Stunning NHL Numbers: Red Wings struggles; Eichel’s point streak

During the 2019-20 NHL season we will take an occasional look at some stunning numbers from around the league. Today we focus on the Detroit Red Wings as well as the 17-game point streak for Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel

Detroit Red Wings historically bad start

We begin this edition of stunning numbers by taking a look at what has been a historically bad start, and one that has them on track for one of the worst seasons in the history of the proud franchise.

Nine wins in 36 games

  • The Red Wings enter play on Friday with just nine wins through their first 36 games, the second-lowest mark in franchise history behind only a three-way tie between the 1978-79, 1982-83, and 1985-86 teams, all of which had only eight wins through the same point in the season. When you consider that one of the Red Wings’ wins this season came in 3-on-3 overtime — something the late 70s and early 80s teams did not get to play in — it’s almost enough to lump them all in together.
  • Looking at things in a more present-day context, the nine wins through 36 games are the second-lowest total for any team over the past 10 years, ahead of only the 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres and 2017-18 Arizona Coyotes (seven wins each).
  • They are currently on pace for 20 wins this season. The lowest win total for a team over the past 10 years (excluding the lockout 2012-13 season) is 21 wins by the 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres. That would be the team’s lowest win total since winning just 17 game during the 1985-86 season.

The minus-62 goal differential

  • Entering play on Friday the Red Wings have already been outscored by 62 goals this season. That is the lowest number for an NHL team through 36 games since the 1992-93 Ottawa Senators (first-year expansion team) had a minus-89 mark.
  • It is the second-worst mark in Red Wings history, ahead of only the 1985-86 Red Wings (minus-73).
  • They are currently on pace to finish with a minus-143 mark for the season. If they do that it will be tied for the 14th worst mark in NHL history with the 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers (first-year expansion team).
  • A year ago the worst goal differential in the NHL for the entire season was only minus-61 (Los Angeles Kings).

Basically, the 2019-20 Red Wings are competing at the same level as a bad first-year expansion franchise.

Jack Eichel’s 17-game point streak

In the eyes of the NHL — at least for record-keeping purposes — Eichel’s point streak officially came to an end on Thursday night when he sat out the Buffalo Sabres’ 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers with an upper-body injury.

If that seems unfair, well, it kind of is. Especially if Eichel returns to the lineup and keeps piling up points in more games.

But with the streak officially “over” it is worth celebrating what he did over the past month for the Sabres.

Since the start of the streak on Nov. 16…

  • He is the NHL’s leading goal-scorer (16), leading point producer (31), is a league-best plus-17, has the most even-strength points (24), is tied with the fifth-most shots on goal (67), and has the second-most game-winning goals (3).
  • Eichel recorded multiple points in nine of the 17 games, including four three-point games and one four-point game.
  • Of his 31 points, 23 of them are “primary” points, meaning he actually scores the goal or has the first assist. The only other Sabres player with more than 10 primary points during that stretch is Victor Olofsson, one of Eichel’s linemates.
  • He scored or assisted on 54 percent of the team’s goals during the 17 games. Eichel was on the ice for 71 percent of the team’s goals.
  • The team had a 24-10 goal differential and controlled more than 52 percent of the total shot attempts when he was on the ice during 5-on-5 play. When he is off the ice the Sabres are being outscored 15-23 and control just 50 percent of the total shot attempts.

Even when you go beyond the streak, Eichel is once again one of the league’s most productive players and playing at an MVP level. He is the biggest reason the team is still hanging around in the Atlantic Division playoff race.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Olympic hockey on NBC: 2018 women’s gold medal game

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Hockey Week in America continues Sunday with the unforgettable Olympic women’s gold medal game in 2018.

NBC will present the women’s gold medal game at the 2018 Olympics between Team USA and Canada, won by the Americans in a 3-2 shootout in PyeongChang. With the victory, the women’s ice hockey team claimed its second ever Olympic gold medal and ended the Canadians streak of four straight gold medals.

Kenny Albert, AJ Mleczko and Pierre McGuire called the gold medal game in PyeongChang.

You can catch a replay of the 2018 women’s Olympics gold medal game Sunday on NBC at 1 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SUNDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Maple Leafs vs. Bruins (Game 7, Round 1, 2013 playoffs) – 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Golden Knights vs. Sharks (Game 7, Round 1, 2019 playoffs) – 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Kings vs. Blackhawks (Game 7, Western Conference Final, 2014 playoffs) – 12 a.m. ET on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Capitals vs. Penguins on NBCSN: Kuznetsov’s overtime series clincher

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

In 2018, the Capitals and Penguins met in Round 2 for the third straight postseason. Pittsburgh won the previous two series en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles. But this time Washington would have its revenge. Evgeny Kuznetsov would score in overtime of Game 6 to help the Capitals advance as they went on to win their first championship in franchise history.

You can catch Game 6 of the 2018 Penguins vs. Capitals playoff game Saturday night on NBCSN beginning at 12:30 a.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Capitals vs. Penguins on NBCSN: Bonino Bonino Bonino!

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

The Capitals needed a win to force Game 7 in Round 2 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Facing the Penguins yet again, the clawed back from a 3-1 third period deficit to force overtime. It was there, however, that Pittsburgh once again topped their Metro Division rivals. This time it was Nick Bonino breaking their hearts to put the Penguins on a path to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup title.

You can catch Game 6 of the 2016 Penguins vs. Capitals playoff game Saturday on NBCSN beginning at 10 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2016 playoffs) – 10 p.m. on NBCSN
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Crosby vs. Ovechkin on NBCSN: The dueling hat trick game

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

After edging the Penguins in Game 1 of their Round 2 series in 2009, the Capitals were eager to take a 2-0 series lead. Little did we all know it would be the Crosby and Ovechkin show as the two superstars exchanged hat tricks. Ovechkin’s Capitals came out on top after he scored his second and third goals of the game in a span of 3:29 late in the third period for a 4-3 victory.

You can catch the dueling hat trick game Saturday on NBCSN beginning at 8 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
Penguins vs. Capitals (Game 2, Round 2, 2009 playoffs) – 8 p.m. on NBCSN
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2016 playoffs) – 10 p.m. on NBCSN
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.