The second season begins 

April, 14, 2010

Did you know that there were 6,803 goals scored this season? Don't feel bad, I didn't either until I got a nice note from Allison Loucks and Andrew Davis at ESPN's Stats and Information. We've got a real smart team that breaks down the numbers. They do terrific work and don't get near enough credit.

They were good enough to throw me a few other numbers, too.

For example, the 30 teams combined for 74,569 shots on goal. And just think, if Alex Ovechkin hadn't missed 10 games, that number would have been even higher. Ovi is a shot machine. Despite skating in just 72 games, he still led the league with 368 shots.

Heading into the playoffs, I think it's interesting to note that 301 regular-season games went into overtime. That's the most overtime games in any of the four post-lockout seasons. Roughly one in every four regular-season games needed extra time. Can we expect the same ratio in the postseason? If so, we could be looking at some long nights. We'd better get our popcorn ready.

With the playoffs ready to face-off tonight, I thought I'd offer a few random thoughts/facts about each matchup.

Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Two things will have to happen for the Habs to make this an interesting series. First, Jaroslav Halak (or Carey Price, if he were called on at some point) will have to be great. Halak didn't play in any of the four regular-season meetings between the clubs. And the Canadiens' power play will have to click against a mediocre Caps penalty kill. In the season series (the teams split four games), Montreal connected on five of 14 chances against Washington. That's approximately a 35 percent success rate. It will need a similar performance to stun the top seed.

By the way, the high-octane Capitals scored 101 more goals than the Canadiens during the regular season. By contrast, in the West's 1-8 matchup, the Sharks outscored the Avs by just 20 goals. The Habs are staring directly uphill.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.