STATS ‘N STUFF by Stan Nieradka (Twitter: @smn013)

  • When Jake McCabe scored against Colorado on December 5th, it marked the first goal scored by a Buffalo defenceman in 2017-18. All told, there have been 163 d-men that have tallied at least once this season. The irony is that the Sabres coach is Phil Housley who scored 338 goals, fourth most among defencemen in NHL history.
  • This season has four coaches who played more than 1,000 games in their playing career. Phil Housley of Buffalo leads with 1495 followed by the Islanders’ Doug Weight (1238), Arizona’s Rick Tocchet (1144) and Anaheim’s Randy Carlyle. (1055). The Canucks’ Travis Green just missed playing 970 games in the league.
  • There are 37 goalies that have started at least ten games this season. Among those, the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss has the worst goals against of 3.78. Yet he sports a very respectable 8-3-2. That is due to the unbelievable goal support that he’s received. The Islanders are averaging 4.02 goals each time that he starts and that is the most goal support any netminder has gotten since 1996.
  • Thus far, there have been 30 hat tricks in the NHL and the record of the teams that have had one is 29-1-0. The lone person who had his three goals in defeat was the Sharks’ Logan Couture (pictured) who notched all three San Jose goals in their 5-3 loss on the Island on October 21st.
  • Aside from the league wide retired # 99, there have only been three numbers not worn by any player this season. Those three are 69, 80 and 84. The number that has been used the most is # 25 which 20 players have worn in 2017-18.
  • Last season, Alexander Ovechkin scored 33 goals and that was considered a major off-year. He’s reversed that trend in a big way as he leads the league with 21 goals and is on a pace for 57. He’s scored 21 times and is now 21 shy of reaching 600. At 32 years old, if he can play until he is 40 and averages 39 goals a year, he will do the unthinkable and tie Wayne Gretzky at 894 goals. Ovie has played 19,974 minutes in his career and taken 4,687 shots which means he gets a shot every 4:17 that he is on the ice. He’s fifth all-time in hits with 2539 but wisely is reducing that number as he is on pace for just 145 hits after averaging 226 in the last four years Ovie has accounted for 22.1 % of the Caps goals this season, the highest reliance on anyone in the NHL.
  • UPDATE: On its daily stats release, the NHL still does acknowledge that Alex Ovechkin has three hat tricks this season, as they still don’t list his four goal game which he had back on October 7th under their three goals or more scored section. Good job. Good effort.
    (Note that all current stats and numbers are up to games played on December 11th)

Stan Nieradka is a sports fan and statistician for Hockey Night In Canada, and contributor of Stats ‘N Stuff for