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Friday, March 3, 2023

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

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By the Numbers: Looking ahead to the final quarter of the 2022-23 NHL regular season.

* The 2022-23 campaign remains the highest-scoring season in 27 years (6.3 G/GP) as it enters its final quarter Friday, with the Hurricanes-Coyotes game marking the exact three-quarter mark (984 of 1,312 GP).

* Forty-three percent of games this season have been comeback wins, tied for the second-highest rate at this stage of a season behind 2005-06 (44%).

* Twenty-three teams either hold a playoff spot or sit within six points of one, including five clubs who currently hold a postseason position that did not qualify in 2022 (New Jersey, NY Islanders, Vegas, Seattle and Winnipeg). There has been a playoff turnover of 5+ teams in every season under the Wild Card format.

* Led by the Bruins, who are on pace to set NHL records for wins and points in a season, the Eastern Conference includes the top five teams in the League standings along with a group of seven clubs separated by a six-point margin currently battling for two Wild Card spots.

* Three of four divisions have a difference of three points or less between first and second place, including a tie atop the Pacific Division where four points divide the top four clubs. As a whole, the difference between first place and eighth place in the Western Conference is seven points.

* Connor McDavid has already reached both the 50-goal and 100-point benchmarks this season and enters Friday with a chance to become the first player in more than a century with multiple goals in six straight games. Overall, seven players are on pace for 50+ goals and 13 are tracking toward 100+ points (with McDavid the only one to already reach either benchmark).

League Trends
118 – Number of multi-goal comeback wins in 2022-23, the second most in NHL history at this stage of a season behind 1985-86 when there were 123 over the course of the entire campaign (only 840 GP).

48 – Number of multi-goal, third-period comeback wins in 2022-23, one shy of tying the NHL record for an entire season (49 in 2009-10).

Rush to the Playoffs
14 – Number of times over the past 15 applicable campaigns (since 2007-08) that the gap at the “playoff line” has been five points or less in both conferences at the three-quarter mark of the season (i.e., the difference in points between the lowest playoff seed and the first non-playoff team). The only exception was in 2021-22; this excludes the 2020-21 season when there were no conferences. That margin currently stands at four points in the Eastern Conference and five points in the Western Conference.

12 – Number of teams in the Eastern Conference that have held a playoff position since play resumed after the All-Star break.

7 – Number of teams in the Western Conference that have occupied a Wild Card position since play resumed after the All-Star break.

7 – Difference between first place and eighth place in the Western Conference. The smallest margin at the end of a season between first place and eighth place in a conference is 10, in the 2007-08 Eastern Conference when the top-ranked Canadiens had only 10 points more than the No. 8-ranked Bruins. The only other instance of that point differential being less than 14 was in the 2014-15 Western Conference (12 points between ANA and CGY).

6 – Number of points separating the Penguins, Islanders, Sabres, Senators, Panthers, Capitals and Red Wings – the two Wild Card clubs and next closest teams in the Eastern Conference standings. Three of those clubs are looking to break a stretch of at least five seasons since their last playoff berth (Buffalo: 2011; Detroit: 2016; Ottawa: 2017).

6 – Different First Round matchups the Stars have had since Feb. 1. In total, all eight current playoff teams in the Western Conference have had at least three different opening round matchups over that span.

Leading the Pack
73 – Consecutive days the Hurricanes have spent in first place in the Metropolitan Division (since claiming their 20th win of the season Dec. 20). New Jersey ranks second in the division, one point back of Carolina. They are the only clubs to occupy the No. 1 seed in the Metropolitan since late October (CAR: 75 days, NJD: 49 days since Oct. 30) and will meet once more this season: March 12 in New Jersey (CAR: 2-1-0 in 3 GP; NJD: 1-1-1 in 3 GP).

67 – Fewest games required by a team to clinch a playoff spot since 2005-06, with the 2009-10 Capitals setting that benchmark.

61 – Fewest games in NHL history needed by a club to reach 100 points in a season, a mark set last night by the Bruins. On pace for 64 wins and 135 points, which would be NHL records for each category, Boston next plays Saturday on ABC, ESPN+ and Sportsnet (1 p.m. ET vs. NYR).

58 – Largest YOY point improvement from one season to the next (min. 80 GP in first campaign) by any team in NHL history, achieved by the Sharks from 1992-93 (24 points in 84 GP) to 1993-94 (82 points in 84 GP). They are the only team in NHL history to make a 50+ point improvement in campaigns of equal length. New Jersey is on pace for a 53-point improvement vs. 2021-22 (63 points) while Seattle is trending toward a 39-point jump relative to last season (60 points); both would be among the top eight YOY changes in NHL history.

43 – Consecutive days as the No. 1 seed in the Central Division for the Stars, despite holding a lead of five points or less for that entire span. Their current advantage is three points over the second-place Wild.

5 – The top five clubs in the NHL hail from the Eastern Conference – the first season in NHL history in which this has occurred (after min. 50 GP for each club). Only two seasons have ended with at least the top three teams in the NHL being from the same conference: 1993-94 (3 from Eastern) and 1990-91 (4 from Clarence Campbell). Conferences became a permanent fixture in 1974-75 (except for the pandemic-impacted 2020-21 season).

3 – Number of teams in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to sit atop their division standings for the entire season. The Bruins, who have been No. 1 in the Atlantic every day so far in 2022-23, can join 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.

2 – Number of teams that have finished first in their division in three or more of the franchise’s first six seasons in the NHL. The Golden Knights, 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.

156 – Current on-pace point total for Art Ross Trophy frontrunner Connor McDavid, which would be the highest single-season total since 1995-96 when Mario Lemieux tallied 161 points in 70 games. Only five different players in NHL history have recorded 150+ points in a season: Wayne Gretzky (9x), Lemieux (4x), Bernie Nicholls, Steve Yzerman and Phil Esposito.

31 – Years since a defenseman recorded 100+ points in a season, with Erik Karlsson on track to become the sixth different blueliner in League history to hit the mark. Karlsson is also pacing toward becoming the seventh different blueliner with 75+ assists in a season and first since Sergei Zubov in 1993-94.

30 – Years since the NHL last saw a 70-goal scorer, with Alexander Mogilny and rookie Teemu Selanne sharing the League lead with 76 apiece in 1992-93. Connor McDavid is currently on pace for 69 goals in 2022-23, within range of becoming the ninth different NHL player to score 70+ goals in a season.

27 – Years since a player led the NHL in goals, assists and points at the end of a season (outright or tied), with Mario Lemieux the last to do so in 1995-96. Overall, only six different players have done so: Wayne Gretzky (5x), Lemieux (2x), Gordie Howe (2x), Phil Esposito, Howie Morenz and Newsy Lalonde. Connor McDavid currently tops the League in goals, assists and points.

21 – Number of players in NHL history to score 60+ goals in a season, with Connor McDavid sitting eight goals shy of the mark with 20 games remaining. The last time the NHL had consecutive campaigns with a 60-goal scorer was a 14-season stretch from 1980-81 through 1993-94.

19 – Number of players on pace for 40+ goals in 2022-23, including four who have already hit the mark. Nineteen would be the highest single-season total of 40+ goal scorers in 29 years (23 in 1993-94).

13 – Number of players on pace for 100+ points in 2022-23, more than double the number who were tracking toward triple digits at the same stage last season (6 entering final quarter of 2021-22). In the past 25 seasons (since 1996-97), only one campaign has featured at least eight 100-point players (8 in 2021-22).

7 – Number of players on pace for 50+ goals in 2022-23, including Connor McDavid (52) who recently became the fastest active skater to hit the mark (61 GP). In the past 25 seasons (since 1996-97), only one campaign has featured at least five 50-goal scorers (5 in 2005-06).

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