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The Official Site of the Nashville Predators Plenty to note from past 15-game days

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

The NHL's regular season is going out with a bang.

For just the fourth time in its history, all 30 teams will be playing on the same day. But for the first time, they'll be doing so not in October but on the final night of the regular season.

For the first time since 1928, the NHL's regular season ends on a Saturday (the last non-Sunday close was 2005-06, when the final day was a Tuesday). But for the first time since the NHL became a 30-team League, everyone finishes on the same night.

If history is any guide, the NHL's fourth 15-game day should be a good one for home teams, the Minnesota Wild, the Vancouver Canucks and the Washington -- and perhaps not so good for the Phoenix Coyotes and Winnipeg Jets.

Here's a look at some of the trends and numbers from "everybody plays" days (and nights):

Home cooking: Home teams have won 27 of the 45 games played, though the visiting teams have gone from four wins in 2005 to six in 2008 and eight on Oct. 24, 2009, the last time the NHL had 15 games on the same day. Home teams won 11 times on opening night of the 2005-06 season and nine on Oct. 25, 2008.

The Canucks and Wild have been the biggest beneficiaries of the schedule-maker on 15-game days -- they've been home on each of the first three and will play in their own buildings again on Saturday. That could be bad news for Edmonton, which visits Vancouver, and Phoenix, which ends its season at Minnesota.

The Coyotes have had enough trouble without visiting a team that's never lost on a 15-game day -- while Minnesota is 3-0-0, the Coyotes are one of two teams to go 0-3-0, and the only team to play two or more home games without getting a point. The other 0-3-0 franchise is the Winnipeg Jets, who went pointless while playing as the Atlanta Thrashers.

Road warriors: Four teams have played all three times on the road, and two of them -- the Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings -- will make it 4-for-4. Carolina ends its season at Florida and Los Angeles travels to San Jose, one of the other two teams that was away from home on each of the first three 15-game days.

Anaheim and Washington are the only teams to go 2-0-0 on the road, though both of the Caps' wins have come in games that went past regulation. The Ducks won twice in regulation on the road, but lost at home.

Working overtime: Ten of the 45 games have gone past regulation, with five decided in overtime and five more in a shootout.

Washington earned two of its three victories in overtime, beating Dallas 6-5 and the Islanders 3-2, both on the road. Ottawa is the only team to play in more than one shootout: The Senators beat Toronto in 2005 and lost to Boston four years later.

Highs and lows: No team has scored more than six goals on a 15-game day; it's been done seven times. No game has seen more than 11 goals; Washington beat Dallas 6-5 in OT and Detroit did the same to Chicago in 2008.

Four teams -- three of them in the Southeast Division -- have been shut out.

A bad omen for the Florida Panthers, who enter Saturday needing a point to lock up the Southeast Division title: They've scored only three goals in their three contests on 15-game days, the fewest of any team. Anaheim's 15 goals are the most.

Desperately seeking 60: Tampa Bay's game at Winnipeg on Saturday won't mean anything in the standings, but it will give Steven Stamkos one last chance to join one of the NHL's truly elite groups -- the 60-goal club.

Stamkos needs one goal to become only the second player in the 21st century to score 60 times in a season -- he would join Alex Ovechkin, who had 65 goals four years ago.

The 60-goal mark has been reached just 38 times -- but just three of those have come since 1994, when Pavel Bure scored 60 for the second time in as many seasons, and only Ovechkin has done it since Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux (69) and Jaromir Jagr broke 60 in 1995-96.

Perhaps Stamkos' most impressive accomplishment is that he's scored 47 of his 59 goals at even strength -- a number not reached since 1992-93, when Teemu Selanne (52), Alexander Mogilny (49) and Lemieux (47) did it.

Stamkos also leads the NHL in game-winners this season with 12 and broke the record for overtime goals in a season with five. While he's been much more prolific at home (36 goals; no one else has more than 27), he's also in a three-way tie for the League lead in road goals with 23 and will have the chance to better than total against the Jets.

Author: John Kreiser | Columnist

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