Michael Del Zotto

First Things First

The NHL tracks a statistic called “First Goal” of the game, which refers to the goal that puts either side up 1-0.  In the instance of a 1-0 shootout victory, no “First Goal” is credited, but all other instances the statistic is recorded.

Due to the NHL’s relatively low scoring format, scoring first can have a big influence on a game, parti cularly when you consider that about one in every nine games this season has ended in a shutout victory.

After Tuesday night’s action, 137 games have been played, with the side that scored first holding a 91-34-12 edge in terms of results.  That means that the team that scores first wins the game two out of every three times – 66.42 percent to be precise – and records points in 75.18 percent of the cases, or just over three in every four games.

As for the Rangers, they’ve taken a 1-0 lead only twice so far this season in the nine games they’ve played, tied with Carolina, Colorado and Winnipeg for the worst in the league.  The Rangers have won both those games where they scored first, and are a telling 2-5-0 in games where they gave up the first goal.

By contrast New York scored first in just over half of their games last year, going 35-5-3 in the contests where they registered the first score,

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