with 17 goals and trails only Stamkos in points. He has 118 points since the start of 2016-17 (57-61-118 in 94 GP), second in the NHL behind Connor McDavid (40-85-125 in 102 GP).

 

Vegas Off to Historic Start in First NHL Season

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights (12-6-1, 25 points), who rank second in the Pacific Division, opened the campaign with three straight victories en route to becoming the first team in the 100-year history of the NHL to win eight of its first nine games in its inaugural season.

* The Golden Knights posted five consecutive wins from Oct. 15-27 to match the NHL record for longest win streak by a team at any point in its inaugural NHL season, equaling the 1926-27 Rangers and 1979-80 Oilers.

* Vegas shares the League lead with eight home wins this season (8-1-0), a record that includes an active streak of seven consecutive victories. The NHL record for longest home win streak by a team in its inaugural season is eight games, set by the Toronto Arenas in 1917-18.

* James Neal, who leads the club with 10 goals, became the first player in the expansion era to score in each of his team's first four games in its inaugural season (he also tallied the first three game-winning goals in franchise history).

* Five different goaltenders have seen game action for the Golden Knights, with Maxime Lagace (4-5-1), Oscar Dansk (3-0-0), Marc-Andre Fleury (3-1-0), Malcom Subban (2-0-0) and Dylan Ferguson (1 GP) sharing duties thus far.

 

An Early Look at the Playoff Picture

Three division leaders - the Lightning (15-3-2, 32 points), Kings (12-7-2, 26 points) and Devils (11-5-3, 25 points) - pace a group of eight teams that currently hold a playoff spot after not being part of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (Eastern Conference: TBL, NJD, NYI and DET; Western Conference: WPG, LAK, VGK and DAL). Overall, there has been playoff turnover of at least five clubs in 10 of the past 12 season.

* Four teams outside of a playoff position at the quarter mark of the 2016-17 season went on to earn a postseason berth (Bruins, Maple Leafs, Ducks and Flames), with Anaheim claiming the Pacific Division title.

* Since 2001-02, at least three teams each season have reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs after being outside the postseason picture at U.S. Thanksgiving.

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