When Does Nhl Hockey Start Again? [Fact Checked!]

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It’s hard to believe that the 2019-20 NHL season is already upon us. With the new year just around the corner, it’s time to dust off our ice skates and get ready for another season. It’s always fun to look back at the previous year and see how the sport has changed and evolved. One thing that is for sure is that the season is a lot shorter now than it used to be. There are only 82 games this year, compared to an NHL-record 96 in the opening weekend last season. With the condensed schedule, there aren’t as many lulls in the action. It means you miss less time recovering from injuries or getting rest due to a long homestand. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and see how the 2019-20 NHL season played out.

NHL Standings After First Half Of Season

Going into the all-star break, the standings are starting to take on a familiar shape. The top four teams in the East are all still in pursuit of their first ever Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Division in the west appears to be a two-team race between the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames. The defending champs boast the best record in the league at 20-5-2 (including a 14-game winning streak) and sit a point ahead of the Flames. The rest of the Metropolitan Division is struggling to keep up.

Over-Under For NHL Totals

Just as a reminder, the over-under for NHL totals is currently set at 165 goals for and 165 against. Since we’re already over halfway through the season, let’s take a look at how the NHL Totals are going according to the computer. If you want to hit the ice this season without any fear of a long-term injury, you should definitely look into buying a hockey helmet.

Last season, the over-under was set at 166 goals for and 160 against. So far this year, the numbers are way better for both categories. Through Jan. 16, the NHL currently has 169 goals for and 166 against. While it’s a slightly better year so far for the hockey goal-scoring, it’s still early. We’re currently on pace for 229 goals scored and 258 allowed. So don’t expect the totals to stay down for long. If you’re looking for some good news, you can at least say that teams are battling more than ever before in the NHL. It’s always exciting to see goalies dueling for possession of the puck along the boards. It makes for great drama when a play breaks down along the wall and both goaltenders have to join the fray. There are definitely several interesting storylines heading into the second half of the season.

Least Active Hockey Markets

Although it’s only January, it’s already apparent that some teams are hitting the road less than others. Based on their recent past performance, you would naturally assume that the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs would be among the first teams to start selling off their assets. Toronto has played only seven games this season and has yet to win a game (0-6-1). Their struggles continued last week when they dropped a 4-0 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes. It wasn’t long before the media were speculating about whether or not the Maple Leafs would be willing to move some of their more expensive players. It turns out those rumors were true. The team did move two lesser players in the Taylor Hall and Andrew Nielsen contract buyouts. Hall returned to the OHL and Nielsen was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Coyotes. It’s not that Toronto doesn’t have the talent – it’s that they lack confidence in their abilities. The same can be said about the New York Rangers. After missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years, the defending champs have lost five of their first six games. It’s safe to say that none of the fans in New York are feeling very warm and fuzzy about the season so far.

Highest Inning-To-Inning Goals Against Average

Speaking of which, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and see how the lowest goals-against average in the league has changed. Last year, the mark was a minuscule 2.27, set by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Through 16 games, the Lightning franchise has only managed to muster up 5 goals against – the same amount Tampa Bay scored. It’s fair to say that coach Craig Berube’s group of snipers has been spectacular so far. The Bolts are 22-2-2 with a league-best 29 goals scored and only 5 goals allowed. They’ve won all four of their home games so far and have a week off before heading to the road for a tough week of games. It would be a major upset if Tampa Bay doesn’t win the Atlantic Division and makes it to the second round of the playoffs. The Bolts have played one home game more than any other team in the NHL so far this season and you can be sure that their fans have already started dreaming about their potential to go all the way in the postseason.

Home Cooking

One trend we’ve seen this year is that a lot of teams have started playing some home cooking with their travel requirements. There are 28 teams in the NHL this season that travel less than 15 minutes for every game. It’s the perfect scenario for fans who want to follow their favorite teams on the road but don’t want to spend a ton of money or time on travel. It also gives the coaches an opportunity to rest some of their key players and ensure they’re fresh for the playoffs. The New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils are good examples of teams that play a lot of home games this year. It’s really started to pick up in the past month or so as more and more NHL teams have taken advantage of the reduced travel requirements. There are even 12 teams that play only home games in the first place. The trend will most likely continue as more and more fans want to enjoy their teams without the stress of travel.

NHL Players To Watch

There are several exciting players to keep an eye out for this season. Here’s a short list. You may know some of these players from previous seasons and may be wondering how they’ve improved so much. It’s quite possible that some of them could even set new career highs this year.

Joel Farabee – The Boston Bruins forward had an excellent rookie campaign last year. He scored 10 goals and added 12 assists for 22 points in only 33 games. He also ranked second on the team with a plus-16 rating. This year, the 20-year-old is already tied for the team lead with four goals and four assists through seven games. The youngster is only going to get better with more experience. It will be interesting to see how he develops further with the Bruins.

Jack Studnicka – The Florida Panthers forward has been one of the biggest surprises in the league so far. He had only five goals last season and zero in his first seven games this year. Since then, however, Studnicka has scored six goals and added three assists in his last eight games. You may very well remember Studnicka due to his remarkable performance in the 2019 IIHF World Championship, where he won a silver medal. The 22-year-old led all players with 17 points and tied for the tournament lead with five goals. He also had a team-high plus-13 rating. It didn’t take long for General Manager Dale Tallon to come calling and offer the Florida star a more permanent spot in the lineup. He’s already responded with four goals and two assists in eight games this year. It’s not often you find a player who can score as seemingly effortlessly as Studnicka does. It makes you wonder what kind of tools the Panthers were missing out on before drafting Studnicka in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

Season Scorecard

With the first half of the season officially in the books, it’s time to take a quick look back at how the season unfolded. It was a decent first half for the NHL with goals-per-game average improving by almost a full goal compared to 2018. The first four months of the year were also relatively injury-free. It will be interesting to see how things change heading into the second half.

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