Since hockey has returned from the extended Christmas break, there have been some great games and a ton of stats and milestones to wrap up 2021. We take a look at some players who have gone above and beyond this past year and others who are just starting out. Everything you need to know about the most recent player and team stats and milestones is here on the NHL Stat Corner every few days.
Alex Ovechkin at the Top
In an incredible year for the “Great 8”, Alex Ovechkin has moved into the top-3 in three different scoring milestones. For records that have been untouched for a long time, he has scored his way into the conversation for all of them, not to mention his hunt to become the highest goal-scorer in NHL history.
Ovechkin became the all-time leader in power-play goals with 275, passing Dave Andreychuk. Ovechkin also moved into a tie for third for the most multi-goal games in NHL history with 154. He tied Mario Lemieux and only trails Wayne Gretzky (189) and Brett Hull (158). On top of that, Ovechkin has recorded the third-most game-winning goals in NHL history (119). Only Jaromir Jagr (135) and Gordie Howe (121) are ahead of him.
Washington Capitals’ head coach Peter Laviolette recorded his 692nd career win, taking sole possession of 10th in NHL history. Since taking over behind the bench, Laviolette has done well with the help of this ageless Washington team. Dmitry Orlov also played his 600th career game.
Connor McDavid Had Himself an Incredible 2021
Connor McDavid has put up the most points in a calendar year (161), regular season, and playoffs, since Jagr in 1999 (164). McDavid recorded 51 regular-season multi-point games in 2021, seventh-most in NHL history for a single calendar year. Only Gretzky had more, holding the top six spots. To even come close to matching a Gretzky record with how much better the goaltenders are now is impressive, and that’s exactly what McDavid has done, especially this past year.
Leon Draisaitl is the first Edmonton Oilers player to score 24 goals in the team’s first 30 games since Gretzky in 1987-88. Draisaitl was also the first player to reach 50 points on the season, joined soon after in the same game by McDavid.
It was the fourth time in NHL history that the first three goals of a game were scored by three different first overall picks, done by Jack Hughes, McDavid, and Nico Hischier. It also happened in 2021 (Taylor Hall, John Tavares, and Auston Matthews), 2002 (Eric Lindros, Bryan Berard, and Joe Thornton), and 1991 (Mike Modano, Bobby Smith, and Mario Lemieux).
Panthers May Have Assembled Their Best Team in Franchise History
Only nine teams in NHL history have needed fewer games than the Florida Panthers to win 15 games at home to start a season (18 GP). The Panthers have also come back six times in the third period to win, the most in the NHL. They scored the second-most goals in a game in franchise history (9), only scoring more (10) in 1997 vs the Boston Bruins (“2021 was a pivotal year for the Florida Panthers franchise. Here are five ways how”, Miami Herald, Dec. 31, 2021).
Jonathan Huberdeau recorded the fourth five-point game of his career. He has the third-most five-point games since 2012-13, trailing only McDavid (7) and Brad Marchand (5). Huberdeau has recorded three of the last four five-point games in the NHL. The way he puts up points, he is considered heavily underrated. Anthony Duclair also scored his 100th career goal. He has finally found a home in Florida and is playing the best hockey of his career there.
Sebastian Aho Leads Hurricanes to Stellar 2021
Sebastian Aho is the third player in franchise history with multiple points in at least six consecutive games. He joins Mike Rogers (6 GP in 1980) and Kevin Dineen (6 GP in 1989). In a smaller market, there aren’t as many eyes on Aho, but he deserves any attention he gets with his nightly performances leading this Hurricanes team.
The Carolina Hurricanes’ .724 win percentage in 2021 is the highest by a team with at least 40 games played since 2013. They went 58-19-9 in 86 regular-season games. The team has the most wins this season so far and were two points back of the most points last season with 80 in 56 games.
Claude Giroux Climbs the Flyers Ranks
Claude Giroux passed Bill Barber for second-most points in Philadelphia Flyers franchise history with 884. Giroux also recorded his 600th career assist. He is the 10th active player to reach that milestone. He has been the best player for the Flyers this season and continues to score, despite getting older. The question remains, is he going to re-sign in Philadelphia and climb even higher or will he be stopped just short?
Player & Team Stats & Milestones From Around the NHL
- Bruce Boudreau is the third head coach in NHL history to start his tenure with a new team 7-0-0, joining Jacques Lemaire and Geoff Ward. Since he has taken over coaching, the team has 22 goals for, 11 against, a 27.8 power-play percentage, 87.5 penalty-kill percentage, and a .949 save percentage.
- The Vegas Golden Knights are a perfect 4-0-0 on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
- Patrick Maroon is one of four active players to have won three Stanley Cups before playing in his 600th NHL game. The others are Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane. Maroon played his 600th career game.
- Auston Matthews has scored the most regular-season goals in a calendar year (61) since Ovechkin scored 62 in 2013.
- Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano is the 36th player selected in an expansion draft to score in his first game against his former team.
- Artemi Panarin recorded the seventh-most points in New York Rangers history in a calendar year with 94. He is the most recent player for the Rangers to record more than 90 points in a calendar year since Jagr in 2006 (114).
- Tomas Hertl is the first San Jose Sharks player to record a eight-game point streak since 2018-19 when Logan Couture (9 GP), Brent Burns (9 GP), Timo Meier (9 GP), and Erik Karlsson (8 GP) all did so. It is the highest point streak of his career.
- Buffalo Sabres’ Ethan Prow scored in his NHL debut.
- Tampa Bay Lightning’s Riley Nash played his 600th career game.
- Jamie Oleksiak played his 400th career game.
A couple of stars in Matthews and Panarin had huge years for their teams and are big reasons they are at the top of the standings as we switch over to 2022. Giordano had an eventful first game back against his former team, and a couple more players continued rolling in their careers. Stay up to date with the latest stats and milestones every few days on the NHL Stat Corner.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with NHL Stats News and trade talks.
You can find more of his work here.