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Lexus

AROUND THE NHL

Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 11:12 AM / News
By Brian Duff  - Sabres TV Host
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AROUND THE NHL
It’s impossible to say we’re at the midway point of round one, when for some teams the season could be over by the time you read this. But with that loose idea in mind, a look at some of the interesting numbers and trends so far.

* The road teams are riding a six-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s action, and are 17-8 through the opening week. That includes a 9-4 mark for teams in the West, and 8-4 for visitors in the East.

* The Philadelphia Flyers were the best road team in the regular season and are 2-0 so far away from Wells Fargo Center.

* The Detroit Red Wings were the best home team from October to April, but are 0-2 at Joe Louis Arena and may have played their last game there this season.

* The top five home teams (Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Vancouver) in the regular season are a combined 1-8 so far in front of their rabid fans.

* Through the first 25 games, teams are 16-9 when scoring first.

* Seventeen of the 25 games have been one-goal games, with two more being sealed by empty-netters.

* The Flyers are 15th in goals against average right now at an even 4.00, but are on the verge of sweeping the Penguins.

* Of the top five teams in shots per game, four of them (Chicago, Vancouver, Detroit and Ottawa) trail their respective series. In the Wings/Predators series, the team being outshot has won every game.

* The Devils, the NHL’s number one penalty killers in the regular season, are getting blown up by the Panthers whose power play ranked seventh. Florida is six-for-10 in the series.

* The Penguins, number three on the PK at seasons’ end, are also being lit up by the Flyers power play (sixth in regular season). Like the Panthers, Philly is at 60 percent (six-for-10).

* Teams that have blown leads of two goals or more are 0-3. (Penguins twice, Devils once)

* Eight games have been decided in overtime. Last year, 14 first-round games went beyond regulation time, leading to 22 overtime games before the Cup was presented.

* Of the eight overtime heroes so far, six had never scored a playoff game winner (regulation or overtime) before. For Jakub Voracek and Mikkel Boedker, their overtime goals were also their first-ever playoff goals. Only Nicklas Backstrom and Martin Havlat had been sudden death stars before.

* In fact, Havlat, for a player who has never been to a Stanley Cup final, has proven to be one of the more clutch players of the past decade. He has seven playoff game-winning goals in just 70 playoff games. The all-time leaders in this category are Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull, each with 24. And both of them played in over 200 playoff games. The math would suggest Havlat is almost on their pace, he just needs to play beyond May at least a few times.

Wednesday night could officially, and prematurely, put an end to many of my playoff predictions -- most notably a Penguins/Predators final. I’m four up and four down right now, with the Pens, Devils, Canucks and Hawks weighing me down.

On the bright side, I am thoroughly enjoying monitoring the predictions of our oldest daughter, 7-year-old Isabelle. She is also 4 up and 4 down at this point (Leading with the Rangers, Flyers, Panthers and Kings, while trailing because of the Capitals, Sharks, Hawks, and Red Wings). But her pick of Philadelphia over Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup Final has me thinking I may be in need of a ghost writer come this time next season.





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