Inside the NHL's goal-scoring increase: Who benefits the most? – ESPN

The electrifying Nikita Kucherov, left, and Steven Stamkos are the NHL’s top two scorers thus far this season. 

4:27 PM ET

Through the first month-plus of the season, the NHL has given fans a more entertaining product in the form of increased scoring.

This season, goal scoring is at its highest since the 2005-06 season, with games averaging 6.04 goals per game. That’s exactly a half-goal more per game than last season. If the league keeps up its torrid scoring pace, it will result in an uptick of 635 more goals across the NHL:

Goals per game, power plays per game Season Goals per
game Power plays
per game 2013-14 5.48 6.54 2014-15 5.46 6.12 2015-16 5.42 6.22 2016-17 5.54 5.98 2017-18 6.04 7.04

There are a number of possible explanations for the increased number of pucks beating goaltenders, but the most glaring is an increase in penalties; power plays are at their highest since 2010-11. Not only do more penalty calls result in power-play goals, it also gives offensive players more room to work at even strength, with defenders playing a cleaner game to try to avoid infractions.

Who has benefited the most from this uptick in scoring? Will those numbers sustain? Let’s have a look.

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