New NHL team Seattle Kraken have just shattered the NHL record for the bestselling expansion team identity launch in pro hockey history. Within 12 days of revealing its name, logo and colors, the league’s newest team broke the previous record for merchandise sales by more than 400%. That got us thinking about other NHL records that have come crashing down in recent years:
The Edmonton Oilers set a new NHL record when they secured five straight come-from-behind wins at the start of the 2019-20 season. The Oilers found themselves 2-1 down to the Canucks in the third period of their season opener, but they rallied to secure a 3-2 victory, with Leon Draisaitl contributing a goal and two assists. They then came from behind to beat the Kings 6-5. They then picked up a 5-2 win against the Islanders and beat the Devils courtesy of a shootout. Their 4-1 comeback victory over the Rangers was their fifth in a row, but they then lost 3-1 to the Blackhawks. That proved to be an ominous portent, as the Chicago then knocked Edmonton out of the extended Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Power Play Prince
Sabres left-winger Victor Olofsson became the first player in NHL history to score his first eight goals on the power play during the 2019-20 season. The Swedish star made his debut for Buffalo on March 28, 2019, and scored his first goal on the power play two days later in a loss to the Islanders. In the first game of the new season, Olofsson scored two power play goals to help lead the Sabres to an emphatic 7-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. On October 14, 2019, he set a new NHL record by scoring a seventh consecutive goal on the power play as the Sabres beat the Stars 4-0. He later extended the streak to eight and became a leading contender for the Calder Memorial Trophy, before suffering a nasty injury against the Oilers.
All Hail Ovechkin
The great Alexander Ovechkin overtook Luc Robitaille to become the top scoring left wing in NHL history this season. He seized the record after firing in his 669th goal to hand the Washington Capitals an overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in October. Ovechkin drew level with Robitaille when he scored earlier in the game, and clinched the record with a fine winning goal. He extended his tally to 706 by the time the regular season was suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis, and he could still challenge Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record of 894 if he maintains his current fitness levels. Ovechkin also broke the record for the most power play goals scored on the road in NHL regular season history this season, and equalled the record for the most consecutive 30-goal seasons, while he broke the record for the most 45-goal seasons last year. He has the most NHL goal scoring titles, the most career overtime goals and many other records.
The Shootout Specialist
Jonathan Toews set a new record for the most career shootout goals when he slammed in his 50th this season. Frans Nielsen held the previous record of 49 since the introduction of the shootout in 2005, but Toews overtook it in March 2020 when he scored against the Panthers. However, the Blackhawks captain actually wants to get rid of shootouts. “I can be the all-time leader and that’ll be it,” joked Toews after handing his team a 4-4 record in games decided by shootout. The Blackhawks recently defied the NHL betting odds to beat the Oilers in the Stanley Cup playoffs, while Tampa Bay broke new ground for the NFL by beating Washington 3-2 in the first-ever shootout of the playoffs.
The Immoveable Object
Ilya Samsonov became the first goalie to win his first eight career road games in a single season when he helped the Caps beat the Hurricanes in January 2020. Sammy produced a career-high 38 saves in that game to inspire his team to an important victory over a divisional rival. No previous NHL goalie had won his first eight road games. Samsonov had a 2.18 goals against average and an impressive .924 save percentage as he secured the record. It is all the more impressive when you consider than Samsonov is ostensibly Washington’s backup goalie, and he is now piling pressure on the talented Braden Holtby as he pushes for a starting berth.
Division Winners Crumble
A new NHL record was set when all four division winners were vanquished in round one of the playoffs last year. The wild card teams all produced heroics to surge into round two instead. Colorado Avalanche knocked out Western Conference champions Calgary in just five games, while the Stars took down the Predators in six games. The Columbus Blue Jackets shocked everyone when they swept the Tampa Bay Lightning aside in contemptuous fashion, while Eastern Conference champions Washington fell at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. Brock McGinn completed the extraordinary sequence of events when he scored in the second overtime period for the Hurricanes and sent the Caps – the reigning Stanley Cup champions – back to Washington with their tails between their legs.
The Boston Bruins set a new NHL record for the most one-goal playoff defeats with 120 last year. They suffered a 3-2 defeat in game two against the Blues and a 2-1 defeat in game five, before going on to lose in seven games. They are among the favorites to seize glory in 2020 after finishing with the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference, but they will need to improve their ability to close out tight games. The Montreal Canadiens are second in the list with 119 one-goal defeats, although they have played more playoff games than Boston. The Bruins have played more playoff games than most teams, and they have enjoyed an extremely distinguished record in the NHL, but their fans have suffered a fair amount of heartbreak over the years too.