Goals, Goals, Goals
By Patrick Hoffman
For what seemed like a very long time, goals were down in the National Hockey League.
Goalie's equipment got bigger, clutching and grabbing was let go, and teams implemented the trap, forcing a lot of teams to just dump and chase. Basically put, it made for a lot of boring hockey.
Fast forward to now and things have changed in a big way. Via Twitter, the NHL released the following statistics for this season:
Clearly, a massive amount of goals that were scored this season. As you can see above, it was the most amount of even strength goals in 43 years, which is crazy. What's also amazing is that there were close to 1500 goals scored on the power play. I mean, this number should not necessarily surprise anyone considering the fact that that a team has the man-advantage, but it's still quite impressive.
That shorthanded goal amount is also pretty wild. This means that more teams are starting to think offensively when they get an opportunity to kill penalties. As such, you see more teams using their star players on the penalty kill with hopes that not only will they be able to play well defensively, but that they will also be able to create offense.
Not surprisingly, the Tampa Bay Lightning led the league in goals this year with 319. This means that they averaged close to four goals per game. It's easy to see why they won 62 games this season with those kinds of numbers.
It also should not surprise anyone that Washington Capitals' franchise player and future Hall of Famer Alex Ovechkin led the league with 51 goals. If you're counting at home, that is the eighth time that he has cracked the 50-goal mark.
Following Ovechkin in terms of putting the puck in the net this season were guys like Leon Draisaitl (50), John Tavares (47), Steven Stamkos (45), Patrick Kane (44), Cam Atkinson (41), and many others had a great goal-scoring season. In fact, there were 13 players that scored at least 40 goals this year.
It was a great year for offense folks. It means that in terms of the game's rules, the NHL is doing something right and are helping to open up the game more.
While we all like to see fantastic goaltending and close games, there is nothing like seeing the puck go in the net, something that happened over and over again this season.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.