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That was the year that was: 2008-09

by John Kreiser
The 1,230 games of the 2008-09 regular season are in the books, with the San Jose Sharks finishing first overall and the New York Islanders coming in 30th. Fourteen teams are cleaning out their lockers and preparing for summer; the other 16 are gearing up for what they hope is a long playoff run.

Here’s a look at some of the more interesting numbers from 2008-09:

0 -- Shorthanded goals allowed by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first 81 games of the season. When the Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky scored one Sunday, it prevented the Flyers from becoming only the second team in the last 46 years to play a full season without being scored on while playing with an extra man. The 1975-76 Montreal Canadiens, who went on to win the Stanley Cup, still hold that distinction. Philadelphia also led the NHL this season with 16 shorthanded goals.

1 -- Penalty shots taken in overtime this season. Boston goaltender Tim Thomas stopped Chicago's Patrick Sharp at 2:44 of OT on Nov. 12, 2008. The Bruins went on to win the game 2-1 in a shootout.

2 -- Overtime goals scored by Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer while the teams were playing 3-on-3. There were only three 3-on-3 goals scored this season; Niedermayer had two of them; Calgary's Jarome Iginla had the other in regulation time on Jan. 21 at Columbus.

3 -- Tie-breaking goals scored by Detroit's Marian Hossa in the final 2:00 of regulation. No other player had more than one.

4 -- Consecutive 30-win seasons by New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. He's the first netminder in NHL history to win 30 or more games in each of his first four seasons.

5 -- Most power-play goals scored in a game -- both times against the Nashville Predators. Detroit was 5-for-6 on Feb. 18, while Minnesota went 5-for-11 on Nov. 28.

6 -- Games this season that were scoreless through 65 minutes and had to be decided in a shootout. No team won more than one; Dallas was the only team to lose twice -- goaltender Marty Turco had two games in which he was credited with a shutout but not a victory.

7 -- Shootout wins at home by the New York Rangers, part of their League-leading total of 10 victories in the breakaway competition (in 16 tries). 

8 -- Game-tying goals scored in the final five seconds of regulation time. That includes three goals scored within the final one second -- by Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer (Nov. 21 at St. Louis), St. Louis' David Backes (Jan. 19 at Boston) and Washington's Alex Ovechkin (Nov. 15 at New Jersey). Only Backes' team won.

9 -- Road wins by the New York Islanders, who were the only team not to reach double figures in victories away from home. The Isles were 9-29-3; every other team had at least 12 victories on the road.

11 -- Tie-breaking goals scored in the final minute of regulation. Nine of the 11 were scored by the home team; Calgary's Todd Bertuzzi (Jan. 3 at Nashville) and Chicago's Dustin Byfuglien (April 11 at Detroit) were the only visiting players to get a game-winner in the final 60 seconds.

11 -- Wins by the Pittsburgh Penguins in games they trailed after two periods, the most in the League. No other team had more than eight; the Islanders were last with just one.

-- Rounds needed in the shootout between Vancouver and Anaheim on Oct. 31, 2008, the longest shootout of the season (no other game went more than eight). The teams went to a shootout after playing to a 6-6 tie through regulation; each team scored once in the first 12 rounds of the shootout before Vancouver defenseman Mattias Ohlund got the deciding goal in the 13th.

14 -- Most goals scored in a game this season. It happened twice -- with the Calgary Flames on the losing end both times. The Flames lost 8-6 at home to Tampa Bay on March 1, then were beaten by the same score at Toronto on March 14.

18 -- Games lost by the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime or shootouts, the most since the shootout was adopted for the 2005-06 season. Tampa Bay was 2-8 in games decided in the five-minute overtime and 3-10 in shootouts.

21 -- Games in which a team led by three or more goals and didn't win. Nineteen teams were unable to win after leading by three goals; two others (Carolina in a shootout on Dec. 11 and the New York Rangers in OT on Dec. 23) were unable to win after leading by four goals.

28 -- Shots on goal by Detroit in the first period against Calgary on March 12. The Wings scored twice on Miikka Kiprusoff while outshooting the Flames 28-4 in the opening 20 minutes. The Flames rallied for a 6-5 shootout victory. The Wings also had the second-highest one-period total, firing 27 shots against Nashville in the first period on Feb. 10.

31 -- Goals by Washington's Mike Green, the most by a defenseman since the Caps' Kevin Hatcher had 34 in 1992-93. Green became the eighth defenseman to reach the 30-goal mark (it's been done 17 times by those eight players) -- but the first to do so while playing fewer than 70 games. Green also set an NHL record for defensemen by scoring a goal in eight consecutive games from Jan. 27 to Feb. 14, breaking the 25-year-old mark set by Boston’s Mike O’Connell.

111 -- Goals allowed by the New York Islanders in the third period of their 82 games, the most by any team in any period this season. Colorado was next with 89 goals allowed in the third period; San Jose was the best in the NHL with 58. Not coincidentally, the Islanders finished last overall; the Sharks finished first.

528 -- Shots on goal by Washington's Alex Ovechkin, the second-highest single-season total in NHL history behind Phil Esposito's 550 for Boston in 1970-71. Ovechkin led the NHL with 56 goals and was second to Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin with 110 points.

799 -- Regular-season games played by Calgary's Olli Jokinen, who will make his playoff debut this week when the Flames play Chicago. No player has waited longer than Jokinen to make his playoff debut.
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