Stunning numbers: Avalanche dominance, Campbell’s start, and more

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 lately…

The Avalanche are dominating

The Colorado Avalanche are starting to play like the dominant force we expected them to be at the start of the season.

Over their past 20 games they have compiled a league-best 15-2-3 record (by far the best mark in the league during that stretch) and are playing at a level that no other team in the league has matched.

Since that stretch began on February 25, the Avalanche own the league’s best shot attempt differential, best shots on goal differential, and best goal differential.

The numbers since February 25:

  • Shot attempts: 1,365 for and 892 against (60.4 percent)
  • Shots on goal: 766 for and 481 against (61.4 percent)
  • Goals differential: 84 for and 43 against (66.1 percent)

Not only are all of those numbers the best in the league, they are the only team with a better than 57 percent share in any of those categories.

If you are one of the people that think that statistical dominance has something to do with how shots are counted in Colorado, it should also be pointed out their numbers on the road during that stretch are also the best in the league and nearly identical to what they do at home.

Bottom line: The Avalanche are one heck of a hockey team.

Goalie madness!

Let’s check in with some stunning goalie numbers, shall we?

• In Toronto, Jack Campbell has taken over the the Maple Leafs’ net and owns an 8-0-0 record. He has a .951 save percentage in those games, allowing only 11 goals in his appearances. It is by far the best stretch of his career and it is a nice reminder that as long as the Maple Leafs get decent goaltending they should be a contender.

• In Detroit, the Red Wings actually have a winning record (8-6-0) with Jonathan Bernier in net. They are 4-15-5 in the games he does not play. Go back to the start of the 2019-20 season and they are only 6-37-7 in the games he does not play. Truly stunning.

• There is a similar situation playing in Buffalo where the Sabres 6-5-3 this season with Linus Ullmark in goal, but only 1-18-3 without him. Since the start of the 2019-20 season they are 14-35-9 without Ullmark in goal.

• Then there is also this…

• Entering play on Saturday Philadelphia Flyers goalies have an .829 save percentage since March 1, by far the worst mark in the league. The next lowest mark is Anaheim at .877. The gap between the Flyers and the next lowest team (Anaheim) is the same as the gap between Anaheim and the team with the fifth best save percentage during that stretch (Minnesota at .925).

More stunning numbers around the NHL

• When the Boston Bruins’ top line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand is not on the ice during 5-on-5 play the team averages just 1.55 goals per 60 minutes. They have been outscored by 11 goals in those minutes without them.

• In Chicago, the Blackhawks have outscored teams by a 26-18 margin when Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat are on the ice during 5-on-5 play. When neither is on the ice the Blackhawks get outscored by 22 goals (26-48).

Connor McDavid is a little off the 100-point pace, but his 64 points in 38 games still put him on track for 94 points in a 56-game season. That point per game pace would be a 138-point pace over an 82-game season.

• After scoring nine goals and four assists in 52 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning a year ago (averaging nine minutes per game), Carter Verhaeghe already has 17 goals and 15 assists in 37 games for the Florida Panthers this season while playing 17 minutes per game. The Panthers signed him for a $1 million salary cap number. Simply one of the best signings of the offseason.

• The Minnesota Wild have climbed the West Division standings and look to be headed for the playoffs despite scoring on only 10 percent of their power plays, the worst mark in the league.

• The Nashville Predators are playing their way back into playoff contention in the Central Division despite having a penalty kill percentage of only 72 percent. That is the worst mark in the league.

(Data in this post via Natural Stat Trick)

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

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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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.