NHL 2013 Season Highlights: Ovechkin's Comeback
NEW YORK (April 28, 2013) The 2012-13 National Hockey League regular season was a 100-day sprint to the playoffs that crowned five new division champions and qualified five teams for the postseason that missed the playoffs last spring.
The campaign began with Chicagos historic streak of securing at least one point in each of its first 24 games and saw the Penguins win 15 consecutive games from March 2-30, tying the second-longest winning streak in League history. And, for the second time in as many seasons, it required the last game on the schedule to determine the first-round playoff matchups.
Among the many 2012-13 highlights:
Five teams (Anaheim, Minnesota, Montreal, NY Islanders, Toronto) qualified for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing the postseason last year.
All five teams finished in the bottom seven of the 2011-12 NHL standings.
CHANGE OF SCENERY
No NHL club will open the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the same seeding as 2012.
Vancouver (Northwest) is the only club to repeat as division champion.
Pittsburgh became the fourth Atlantic Division champion in the last four years (NY Rangers in 2012, Philadelphia in 2011, New Jersey in 2010).
Montreal became the third club in the last four years to claim the Northeast Division crown (Boston in 2011 and 2012, Buffalo in 2010).
Washington won its fifth division title in the last six years, replacing Florida at the top of the Southeast standings. Chicago became the third Central Division winner in the last three years (St. Louis in 2012, Detroit in 2011). And Anaheim accomplished the same feat in the Pacific Division, replacing Phoenix (2012) and San Jose (2011).
Every 'Original Six' team qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1996. Boston plays Toronto in the first round of the postseason, the first all-Original Six matchup since the Bruins met the Montreal Canadiens in the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
For the first time since 2006, four Canadian clubs (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver) qualified for the postseason. The Canadiens face the Senators in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the first all-Canadian playoff series since 2004 (Toronto vs. Ottawa, Calgary vs. Vancouver). Its also the first postseason meeting between NHL clubs from Montreal and Ottawa since the Montreal Maroons and the original Senators franchise faced off in the 1928 Quarterfinals. The Canadiens met the old Senators in the playoffs four times in the NHL's first decade (1917-18 through 1926-27).
THE WAIT IS OVER
St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will make his playoff debut after 764 regular-season games, ending the longest active drought in the League. Olli Jokinen holds the record for the longest wait it took 799 regular-season games before he made it to the postseason.
CHICAGOS SCORCHING START
Chicago earned points in each of its first 24 games (21-0-3), smashing the NHLs longest previous season-opening streak of 16 games set by Anaheim in 2006-07. Thirteen different Blackhawks notched a game-winning goal during the streak and Ray Emery became the first goaltender in NHL history to start a season 10-0-0 (he won his first 12 decisions overall).
Longest Point Streak from Start of Season
24 Chicago Blackhawks, Jan. 19 March 6, 2013 (21-0-3)
16 *Anaheim Ducks, Oct. 6 Nov. 9, 2006 (12-0-4)
15 *Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 11 Nov. 9, 1984 (12-0-3)
14 *Montreal Canadiens, Oct. 30 Dec. 4, 1943 (11-0-3)
* won Stanley Cup
Longest Point Streak, One Season
35 Philadelphia Flyers, Oct. 14, 1979 Jan. 6, 1980 (25-0-10)
28 *Montreal Canadiens, Dec. 18, 1977 Feb. 23, 1978 (23-0-5)
24 Chicago Blackhawks, Jan. 19 March 6, 2013 (21-0-3)
* won Stanley Cup
STEEL CITY STREAK
Pittsburgh reeled off 15 consecutive victories from March 2-30, matching the 1981-82 New York Islanders for the second-longest winning streak in NHL history and marking the Leagues longest winning streak in 20 years. Led by captain Sidney Crosby, who topped all players with 19 assists and 25 points, the Penguins became the first team in NHL history to post a perfect calendar month (minimum, 10 games).
Longest Winning Streak, One Season
17 Pittsburgh Penguins, March 9 April 10, 1993
15 Pittsburgh Penguins, March 2 30, 2013
*New York Islanders, Jan. 21 Feb. 20, 1982
14 Boston Bruins, Dec. 3, 1929 Jan. 9, 1930
Washington Capitals, Jan. 13 Feb. 7, 2010
* won Stanley Cup
Detroit extended its franchise record to 22 consecutive postseason berths, a mark which also stands as the fifth-longest streak in NHL history and the longest active streak in all of North American major professional sports.
Most Consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff Appearances
29 Boston Bruins, 1968-96
28 Chicago Blackhawks, 1970-97
25 St. Louis Blues, 1980-2004
24 Montral Canadiens, 1971-94
22 Detroit Red Wings, 1991-present
OV TOPS STAMMER
For the second time in three years, Washingtons Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bays Steven Stamkos staged a seesaw duel for the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy, awarded to the Leagues goal-scoring leader. Ovechkin eventually captured the trophy, the third of his career, totaling 32 goals to Stamkos
After a slow start when he tallied twice in his first 10 games, Ovechkin notched 23 goals in his final 23 contests, during which the Capitals climbed to first place in the Southeast Division. He recorded his 30th goal of the season April 20, becoming the ninth player in League history to score 30 or more goals in each of his first eight seasons. Ovechkin also led the League with 16 power-play goals and 220 shots on goal.
Stamkos took the League goal-scoring lead during the first half of the season on the strength of two separate goal-scoring streaks of at least five games. He became the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to record 200 career goals when he reached the plateau March 18 (23 years, 41 days).
The only ones to have hit the milestone faster: Wayne Gretzky (21 years, 256 days), Mario Lemieux (22 years, 148 days) and Dale Hawerchuk (22 years, 266 days).
AGE IS BUT A NUMBER
Fans marveled at the performances of the Leagues two oldest active players, 42-year-old Anaheim right wing Teemu Selanne and 41-year-old Boston right wing Jaromir Jagr.
Selanne scored his 250th career power-play goal Feb. 24, passing Phil Esposito for sole possession of third place on the all-time power-play goal list. He also scored March 1 to pass Luc Robitaille for sole possession of 11th place in all-time goals and finished the season with 675. Selanne became the all-time leader in NHL games played by a Finnish-born player when he appeared in his 1,373rd contest March 22, surpassing countryman Teppo Numminen.
Jagr became the 12th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 assists March 29 (with Dallas). He scored his fourth game-winning goal of the season and the 118th of his career April 21, tying Esposito for first on the all-time list for game-winners. Jagr leads all active players in goals (681), assists
(1,007) and points (1,688).
ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN
Chicago (36-7-5, 77 points) won its second Presidents Trophy in franchise history (1990-91). It also marked the fourth time overall that the team has finished atop the NHL standings (1966-67, 1969-70).
Seven teams have gone on to win the Stanley Cup after capturing the Presidents Trophy, which was created for the 1985-86 season. The last of those teams was the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings, who also accomplished the feat in 2001-02.
FILLING THE SEATS
NHL teams played to 97.5% of capacity in 2012-13 compared to 95.6% last season. The percentage-of-capacity figure and the per-game average of
17,768 set single-season League records.
Chicagos Jonathan Toews had the top-selling player jersey this season on shop.NHL.com, the official online store of the NHL operated by e-commerce provider Fanatics. Detroits Pavel Datsyuk, Pittsburghs Sidney Crosby, NY Rangers Rick Nash and Toews teammate Patrick Kane rounded out the top five.
Pittsburgh had three of the top four plus-minus players in the League:
Pascal Dupuis (+31), Chris Kunitz (+30) and Sidney Crosby (+26). The lone non-Penguin in the top four was Chicagos Jonathan Toews (+28) . . .
Minnesotas Ryan Suter led all skaters in total time on ice (1,309:25).
Tampa Bays Steven Stamkos paced all forwards (1,057:06) . . .
Philadelphias Claude Giroux led the NHL in face-offs won (644) and taken (1,182), but Bostons Patrice Bergeron had the best face-off winning percentage (62.1%) . . . New Jerseys Martin Brodeur played in his 1,200th NHL game Feb. 9, becoming the first goaltender and 93rd player in League history to reach that mark . . . Washington had the NHLs top power play, converting 26.8% of its chances, including a League-best 26.5% of opportunities away from home . . . Ottawa led all teams with an 88.0% penalty kill success rate . . . For the second consecutive season, New Jersey led the NHL in shorthanded goals (11).