Throughout the season we have been taking an occasional look at some stunning numbers from around the NHL.
Today, we take a look at some stunning numbers from throughout the first two rounds of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Brent Burns’ minutes keep increasing
We mentioned this after Round 1 and it’s worth mentioning again because the workload the San Jose Sharks are throwing at Burns is pretty remarkable.
Through the Sharks’ first 14 games the Norris Trophy finalist has already played 409 minutes, which is an incredible 53 minutes more than any other player in the league this postseason (via NHL PR). Since the NHL started time-on-ice numbers that is the 16th highest total for any player through their team’s first 14 playoff games. Only three players have exceeded that number since 2010 (Alex Pietrangelo in 2016, Drew Doughty in 2014, and Duncan Keith in 2015).
As impressive as Burns’ ice time numbers are this postseason, what is truly stunning is look at the minutes Chris Pronger used to play for the St. Louis Blues. During the 1999 playoffs he played an almost unbelievable 466 minutes in 13 games. The only reason it isn’t totally unbelievable? Two years later he played 475 minutes through the Blues’ first 14 playoff games.
Carolina’s special teams are still struggling
The Hurricanes have looked great this postseason during 5-on-5 play, dominating possession, playing with speed, and looking like a franchise that is on the rise and ready to position itself as a Stanley Cup contender for the foreseeable future.
Their run to the Eastern Conference Final so far has been impressive.
Even more impressive when you consider they are getting next to nothing from their special teams units.
Through Game 1 of the ECF series the Hurricanes’ power play is converting on just 12.2 percent of its chances with the man-advantage. Among the 86 teams that have appeared in at least 12 playoff games since the start of the 2005-06 season, that number is among the 12 worst.
Their penalty kill is even worse.
After giving up two quick power play goals to the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, the Hurricanes have successfully killed off just 73.2 percent of their power plays in the playoffs. Among the same sampling of teams mentioned above, that number is the fifth worst.
Carolina’s power play wasn’t great during the regular season, but the penalty kill was among the league’s 10 best. It has not had anywhere near as much success in the playoffs. Part of that is due to getting seven games against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in Round 1, a matchup that will damage any team’s PK success rate, but they have also give up five power play goals in the five games since then.
It is a testament to how dominant they have been during 5-on-5 play that they have still been able to win eight out of their first 12 playoff games while getting so little production from their special teams units.
Jaden Schwartz’s roller coaster season
Schwartz could not buy a goal during the regular season.
Among forwards that recorded at least 160 shots on goal, Schwartz’s 6 percent shooting percentage was the third worst in the NHL ahead of only Buffalo’s Evan Rodrigues (5.3 percent) and Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli (5.8 percent). For a player that had never shot lower than 10 percent in his career, and only once lower than 12 percent, it was a horribly unlucky season for the Blues’ forward.
His luck has changed dramatically in the playoffs.
Entering Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday, Schwartz has already scored eight goals in 13 games for the Blues (after just 11 goals in 69 games during the regular season).
He has done so by scoring on 22.9 percent of shots, the second highest shooting percentage in the league among forwards with at least 20 shots in the playoffs.
The thing is, if you combine his regular season and playoff numbers together he is looking at exactly an 82-game sampling, or what would be a full regular season.
In those 82 games he has 19 goals on 218 shots. Still a notch below his normal career average of around 23 goals per 82 games, but far closer than his final regular season numbers. He probably wasn’t bad during the regular season, just a little unlucky. With more games added to his sampling for the year, the percentages started to regress in his favor.