NHL Stunning Numbers: McDavid, Draisaitl and the improbable push for 100 points

During the 2020-21 NHL season we will take an occasional look at some stunning numbers from around the league. Here is what has stood out to us so far…

McDavid and Draisaitl and their chance at 100 points

It seems crazy to even seriously discuss. It should not be a realistic option. It goes against all logical and thought to think that an NHL player, in today’s game, could possibly reach 100 points in 56 games.

It is the type of thing that should have only happened in the 1980s or early 1990s with Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux.

But here we are.

After their complete offensive bludgeoning of the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night, the Edmonton duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl find themselves at the top of the NHL scoring race by a fairly substantial margin. Draisaitl is seven points ahead of the league’s third-leader scoring (Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner), while McDavid is eight points ahead.

The pace

With 22 points in 11 games, McDavid is currently on a 112-point over a 56-game season. Draisaitl, with 21 in 11 games, is on a 107-point pace.

The obvious response here is that they are not going to maintain those numbers over the remainder of the season. That is an accurate statement. These two are great, but nobody is that great. But here is the important thing to keep in mind: They do not need to maintain that exact pace the rest of the way to do it. Those points are already on the board. Their goal the rest of the way is considerably lower than that two point per game average.

What they need

McDavid needs 78 points in 45 games (1.73 per game) the rest of the way to hit 100 points. Draisaitl would need 79 (a 1.75 pace) points. 

That seems like a lot, and it is. But is it unreachable? For 99.9% of the league, almost certainly. But for these two? It might not be.

The most productive 45-game stretch of McDavid’s career came mid-way through the 2018-19 season when he put 76 points on the board between Dec. 5, 2018 and March 26, 2019. At multiple points over the past two seasons he had topped 70 points over various 45-game stretches.

In other words, it is possible.

Draisaitl’s best 45-game stretch is 70 points midway through in the 2019-20 season. So while he has never had a stretch quite as good as McDavid’s best, he is still not far off.

There is one other wild card in this discussion worth keeping in mind. By playing all of their games this season in the North Division the Oilers have still 23 games remaining against the Senators, Jets, and Canucks, three of the worst defensive teams in the league. That includes eight more games against the Ottawa team they saw on Sunday night. There is definitely a chance to pad some numbers here, and it might at least keep this race interesting.

Other stunning numbers from around the NHL…

• This stat comes via The Athletic’s Prashanth Iyer on Twitter. Since Oct. 29, 2019 the Red Wings are 0-26-4 in games where Jonathan Bernier is not the goalie of record.

If you go back to the start of the 2019-20 season they are 2-32-4 in such games.

• The Penguins have already used 11 different defensemen this season in only nine games.

The only used 10 in 69 games a year ago. They used 11 in a full 82-game season in 2018-19. You have to back to the 2016-17 season to find the last time they used more than 11 in a full season.

Colorado has also used 11 different defensemen this season. The Penguins and Avalanche are the only two NHL teams that have already used more than 10 players at the position.

• The Capitals did not have Alex Ovechkin or Evgeny Kuznetov in their lineup for the four game between Jan. 20 and Jan. 29 (Kuznetsov remains out).

Those two are major parts of the Capitals’ power play.

[MORE: Your 2020-21 NHL On NBC TV Schedule]

That power play converted on 55% of its chances (five out of nine) in the four games without them. For the season it is at 44.4%.

• The Predators have spent only 37 minutes this season playing with the lead, lowest total in the NHL. Despite that, they have won four of their first eight games.

The Penguins have only spent 50 minutes this season playing with the lead, second lowest total in the NHL (ahead of only Nashville). They have spent 276 minutes trailing, the second highest total in the league (behind only Ottawa). Despite that, they are still 5-3-1 in their first nine games.

The Ducks have spent more than 200 minutes this season with the lead, and only 179 minutes trailing. Despite that, they have won just three of their first 10 games.

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.

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    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.