What is it they say? Only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. When it comes to NHL statistics, you can expect quite a few things to occur each season: Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby will be near the top of the scoring race; Cal Clutterbuck will be piling up hits; and George Parros will have a bunch of fighting majors.
But there are always surprises as well — some that indicate a player is having a breakthrough campaign, and others that simply defy logic. With about 20 percent of the NHL season in the books, here are some of the more curious statistics so far.Goals — Rangers forward Brian Boyle had four goals in each of his three NHL seasons. This year? The 6-7 center has eight goals in 18 games, including the first two power play tallies of his career.
Assists — After managing 17, 16 and 17 assists the past three years, new Thrasher Dustin Byfuglien is piling up helpers in his new role as defenseman. In 18 games, Byfuglien already has 11 assists in 2010-11.
Points — Avs defenseman Kyle Quincey has 57 assists and 67 points over the last two years, but through 13 games has managed zero points for Colorado. The Avalanche, by the way, lead the Western Conference in goals with 59.
Faceoffs — Islanders tough guy Zenon Konopka is not a surprise atop the penalty minutes leader board, but he's also the NHL's No. 5 faceoffs man, winning 60.1 percent of his draws. He finished last season with Tampa Bay at 62.3 percent, but only took 462 draws all season. He already has taken 288 in 2010-11.
PIMs — With Sergei Gonchar gone to Ottawa, the Penguins expected Kris Letang to take on more responsibility on the Pittsburgh blue line. But they probably didn't expect a player with 102 career penalty minutes to have 30 PIMS — including two majors — 19 games into the season.
Plus/Minus — How about some home cooking: Los Angeles’ Jack Johnson is a plus-9 at home, but a minus-7 on the road.
Shots — Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival has more missed shots (13) than shots on goal (12) through 15 games.
TOI — Both Crosby (6:27) and Evgeni Malkin (6:47) are averaging more than six minutes of power play ice time a game. Sergei Gonchar was the last to average six-plus minutes a game over the course of a season, logging 6:14 a night for the Pens in 2008-09. The last pair of teammates to average that much was Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle, who both had more than seven minutes of PP time a night in 2005-06, when penalties were called much more frequently.