DENVER — Welcome back to the playoffs , New York Islanders. Same goes for you, St. Louis, Dallas, Carolina and Calgary.
All five teams are returning to the post-season after at least one season off (or nine, for the Hurricanes). It’s a familiar number: In 12 of the last 14 seasons, the playoff lineup has included at least five teams that hadn’t been there one year earlier.
Same numbers apply as always: Four series wins to hoist the Stanley Cup and 16 victories in total. It’s a clean slate, too. Just ask Flames coach Bill Peters, whose team amassed 107 points and whose top scorer, Johnny Gaudreau, accumulated 99 points.
“I looked at the numbers today — Johnny has zero points and we have zero wins,” Peters cracked. “We’re all winless. We’re all tied.”
Remember, no lead is safe. There were an NHL-best 138 multi-goal comeback victories during the regular season.
NHL Numbers Tell a Story
A by-the-numbers glance — with a huge assist to NHL research — heading into a post-season where the Washington Capitals will try to defend their title under a new coach (Todd Reirden) with their old one (Barry Trotz) back in the running with the Islanders:
7,664 — Goals scored in the regular season, the most in league history.
365 — Shots by Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, who led the league.
325 — Goals scored by Tampa Bay , the most by a team in 23 years.
246 — Shots by Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov, who led the league in points with 128.
97 — Amount of hat tricks this season. It’s tied for 11th-most in NHL history.
62 — Wins by the Lightning, tying the ’95-96 Red Wings for most in a season.
49 — Per cent of games decided in regulation by a one-goal margin or two with an empty-netter.
35-4-1 — Record when the Nashville Predators scored the first goal of the game this season.
33 — Age of Alex Ovechkin, who became the first player in 44 years to lead the NHL in goals at age 33 or older. The last one to do so was Phil Esposito, who had 61 at 33 in 1974-75.
22-14 — Margin Vegas outscored San Jose in a second-round matchup last season before the Golden Knights advanced.
18-10 — Margin Vegas outscored first-round opponent San Jose in the regular season.
21 — Times out of 27 seasons the Sharks have reached the post-season since coming into the league in ’91-92.
16 — Game-winning playoff goals for 39-year-old Toronto forward Patrick Marleau.
12 — Years since the league had six players reach 100 points. The list includes three players in the post-season: Kucherov, Brad Marchand of Boston and Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl of Edmonton, and Patrick Kane of Chicago were the other three.
10 — Times a team has captured the top seed in the conference after missing the playoffs the prior season. Calgary accomplished that, going from 84 points in ’17-18 to 107 this season.
7ish — Seasons that Columbus coach John Tortorella coached the Lightning, the first-round opponent of the Blue Jackets. He helped Tampa Bay to a Stanley Cup title in ’03-04.
6-foot-7 — Height of Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop, who had a 1.98 goals-against average.
5 — Number of times the Islanders-Penguins have met in the playoffs. The other years were ’75, ’82, ’93 and ’13.
3 — Number of playoff teams that were at one point near the bottom of the standings after 15 games. The list includes the St. Louis (31st place on Jan. 2), Vegas (30th on Nov. 17) and Pittsburgh (29th on Nov. 20).
2 — Number of times the Golden Knights have been in the post-season since coming into the league for the ’17-18 season.
2 — Number of times Carolina has been in the post-season since hoisting the Stanley Cup in ’05-06.
1 — Big screen set up outside the arena for Penguins fans to watch the Crosby & Co. at home games.
Countless — Number of epic calls by longtime Canadian broadcaster Bob Cole, who called his last game for “Hockey Night in Canada” to cap a 50-year run behind the microphone.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press