from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic,
We’ve got some ’80s hockey back in vogue, minus the Cooperall pants and Jofa helmets, of course.
We’re talking about wild, high-scoring games.
On Nov. 29 in Los Angeles, it was a 9-8 overtime contest between the Kraken and Kings. Six days later, it was a ridiculous 7-6 overtime game between the Habs and Canucks in Vancouver. On Wednesday night alone, it was Tage Thompson scoring five goals in a 9-4 Sabres win over the Blue Jackets, the Oilers coming only one goal shy of that total in an 8-2 win over the Coyotes and the Canucks winning another high-scoring overtime affair, this time 6-5 over the Sharks.
These games are emblematic of a wacky NHL season full of lead changes and, of course, goals galore.
“It’s a pretty freewheeling game right now,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said Wednesday after practice in Toronto, his hair perhaps having added another tint of gray from that 9-8 game. “Probably not a lot of fun for the goaltenders or some nights for the coaches. But for the fans, it’s great.”
To wit: The NHL this season is averaging 6.36 goals per game, continuing the trend that saw the league average 6.29 goals per game last season, which was the first time above 6.04 since the 2005 lockout ended with new rules meant to open up the game and created a temporary spike to 6.17 in 2005-06 — followed by averages under six in every season from 2006-07 through 2017-18.