The NHL's 'off the beaten path' records, including one that Alex Ovechkin could break

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ovechkinshoots.jpgLast night, I discussed the NHL.com story regarding the league’s “unbreakable” records. John Kreiser also added another wrinkle to the topic with a separate post including some of the records that are “off the beaten path.”

I thought I’d take a look at some of those wacky records, too. Let’s start with one that could be broken and move on to a few that would take quite the effort – or lack thereof – to ever be eclipsed.

Most shots on goal in an NHL career: Ray Bourque with 6,206

That’s an incredible 840 more than the runner-up, Marcel Dionne, who holds the mark for forwards with 5,366.

But Ovechkin appears to have a good chance to overtake Bourque — he has 2,159 shots in his first five seasons, an average of more than 430. That pace would move Ovi past Bourque before he reaches his 35th birthday.

Highest career plus/minus: Larry Robinson with +730

Besides Robinson and Bourque, only Gretzky (plus-518) and Bobby Clarke (plus-506) are more than plus-500 for their careers. The active leader is Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom at plus-431 — and he’s light years ahead of runner-up Patrik Elias of New Jersey, who’s plus-198.

My guess is that such a mark won’t ever be broken. Robinson clearly reaped the benefits of a much smaller NHL and a Montreal Canadiens franchise whose dominance might never be matched.

Most games played in a single regular season: Jimmy Carson, 86 games in the 1992-93 season with Detroit and Los Angeles

Finally, I’ll leave you with this interesting excerpt about scoring futility with a mild dose of efficency. We begin with a discussion of snake-bitten former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Steve Halko. I highly recommend reading Kreiser’s full piece, by the way.

Halko managed 15 assists in his 155 NHL regular-season games, but never turned on the red light despite being credited with 96 shots on goal. That’s the most games played by anyone in NHL history without scoring at least once.

Halko was no longer a Hurricane in 2003-04 when Carolina called up a defenseman named Brad Fast for his lone NHL appearance. Fast made the most of his cameo, scoring a goal before being returned to the minors. He’s one of three players who have played only one NHL game and scored a goal — the others are center Rolly Huard (Toronto, 1930-31) and defenseman Dean Morton (Detroit, 1989-90).

At least Halko managed to hit the score sheet — unlike Gord Strate, a defenseman who played 61 games during parts of three seasons with Detroit in the late 1950s and never managed a point. No other player has skated in as many games without managing at least one point — the runner-up is Frank “Frosty” Peters, who went 43 games without a point, all in 1930-31.

PHT Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby eyes more history

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Bob McKenzie shares his memories of Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie, who apparently was a big hockey fan. (TSN)

Don Cherry discusses John Brophy’s toughness after the former Leafs coach recently passed away. (Sportsnet)

 

A look at Vincent Lecavalier‘s career. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

The perils of flip-flopping goalies in the playoffs … although it worked out for the Penguins at least last night. (The Hockey News)

Speaking of which, will the Blues get burned for switching back to Brian Elliott in Game 6 tonight? Here’s a preview:

Sidney Crosby has a chance to join a very rare club of clutch goal-scorers if he can win it for Pittsburgh in Game 7:

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.