Posts Tagged ‘NHL Records’

Has any player had a quieter 80 points this season than Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen?

The 21-year-old picked up his 27th goal on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings, becoming the fourth Finnish player in NHL history to record 80 points in a season, according to Hockey Reference.

Rantanen joins the elite company of Jari Kurri, Teemu Selanne, and Olli Jokinen. Tomas Sandstrom is also listed among the players on Hockey Reference since he was born in Finland, but given that he grew up in and represented Sweden internationally, he does not count.

It’s been quite a season for Finnish hockey, as last week, Golden Knights forward Erik Haula became the seventh Finn to record 50 points this season, which surpassed the country’s previous best of six.

Nathan MacKinnon gets all the attention in Colorado – and deservedly so – but it’s time to start recognizing Rantanen as one of the game’s bright young stars.

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Jon Merrill’s first goal of the season snapped a third-period tie, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 shots against his former team and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Thursday night.

It was the first meeting between the defending Stanley Cup champions and Vegas, which acquired Fleury from Pittsburgh during the NHL expansion draft on June 21.

Fleury was taken by Pittsburgh with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft.

James Neal scored his 15th goal of the season for Vegas, while Ian Cole scored Pittsburgh’s goal.

The matchup between the Penguins and Fleury was arguably the most anticipated game against a former Penguin since Jaromir Jagr played against Pittsburgh on Dec. 11, 2001, for the first time after his trade to Washington.

After missing six straight games due to a lower-body injury, the Penguins activated goalie Matt Murray off injured reserve in time to face his mentor, Fleury.

Murray, who stopped 24 shots, had his personal regulation losing streak extend to four games, the longest of his career.

The Golden Knights became the fastest first-year team to 20 wins in NHL history.

Vegas wasted no time in giving Fleury an early lead, when Neal’s rebound off Colin Miller’s wrist shot found its way past Murray.

The Penguins tied it when Carl Hagelin found Cole, who beat Fleury top shelf from just behind the goal line for his second goal of the season.

Merrill’s one-timer put the Knights ahead with 11 minutes left in the game, slapping Erik Haula’s pass beneath Murray’s pad.

 

Roberto Luongo‘s longevity continues to help him etch his name in the record books.

The Florida Panthers goaltender hit another milestone Monday, earning his 200th win with the organization in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils, and becoming only the second netminder in NHL history to notch that many victories with two different teams.

It took Luongo 507 games to win 200 with the Panthers, which works out to a win percentage of only .394. He won 258 in 448 contests with the Vancouver Canucks.

The 38-year-old now has 459 career victories in 979 career games, for a .469 win percentage. He moved into sole possession of fourth place on the NHL’s all-time wins list earlier this month, passing Curtis Joseph, who required only 953 games to win 454.

They weren’t built like any previous expansion team, but their solid start is still impressive.

The Vegas Golden Knights rallied from a two-goal deficit to stun the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on Wednesday night, matching the NHL record with 13 wins in the first 20 games of their inaugural season.

Only the Montreal Canadiens won as many through the first 20 contests of their opening campaign in 1917-18, going 13-7-0. The Golden Knights have gone 13-6-1.

Vegas moved into first place in the Pacific Division with 27 points, leapfrogging the slumping Los Angeles Kings, who fell to the Winnipeg Jets.

It’s early, but that point total certainly bodes well.

The Golden Knights have had the fifth-easiest schedule among the NHL’s 31 teams early on, according to Hockey Reference’s strength of schedule metric, and the Pacific is the least competitive of the four groups in the standings.

Still, they’ve pulled this off despite losing multiple goaltenders to injury, and that’s made them one of the NHL’s best stories so far.

The dreary, hapless, flat-out miserable Arizona Coyotes 2017-18 season has earned a dubious place in the history books, as the basement-dwelling Desert Dogs became the first team in the NHL’s 100-year history to be held without a regulation win through their first 20 games, per Sportsnet Stats.

Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets dropped the Coyotes to 2-15-3, putting the club on pace for 28 points, which is shockingly terrible, considering last season’s 30th-place Colorado Avalanche managed to earn 48 in a year when absolutely everything went wrong.

Entering Tuesday, Arizona ranked 25th in goals for (44), 31st in goals against (74), and 30th in save percentage at 5-on-5 (.903). The poor results are particularly disappointing considering the Coyotes were labeled as a team ready to improve this season under the guidance of new head coach Rick Tocchet.

The good news, at least, is Rasmus Dahlin, the consensus No. 1 pick in next June’s draft, could make this season’s struggles worth it in the end.

1992-93

When Ulf Samuelsson watched the Columbus Blue Jackets pick up their 14th win in a row in Winnipeg last week, he could see the confidence oozing off their bench and out of their locker room.

It felt familiar.

”There’s certainly something that was going on in our locker room then,” Samuelsson said. ”You’ve got to have the bounces for sure, but if you’re winning that many games (you’re) not letting your guard down.”

Samuelsson and the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins won 17 consecutive games, an NHL record Columbus can tie Thursday during a visit to the Washington Capitals. One more win would put the 2016-17 Blue Jackets in the record book alongside the star-studded ’92-93 Penguins, but the streaks aren’t close to identical – and the argument can be made that this one is already more impressive.

”I think it’s a bigger feat now to do it than it was back in the `90s just because of the parity in the league and there was no salary cap back then,” former Penguins winger Shawn McEachern said. ”It was just a different era. I think this is a tougher task that they’re approaching right now.”

Scotty Bowman, the Hall of Fame coach who was behind the bench for Pittsburgh during its streak, said it’s ”unbelievable” what the Blue Jackets have been able to do with so many other good teams around the league, especially after losing four of their first six games. They’re 25-2-3 since.

Mario Lemieux had 27 goals and 51 points assists during the Penguins’ streak, while Blue Jackets’ leading scorer Cam Atkinson has 38 points for the entire season. The Penguins averaged 5.6 goals per game and had four future Hall of Famers in Lemieux, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy, and Jaromir Jagr, who is still playing.

Pittsburgh got out-of-this-world-at-the-time goaltending from Tom Barrasso, who had a 2.35 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. Columbus is averaging four goals a game and relying even more on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who has a 1.64 GAA and .941 save percentage and could win another Vezina Trophy.

It’s also a 30-team league now versus 24 back then, so talent is spread out and few teams could hope to stockpile stars like the Penguins did. And the sport has evolved significantly.

”The difference in number of goals scored – the live puck era or whatever you call it, small goalies, bad goalies – it’s different,” former Penguins winger Troy Loney said. ”The goal-scoring is so much different now, much tighter games now consistently than I think back then.”

McEachern doesn’t think the ’92-93 Penguins could even fit under today’s $73 million salary cap. They were also coming off back-to-back Stanley Cups, while the Blue Jackets missed the playoffs the past two seasons and are enjoying a return to relevance under coach John Tortorella.

Those Penguins and these Blue Jackets share demanding coaches and stellar goalies but little else in common. It’s also worth remembering that Pittsburgh’s streak ended with a 6-6 tie at New Jersey. Two of Columbus’ 16 wins are by shootout, which were added in 2005-06 and rid the league of tie games.

”We would’ve probably done pretty good in a shootout with the guys we had,” Loney said.

Many of the emotions are the same. Former winger Joe Mullen said the Penguins tried not to think about the streak just as much as the Blue Jackets are trying to avoid it now.

”You just keep playing and your confidence kind of builds,” said Jagr, who’s still playing as a member of the Florida Panthers. ”You have a lot more fun. You just enjoy it. Confidence is a big part of that streak.”

Timing is also everything, and several players who have gone on double-digit winning streaks said the end can bring a lull and some unexpected losses. The Penguins’ March-April streak came almost right before the playoffs, and even though Bowman and players believe that team was better than the previous Cup winners, they lost in the second round.

Loney wonders if winning 17 in a row took a toll on the Penguins.

”A loss in there might not have been a bad idea at some point,” he said. ”It takes a lot emotionally, physically and mentally to ride a streak like that.”

Samuelsson said the Penguins tried hard to just focus on the next opponent.

”When you’re on it, you get reminded by the coaching staff and everyone around that it’s not really important, the win streak, you’ve just got to play the game the right way and take one game at a time,” he said. ”But it was a lot of fun.”

Colorado Avalanche v Florida Panthers

Jaromir Jagr should save some of the limelight for Roberto Luongo.

On the same night Jagr tied Mark Messier for second on the NHL’s all-time scoring list, the Florida Panthers netminder collected win No. 447, tying Terry Sawchuk for the fifth-most wins in NHL history.

Luongo accomplished the feat after the Panthers withstood a late Buffalo Sabres surge, en route to a 4-3 shootout win.

The 37-year-old matched Sawchuk’s mark in 22 fewer games.

Luongo is likely to move even further up the all-time wins list, as seven more victories will match Curtis Joseph’s career total of 454.