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Monday, January 23, 2023

#NHLPeachy @NHL Halfway Mark: 2022-23 Season Our Coverage Sponsored by Cosmopolitan Dental, Official Dentist of Whom You Know @GaroNazarianDDS #cosmopolitandental #loveyoursmile

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* The highest-scoring NHL season in 27 years will surpass the halfway mark Wednesday, with the 6.4 goals-per-game rate last seen at this stage of a season in 1995-96 (also 6.4 G/GP).

* Should the 6.4 goals-per-game rate hold through Wednesday’s first three contests, it will mark the second straight season to witness a scoring jump from the quarter mark (6.3) to the halfway point (in 2021-22, the goals-per-game rate moved from 5.9 to 6.1 over that span). That would mark the third time since the start of the 1980s that such an increase has occurred in consecutive campaigns (it happened from 1990-91 to 1991-92 and from 1999-00 to 2001-02).

* Along with a jump in high-scoring games, the first half of the 2022-23 campaign has seen 44% of all contests finish as comeback wins – the second-highest rate ever through 653 games played (behind 45% in 2005-06 and 2018-19). Teams erasing a multi-goal deficit to win account for 12% of all contests in 2022-23 (81 of 653), a top-four rate at this stage of a season.

* While the back-and-forth nature of games doesn’t always yield a comeback win, a total of 751 tying goals so far this season have added to the on-ice excitement regardless of result. To date, 68% of games in 2022-23 (446 of 653 GP) have featured at least one tying goal – the second-highest rate at this stage since the start of the 1990s (behind 70% in 2005-06; 457 of 653 GP).

* Scoring at a 150-point pace, Connor McDavid leads a group of a dozen players on pace to score 100+ points in 2022-23 – which would represent the highest NHL total in 27 years.

* The Bruins are on pace to set NHL records for wins, points and points percentage in 2022-23. In the past 45 years, an NHL record for one of those three categories has been tied or set only twice, with only the 1995-96 Red Wings (set wins record) and 2018-19 Lightning (tied wins record) achieving the feat in that span. A comparison with other leagues over that span is included below.


McDavid Leads Highest-Scoring Season in Nearly 30 Years
809 – Number of career goals scored by Alex Ovechkin, the second-most in NHL history and 86 away from surpassing Wayne Gretzky (894) for the all-time record.

150 – The number of points Connor McDavid (34-43—77 in 42 GP) is on pace for in 2022-23, which would make him the highest-scoring player since Mario Lemieux finished with 161 points in 1995-96 – about nine months before McDavid was born. McDavid can become the sixth different player in League history to record 150+ points in a season.

46 – Hat tricks scored so far in 2022-23, the third consecutive season (also 47 in 2021-22 & 45 in 2020-21) with at least 45 through this stage of a season (653 GP). The 2021-22 (47), 2018-19 (48), 2010-11 (47), 2000-01 (50) and 1995-96 (51) campaigns are the only others in the past 27 years with more three-goal performances through the first half of a season.

30 – Number of years since the same two teammates each had 100+ points in consecutive years, with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each on pace for 120+ points after notching 123 and 110, respectively, in 2021-22. Mario Lemieux (131 in 1991-92 & 160 in 1992-93) and Kevin Stevens (123 in 1991-92 & 111 in 1992-93) last achieved the feat with the Penguins.

30 – Goal benchmark already reached by Connor McDavid (34), David Pastrnak (32) and Tage Thompson (31), the highest number of 30-goal scorers through 653 games in a season since 2007-08 (3: Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla & Alex Ovechkin).

23 – Twenty-goal scorers at the halfway point of the 2022-23 season, the highest total through 653 games since 1995-96 (25).

15 – Lead over second place for Connor McDavid in the Art Ross Trophy race, the largest gap at the halfway mark of a season in 20 years. In 2002-03, Mario Lemieux (20-48—68 in 40 GP) had a 15-point advantage over second-place Markus Naslund (28-25—53 in 40 GP) entering games of Jan. 8, 2003, when the League eclipsed the midway point.

12 – Number of players on pace to reach the 100-point mark in 2022-23. Only two seasons in the last 30 years have finished with 12+ players with 100 points or more: 1995-96 (12) and 1992-93 (21).

7 – Number of defensemen on pace to record 70 or more points this season, which would be the highest total since 1993-94, when eight did so. That list is topped by San Jose’s Erik Karlsson (13-42—55 in 42 GP), who is climbing towards the 15th 100-point season by a defenseman in NHL history and first since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

5 – Players within five goals of League-leader Connor McDavid (34) in the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race: David Pastrnak (32), Tage Thompson (31), Jason Robertson (29), Bo Horvat (29) and Alex Ovechkin (29). Of that group, only Ovechkin and Pastrnak have won the award previously.

3 – Number of players who are on pace to reach the 60-goal mark (Connor McDavid, David Pastrnak & Tage Thompson) just one season after Auston Matthews became the first player in a decade to reach the benchmark in 2021-22. It has been 30 years since three or more players scored 60+ goals in one season, when five did so in 1992-93 (Teemu Selanne, Alexander Mogilny, Mario Lemieux, Luc Robitaille & Pavel Bure).

3 – Number of major single-season goal plateau records within reach for 37-year-old Alex Ovechkin entering the second half of 2022-23. After hitting the 800-goal mark and overtaking Gordie Howe for second place in NHL history during the first half, Ovechkin now sits one goal shy of tying Mike Gartner (17) for the most career 30-goal seasons in League history and also is on pace to set new NHL benchmarks for career 40-goal seasons and career 50-goal campaigns.


Bruins Have History Within Reach Entering Second Half of Season
The Bruins (32-4-4, 68 points in 40 GP) have left the rink – or field – without a point only four times in the first half of the season and are on pace to set single-season NHL records for wins and points.

139 – The number of points the NHL-leading Bruins are on pace to have in 2022-23, which would set a new single-season NHL record. The 1976-77 Canadiens (60-8-12, 132 points) hold the current benchmark and are one of two teams in League history with 130+ points in a season. Montreal held a 29-5-6 record (64 points) entering the League’s halfway mark in 1976-77 and posted a 31-3-6 mark over the second half to set the current record.

68 – Points so far by Boston in 2022-23, the second-most through 40 games played in a season in NHL history – behind only the 1929-30 Bruins (35-4-1, 71 points in 40 GP). Their 32 wins are tied with the 1944-45 Canadiens (32-5-3 in 40 GP) for the second most through 40 games, also behind the 1929-30 Bruins. The 1976-77 Canadiens referenced in the note above had 29 victories through their first 40 contests.

65 – The number of wins the Bruins are on pace for in 2022-23, which also would set a new NHL record. The current benchmark of 62 was set by the 1995-96 Red Wings (62-13-7, 131 points) and matched just four seasons ago by the 2018-19 Lightning (62-16-4, 128 points). Entering the League’s halfway mark of those campaigns, Detroit had 59 points (tied with the NYR for most in the League through Jan. 8, 1996) and Tampa Bay had 66 (which was a 12-point edge over the next closest teams through Jan. 3, 2019).

22 – The number of home games in which the Bruins have recorded a point this season (19-0-3) – accounting for all of their contests as hosts and including their victory at Fenway Park in the 2023 Discover NHL Winter Classic. That marks the longest season-opening stretch of games with a point as the home team in franchise history and is one of seven season-opening home point streaks of 22+ games in League history. The number 22 also stands as the overall League-leading win count for Linus Ullmark, tied for the most victories by a goaltender through 26 appearances in a season in NHL history (equaling a mark set by Boston’s own Tiny Thompson in 1929-30).

12 – Number of NHL (2), NFL (7), NBA (2) and MLB (1) teams in the past 45 years that have tied or set a single-season league record for wins. Only four of those clubs capped their season with a championship.

6 – Number of teams in League history that have finished a season with a points percentage of .800 or higher. The 1929-30 Bruins (.875) are the only club to finish above .830. Boston currently owns a .850 points percentage in 2022-23.

4 – Number of teams in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to sit atop their division standings for the entire first half of the season. The Bruins joined the 2008-09 Sharks (Pacific Division), 1984-85 Oilers (Smythe Division) and 1977-78 Canadiens (Norris Division) on that list. San Jose claimed the Presidents’ Trophy that year, while Edmonton and Montreal hoisted the Stanley Cup.

4 – Number of regulation losses for Boston so far in 2022-23, just the fourth time in NHL history a club has suffered fewer than five such defeats within their first 40 games of a season. The 1979-80 Flyers (27-3-10 in 40 GP), 1943-44 Canadiens (29-4-7 in 40 GP) and 1929-30 Bruins (35-4-1 in 40 GP) also did so, all en route to first-place finishes in the overall NHL standings (Montreal is the only one of those three clubs that won the Stanley Cup).


Teams Looking for Postseason Return
Four teams that currently occupy a playoff position failed to clinch a berth in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including Vegas (27-13-2, 56 points) and Seattle (24-12-4, 52 points) in the Pacific Division, Winnipeg (26-14-1, 53 points) in the Central Division and New Jersey (26-12-3, 55 points) in the Metropolitan Division.

24 – Improvement in standings points for the Kraken at the 40-game mark in 2022-23 (24-12-4, 52 points), a complete reversal of their total through the same number of games in 2021-22 (12-24-4, 28 points). Seattle sits four wins shy of surpassing its total during its inaugural season (27-49-6, 60 points).

12 – Number of teams in the Eastern Conference that either occupy a playoff spot or sit within seven points of one.

11 – Number of teams in the Western Conference that either occupy a playoff spot or sit within two points of one, with multiple teams in that group outside the bracket holding up to three games in hand on those inside the playoff picture.

6 – Points that separate the Sabres (20-17-2, 42 points) from the Penguins (21-13-6, 48 points), who occupy the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Buffalo has gone 13-6-2 (28 points) on the heels of an eight-game losing streak from Nov. 4-19 and eyes its first postseason berth since 2010-11.

2 – Number of teams who have finished first in their division in three or more of the franchise’s first six seasons in the NHL. Vegas, who sits first in the Pacific after previously winning a division in 2017-18 and 2019-20, can join the Bruins and Oilers as teams to accomplish the feat.

1 – Number of seasons in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) in which both the reigning Stanley Cup champion and reigning No. 1 seed from the regular season did not hold a playoff position at the League’s halfway mark. With Colorado (two points back in the West) and Florida (six points back in the East) sitting outside the playoff picture, the 2022-23 campaign will be the first time this occurs in that span. It is just the third time it has happened in the past 96 years – since 1926-27 when the NHL took sole control over Stanley Cup competition – with the other two instances in that span seeing one team hold both distinctions (the original Ottawa Senators in 1927-28 and the Red Wings in 1937-38).


More U.S. States Represented Than Ever Before
Players born in 35 states have played this season – tied with 2021-22 for the highest representation in League history – with many U.S.-born players represented among the League’s top scorers in 2022-23:

8 – Number of U.S.-born players who have hit 20 goals so far in 2022-23, including five who were born in a “Sun Belt” state: Tage Thompson (Phoenix, Ariz.), Jason Robertson (Arcadia, Calif.) and Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.), Matthew Tkachuk (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Auston Matthews (San Ramon, Calif.). The other three hail from Wisconsin, Michigan and New York.

3 – Number of U.S.-born players among the top 10 in goals, with Tage Thompson (31 goals, 3rd), Jason Robertson (29 goals, t-4th) and Jack Hughes (26 goals, 8th) making up that group. In 2021-22, four U.S.-born players finished among the top 10 in goals, the most ever.

1 – Number of countries that have multiple players within the top 10 in the NHL for points so far in 2022-23, with the United States having four representatives in Jason Robertson (5th), Tage Thompson (6th), Matthew Tkachuk (8th) and Kyle Connor (10th). The highest representation of U.S.-born players among the top 10 in points at season’s end is four, achieved in 2015-16 and 2021-22.

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