If it seems like there have been more goals scored in the NHL this season you would be correct.
As the season gets ready to move into its second quarter the league announced that there have been 1,924 goals scored this season, the highest total since the 2005-06 season when the league had 2,008 goals scored through the first quarter.
Third on the list was the 2006-07 season when 1,905 goals were scored.
You might remember the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons as being that brief spike in goal-scoring coming out of the lockout when the league cracked down on obstruction and interference, resulting in far more power plays and power play goals. In the years since the league saw a steady decline in both power plays and goals.
The league has made a point to try and crackdown on slashing and faceoff violations this season. That has not really resulted in a significant increase in the total number of power plays, but teams are converting on more of their power play opportunities.
There has also been a pretty dramatic increase in even-strength scoring (that is up 10.9 percent from a season ago at the same point).
That overall increase in scoring has also trickled down to the individual player level where 30 players (minimum 10 games played) are averaging more than a point per game.
At Thanksgiving a season ago only 11 players were averaging at least a point per game.
Only eight players finished the season (minimum 40 games played) with a point per game average.
For years everyone has had theories as to why goal scoring has decreased and what can be done to change it. Bigger nets? Smaller goalie equipment? More power plays? The reality is that goal scoring did not decrease for any one reason, it was likely a combination of factors, from goalies getting bigger and better, to teams becoming more structured and defensive, to power plays decreasing. The league has made a few small changes along the way to help remedy it and so far this season it seems to be reversing a little.
Whether or not it continues remains to be seen. It is, however, a pretty encouraging start.