It’s too soon to glean any lasting insights on how the 2020-21 NHL season will ultimately unfold, but, well, we just couldn’t wait to dig into the stats and see what turned up.
Here are 10 highlights from the early days of the schedule:
Montreal vs. Vegas: The NHL’s most winningest franchise and the league’s newest team have gotten off to the best starts in this abbreviated season, with the Canadiens undefeated in regulation time through six games (4-0-2) and the Golden Knights emerging victorious in five of six starts (5-1-0). Like Montreal, Washington hasn’t lost in regulation time yet, but the Capitals are 0-for-3 after 60 minutes for a 3-0-3 record overall.
Bo knows hockey: Vancouver captain Bo Horvat raised his game with 10 goals in 17 playoff outings last season, and he’s kept it going with five goals in eight games this season. He’s tied for the NHL goal lead with Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny, Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen and Montreal’s Tyler Toffoli.
No goal: He’s tied for 13th in NHL scoring, so you can’t be too hard on Jack Eichel. The Sabres captain has seven assists in six games – which is good for second place behind Anze Kopitar’s league-high nine assists – but he’s still looking for his first goal of the season. Eichel has taken the most shots in the league (23) without scoring. It doesn’t help that Buffalo has three other players – Rasmus Dahlin (19 shots), Jeff Skinner (18 shots) and Brandon Montour (15 shots) – who also rank among the unenviable leaders in the NHL’s most-shots-with-zero-goals category.
Petry for Norris: Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry is tied with Vancouver sophomore Quinn Hughes for the NHL blueline scoring lead with seven points. Petry also leads the league with a plus-9 rating through six games. He’s got a shot at holding on to the plus/minus lead this season, but the ‘D’ scoring lead? That would be quite the shocker.
Rookie race: Minnesota’s long-awaited freshman Kirill Kaprizov opened his NHL career with a three-point game and has six points through six contests, which is tied for the rookie scoring lead with New Jersey’s Ty Smith. The Devils’ 20-year-old defenseman has kicked off his NHL career with an impressive six-game point streak…and counting. (At the other end, Alexis Lafreniere, the Rangers’ No. 1 draft pick, is still looking for his first NHL point after five games.)
Save Koskinen: Edmonton goalie Mikko Koskinen has seen the most action in the crease, starting all seven of the Oilers’ games thus far and facing 237 shots in the process (33.9 shots against per game). That’s 77 more shots than the next-busiest goalie, Anaheim’s John Gibson (160 shots against in five games, 32.0 per game).
Power Stars: It’s an extremely small sample size – two games, to be exact – but Dallas has been deadly on the power play. The Stars are an astounding 8-for-12 on the man advantage (66.7 percent), led by Joe Pavelski’s three PP goals. He had six power-play goals in 67 games last season.
Not mighty Ducks: Anaheim is the only NHL team that has yet to score on the power play – the Ducks are 0-for-15. It’s also been a slow start in St. Louis (1-for-18) without Alex Pietrangelo and injured Vladimir Tarasenko, while Columbus (1-for-13) is surely looking forward to adding Patrik Laine’s one-timer.
The PK Blues: St. Louis is missing Pietrangelo on the penalty kill, too, as the Blues are the first team to surrender 10 goals on the PK (on 30 chances). Nashville has given up nine PK goals on 20 chances.
Oil shortage: Edmonton is 3-for-26 on the PP, which is underwhelming for a team with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. To make matters worse, the Oilers have already surrendered two shorthanded goals, meaning they’re merely plus-1 on 26 power-play chances.