Playing around with the NHL's super-terrific Statistics tab again and came across a few fascinating numbers worthy of passing along at the almost-halfway point of the year.
Of course there's not an endless bounty of goodness within - indicative of a restructuring club - but some of what lies beneath is almost certainly a Good Omen when looking toward the months and years ahead.
Wins and losses (18-20-2, 38 points) are right about where you'd expect when stacked against the rest of the league, but interestingly - or maybe not - four of the bottom six teams, Florida included, have played only 40 games (through Sunday). No idea what this means, if anything at all, but it stuck out rather obviously.
A bit more substantive (again through Sunday's action):
- The Panthers and (gulp) Devils are tied for the league's second-fewest overtime losses with 2. Los Angeles paces with 1.
- Florida's goal-differential (109-106, +3) continues to lead all Eastern non-playoff clubs; a whopping 12 over division-leader Tampa Bay.
- A 1.13 five-on-five goals-for/against ratio ranks 9th in the league, better than all four dvision rivals.
- The power play (8.8%, or 3.4% worse than 29th-ranked Columbus) continues to inspire calls for heads to roll on the coaching staff, but the penalty kill remains among the top ten (8th, 84%).
- Shots-on-goal is a rather positive stat so far with 31.6 (12th); shots-against continue to be a work in progress at 32.5 (24th), still far better than recent years (and leading a few surprising names such as Carolina, Atlanta, and the Bruins).
- Somewhat insanely, the Cats still have a shots/win percentage reversed from where reality would demand them to be: a .313 winning percentage (25th overall) when outshooting their opponent, but a .571 (13th) when outshot. Um, huh...?
- Most impressive of all may just be faceoffs: Florida currently leads all but Vancouver and San Jose with a 52.6 winning percentage in the category. The loss of Steven Reinprecht (51.7) may affect the number slightly if no one picks up the pace in his absence, but kudos to Stephen Weiss (54.4, 23rd overall), Marty Reasoner (55.9, 16th) and Michael Santorelli (50.5) for continuing the push. Not to be forgotten, Shawn Matthias (48.6) is knocking on the door with a won-loss ratio of 117-124.