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Five surprising stats, headlined by Dutch Gretzky

Dale Weise,

Dale Weise,


8 -- Goals for Canadiens winger Dale Weise. Only two players -- Jamie Benn (10) and Tyler Toffoli (9) -- have more. This from a guy who’s never scored more than 10 goals in an NHL season, though he did rip up the Dutch league during the lockout, so he had that going for him. It’s not like Weise has scored on half his shots either. He has 36 shots, third most on the Habs.

1.83 -- The goals-against average of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the second lowest in the league. For all the talk about the Pens’ scoring woes -- and that talk is justified, to be sure -- credit should be given to how well they’ve played defensively. Sure, much of the credit goes to Marc-Andre Fleury, whose .939 save percentage ranks right up there among the goalie leaders. And Pittsburgh still needs more from its highly paid scorers, because maintaining a .939 save percentage all season is highly unlikely for any goalie. But the Pens are finding ways to win. They’re 8-4-0, and that’s not bad at all.

32.7 -- Shots per game for the Buffalo Sabres. No team in the NHL is averaging more. Pretty remarkable stuff from the team that finished dead last in the same category last season, at just 24.2. Now it’s simply a matter of, um, scoring on those shots.

45.7 -- The percentage of faceoffs the Predators have won, the lowest success rate in the NHL. This only falls in the “surprising” category because so much emphasis is put on faceoff stats, when in reality there isn’t an ironclad correlation between winning teams and good faceoff teams. The Preds are 8-2-2. They’re still an excellent possession team, and that’s a much better predictor of success. In the end, faceoffs are one of those things where it’s nice to be good at them, but if you’re not, it’s not the end of the world. Just go win most of the other battles.

90.5% -- The Anaheim Ducks’ penalty killing, the highest success rate in the NHL. Yet another statistic that underscores how badly this team has struggled to score. The Ducks are 3-7-2, and they have the best PK in the league. Amazing. In case you’re wondering, their power play has been awful (10.8%, 28th).