It's pretty easy to understand the significance of every team playing on the same night for the first time in league history back on Oct. 5, 2005.
That was the night the NHL came back to life after the lockout of 2004-05 embarrassingly marked the first time a major pro sports league lost an entire season due to a labor dispute. In need of some clever marketing considering the egg the NHL needed to wipe from its face, having all 30 teams play on the same night for the first time in history was the first step in getting the game back on its skates.
Why on Saturday night the scheduling oddity presented itself again we don't really know. All 30 teams were at it, basically out of the blue, without a whole lot of publicity or fanfare for the event. It seems like the league could have made a bigger deal out of it, tied it to a significant event, but for what ever reason, Oct. 25, 2008 goes down as the second day in league history 15 games were played.
So, starting with the first puck drop at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia at 4:07 p.m. ET – a starting time for the Devils-Flyers moved up from the original schedule to better accommodate Game 3 of the World Series just across the parking lot – until the final horn at 9:43 p.m. PT inside GM Place, here's a review of some of the things you might have missed during the full day and night of action.
– The home team earned two points in nine games, the visitors snatched a pair of points in six. Five of the 15 games needed more than 60 minutes to decide as two ended in sudden death and three required a shootout.
– Fredrik Sjostrom of the Rangers, Ryan Smyth of the Avalanche and Marian Hossa of the Red Wings scored the deciding goals in shootouts. Henrik Lundqvist, Peter Budaj and Ty Conklin were the winning goalies. In all, shooters went 9-for-24 in the shootouts.
– A total of 96 goals were scored in regulation and overtime of the 15 games. Three goals came short-handed (Anaheim's Travis Moen, Ottawa's Dean McAmmond and Sean Bergenheim of the Islanders) and one filled an empty net (Jarome Iginla).
– Ten of the 15 games were decided by one goal. Four goals was the largest margin of victory (St. Louis 4-0 over Florida).
– The power play was very good across the board. Teams combined to covert 30 of 127 chances for 23.6 percent, well above the league average. Vancouver cashed in most, going 4-for-6. The Islanders had the most power-play chances, but went just 1-for-8.
– A total of 460 penalty minutes were assessed of which 120 minutes accounted for the 12 fights. New Jersey and Philadelphia, division rivals meeting for the second time in as many days, featured the most bouts with four. The Devils and Flyers accrued the most combined minutes (80) while the Blue Jackets-Wild and Sabres-Avalanche combined for the least (12 each game).
– There were a combined 984 shots on goal during regulation and overtime. Carolina's Cam Ward faced the most. He stopped 57 of the New York Islanders' franchise-record 60. Florida managed the fewest, only 17 on the road in St. Louis. Five teams replaced their starting goalies because of either injury or ineffectiveness including Montreal, Los Angeles, Columbus, St. Louis and the New York Islanders. Montreal's Tomas Plekanec led the world with 13 shots (three others were judged to be missed shots). Bill Guerin of the Islanders was in double figures, too, with 10 shots.
– There were a grand total of 872 faceoffs. Detroit and Chicago visited the circle the most (82) while San Jose and Tampa combined for the least draws (46). Boston's Marc Savard (14-4), Vancouver's Ryan Kessler (16-6), Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour (15-5) and Washington's Boyd Gordon (13-4) had strong nights on faceoffs while Phoenix's Olli Jokinen (4-13), Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf (4-15) and Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff (9-18) struggled.
– Teams extended winning streaks (Colorado to five in a row, Detroit to four, Anaheim and Calgary to three and Philadelphia to two) and extended losing streaks (Islanders to three in a row) and had streaks snapped (Montreal had won five in a row, Pittsburgh had won two straight and Washington had lost three in a row).
– The 15 games drew nine capacity crowds. The United Center in Chicago housed the biggest showing, a franchise-record 22,690 to see the 698th all-time meeting between the rival Red Wings and Blackhawks. The smallest crowd was an announced 11,219 gathering at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island for the Hurricanes and Islanders. A total of 267,729 attended the 15 games for an average of 17,849 per contest.
– The biggest minute-muncher on Saturday was Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom with 32:01 of ice time. Buffalo's young defenseman Andrej Sekera was the only other skater in the league to log more than 30 minutes (30:44). Philadelphia's Riley Cote (1:34) and New Jersey's Mike Rupp (1:44) saw the least amount of ice time.
– Of miscellaneous note, Calgary traveled the most miles (1,600 from Nashville to Glendale, Ariz.) while New Jersey traveled the least (less than 100 miles to Philly). … The 30 bench bosses combined for more than 180 seasons of NHL head coaching experience. … Tampa Bay's Gary Roberts (42 years, five months, two days) was the oldest player performing and Atlanta's Zach Bogosian (18 years, three months, 10 days) was the youngest.
And on Sunday everyone rested.