Strange But True Stats: NHL numbers for the curious fan

We had to dig a little deeper to find these 10 player stats and 10 team stats that are both unconventional and illuminating.
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With the end of the 2018-19 NHL regular season almost upon us, it’s time for another edition of offbeat stats and uncommon numbers. So if you’d like to know who’s been the league’s busiest goalie, or who’s lugging around the worst plus-minus, or the only team to score a 3-on-5 goal this season, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 10 player stats and 10 team stats that you’ll hopefully find both curious and compelling:

10 PLAYER STATS

Alex Ovechkin, Washington: 20 slapshot goals
The NHL's king of the one-timers has a league-leading 20 goals on slapshots among his league-leading 49 goals. Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, who's no slouch on the slapper himself, is the runner-up with 15 slapshot goals.

Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit: Three penalty shots
The Wings center is the only player in the league with three penalty-shot attempts this season, and he successfully converted two of them. San Jose's Logan Couture has taken two penalty shots – and he scored on both.

Aaron Ekblad, Florida: 30.2 shifts per game
The Panthers defender sits outside the top 20 in average ice time (23:36) but nobody plays more shifts on a nightly basis.

Keith Yandle, Florida: 65.5 percent of points on power play
It's no secret that Yandle is a power-play ace, and he's certainly living up to that reputation this season – the Panthers blueliner has amassed 38 of his 58 points on the PP. Boston defenseman Torey Krug isn't too far behind, with 29 of his 48 points (60.4 percent) coming on the man advantage.

Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo: Minus-42
It's not easy being the go-to guy on Buffalo's defense corps. Ristolainen is minus-144 in 421 career games with the Sabres, and his minus-42 this season represents the worst mark in the league and a single-season worst mark for Ristolainen. Buffalo's other blueline Rasmus, the rookie Dahlin, is minus-9 rating this season, although Ristolainen gets the tougher assignments and harder minutes.

William Carrier, Vegas: 5.2 hits per game
Keep your head up when Carrier is on the ice. Only two other players – the Islanders' Matt Martin (4.2) and Ottawa's Mark Borowiecki (4.0) – are averaging four or more hits per game this season.

Andy Greene, New Jersey: 4:13 shorthanded ice time per game
The Devils captain must be pretty winded – and bruised – after most games. He plays nearly a minute more in shorthanded ice time per game than any other NHLer, which probably helps to explain his league-leading 200 blocked shots.

Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay: 5 shorthanded goals
Cirelli doesn't lead the league in shorties – that honor belongs to Arizona's Michael Grabner, who has six in 36 games – but the Lightning rookie is the lone NHL freshman who has scored more than once while his team was a man down.

Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota: 63 starts
The Wild netminder has been a workhorse, leading the league in starts this season. Montreal's Carey Price (60 starts) and Vegas' Marc-Andre Fleury (59) haven’t taken too many nights off, either.

Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver: 38 shootout shots against
The Canucks stopper has been one of the busiest goalies when it comes to shots against this season, ranking in the top five in the league. And he's been by far the busiest when it comes to the shootout, facing 38 shots in the 1-on-1 post-overtime competition. He stopped 29 of those shots, compiling a 4-5 shootout record in the process.

10 TEAM STATS

Florida Panthers: .385 save percentage in shootouts
The Panthers' goalies haven't exactly been at their shining best in the shootout, giving up 16 goals on 26 shots this season.

Washington Capitals: 45.5-percent faceoff efficiency
Apparently you don't need to be fast on the draw to hoist the Stanley Cup. The defending champions are dead last when it comes to winning faceoffs.

Anaheim Ducks: 2.33 goals per game
When you take the fewest shots per game (27.5) and you've got one of the NHL’s lowest shooting percentages (8.5 percent), well, you're going to be the lowest-scoring team in the league.

Los Angeles Kings: Zero regulation losses when leading after one period
The good news is, the Kings are the only team in the league who haven't lost in regulation time when leading after 20 minutes this season. The bad news is, the Kings have only had a first-period lead 13 times this season, going 12-0-1. Los Angeles has trailed after the first period 30 times, going 3-24-3 in those games.

Tampa Bay Lightning: .450 points percentage when trailing after two periods
A .450 points percentage might not seem all that impressive, but it is in this context. Tampa Bay has a 9-11-0 record when trailing after 40 minutes this season, which is vastly superior to Calgary's 8-19-3 mark – and the Flames' .267 points percentage is the second-best mark in the league. The Columbus Blue Jackets, at 1-22-1 for a .042 points percentage when trailing after two periods, have the NHL's worst mark.

Detroit Red Wings: Three wins in games decided by three-plus goals
The Wings have only won three times this season in games decided by three or more goals. By comparison, the median NHL team has won 15 times in games decided by three-plus goals, with Tampa Bay – who else? – leading the way with 28 victories by at least three goals.

Nashville Predators: One 3-on-5 goal
The Preds are the only team who have scored while two men down this season, with the goal coming at the expense of the St. Louis Blues. And, Nashville is the only team to score a 6-on-3 goal this season, pulling the goalie and putting one past the Anaheim Ducks while they had two men in the box.

Dallas Stars: 37 first-period goals
Nobody starts slower than the Stars, and it's not even close. Dallas has managed a paltry 37 goals in the first period, which is well behind second-worst Nashville (50). Compare that to Tampa Bay, who have scored a league-high 100 times (and counting) in the first period this season.

Pittsburgh Penguins: 2,210 hits
The most dangerous bird is the Penguin, at least when it comes to hockey. Pittsburgh leads the league with 2,210 bodychecks, no doubt led by that notorious headhunter Sidney Crosby...

Vancouver Canucks: 75 times off the iron
A couple inches here, a couple inches there, and maybe the Canucks would be positioning themselves for a playoff spot rather than the draft lottery. No team has hit more goalposts (57) or crossbars (18) than Vancouver.

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