January 10, 2012 5:45 pm

Playoff odds tough for lowest-scoring teams

The stat of the day is courtesy of Nick Nickson, who did the research, and it suggests that the Kings will want to avoid finishing last in the NHL in average goals per game (they’re there now, at 2.09). Since 1979-80, when the NHL expanded to 21 teams, only two teams have finished last in goals per game and made the playoffs.

In 1986-87, the Detroit Red Wings averaged 3.25 goals per game (260 goals in 80 games) and finished with a 34-36-10 record, good for second in the Norris Division. The Red Wings also allowed the fifth-fewest goals in the NHL that season (274). Those Red Wings won two playoff rounds before they lost to Toronto in the Campbell Conference Finals.

In 1988-89, the Vancouver Canucks scored averaged 3.14 goals (251 goals in 80 games) and finished with a 33-39-8 record, good for fourth in the Smythe Division. The Canucks also allowed the third-fewest goals in the NHL that season (253). Those Canucks lost to Calgary in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

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