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This Week In NHL Numbers: Hottest players, longest streaks and old guys in the first month of 2019-20

The NHL's best and brightest came to play in the opening month of 2019-20. David Pastrnak had a couple of career games, John Carlson made history, and Tuukka Rask stopped (almost) every shot that came his way. Plus, the Alex Ovechkin goal watch and the NHL's over-40 club.

The opening month of the 2019-20 NHL season is in the books. Here are a few of the numbers that caught our attention:

Boston's Tuukka Rask stopped 193 of the 203 shots he faced in October, for a save percentage that would make Dominik Hasek proud. Rask's sparkling play (6-0-1 record, 1.41 goals-against average, two shutouts) helped the Bruins bolt out of the gates with a 9-1-2 record in the opening month of the season. Stanley Cup hangovers aren't for losers, apparently.

Boston’s David Pastrnak had five assists against the Rangers last Sunday to become the only NHLer to collect a full handful of helpers in a game this season. Pastrnak also had a four-goal game in October, joining Detroit’s Anthony Mantha and Edmonton’s James Neal. After going scoreless in his first two outings of 2019-20, Pastrnak is riding a 10-game point streak that has carried him (almost) to the top of the NHL scoring race.

Give Barry Trotz 20 players and he’ll give you a winning hockey team. The coach of Islanders has guided his charges to an eight-game winning streak, the longest in the league this season. New York goes for nine in a row when they visit Buffalo on Saturday night.

Detroit also had an eight-game streak, but it was the kind that no team wants. The Red Wings lost eight in a row, going 0-7-1 to collect only one “loser” point in the process, before beating Edmonton on Tuesday.

The number of shots by Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson against Edmonton in the season opener between the two teams on Oct. 2. It’s the most shots in a game by any player this season. Pearson got a goal for his efforts, but the Canucks fell to the Oilers 3-2. Perhaps because the rest of the Canucks’ players combined for 14 shots.

Colorado has played 13 games, and Nathan MacKinnon has hit the scoresheet in every one of them for the longest point streak of 2019-20. That’s impressive in its own right, and all the more so when you consider that MacKinnon’s longtime linemates, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, are both out with injuries. There have been only three longer season-opening point streaks in the past 30 years: Dany Heatley, 22 games, 2005-06; Henrik Zetterberg, 17 games, 2007-08; and, Jaromir Jagr, 15 games, 1999-2000. MacKinnon still has a ways to go, however, to match the NHL’s all-time longest season-opening streak – that belongs to Wayne Gretzky, who recorded at least a point in the first 51 games of 1983-84. Gretzky, being Gretzky, piled up 153 points during ‘The Streak’ for an average of three points per game during that astounding run.

The number of points for Washington defenseman John Carlson in the month of October. Only one blueliner in NHL history has had more points in October: Al MacInnis, with 25 points in 13 games with Calgary in October 1990. Carlson, who registered at least one point in 12 of his 14 appearances, had eight multi-point games. That helped him establish a franchise record for points by a defenseman in any calendar month, surpassing Sergei Gonchar’s 22 in January 2000, and also match a Washington record for points by any skater in a single October (Alex Ovechkin, 23 points in 13 games in October 2009).

The ice time for Toronto’s Morgan Rielly in a 4-3 overtime loss against Washington on Tuesday. It’s the most anyone has played in a game this season. Ottawa defenseman Thomas Chabot is the only other player to skate 30-plus minutes in a game in 2019-20 – and he’s done it twice (30:15 vs. Rangers on Oct. 5 and 30:20 vs. Islanders on Oct. 25).

Alex Ovechkin’s climb up the NHL’s all-time goal list continues. The Capitals superstar has scored 11 times in 15 games this season, helping him to pass Luc Robitaille for 12th place in career goals. Next up: Teemu Selanne (684), Mario Lemieux (690), Steve Yzerman (692) and Mark Messier (694). Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record of 894 goals still looks pretty safe – but not nearly as safe as it used to.

The combined number of NHL games played (regular season and playoffs) for Boston’s Zdeno Chara and San Jose’s Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, including the Bruins-Sharks clash on Tuesday that featured the only three 40-year-olds in the league this season. The breakdown: Chara, 42 (1,497 regular-season games, 182 playoff games); Thornton, 40 (1,580 regular-season games, 179 playoff games); and Marleau, 40 (1,667 regular-season games, 191 playoff games).

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