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Tidbits: Statistical Milestones & Others Worth Mentioning

If you analyze the statistics for this season's Carolina Hurricanes, most of them will confirm why the team sits at the bottom of the NHL standings. We'll get to some of those, but there are also some surprising positive statistics and career numbers worth mentioning just past the halfway point of the 2009-10 campaign.

  • Heading in to tonight's matchup against Tampa Bay at the RBC Center, goalie Cam Ward is just one win shy of matching Arturs Irbe's Hurricanes record of 130 wins. Ward has won his 129 games in 257 games played, whereas Irbe got to his total in 309 appearances. The bad news for Ward? He leads the NHL in losses with 17. If Carolina continues to struggle, it's conceivable he could surpass Kevin Weekes' franchise record of 30 losses from 2003-04. Despite the losses, Ward has a .907 save percentage — good for a tie for 25th in the league. He's also tied for the league lead in assists by a goalie with three.
  • Here's some good news from the Rat Pack: Patrick Dwyer has no penalty minutes in 23 games (303:13 of ice time) and graduate Brandon Sutter has just two PIMs in 38 games (631:05). The Islanders' Frans Nielsen is the only player in the league who can boast a similar stat with just two penalty minutes in 42 games played (692:49 minutes played). 
  • Back to the career numbers, Eric Staal is just two goals shy of Jeff O'Neill's franchise record of 176 goals. Ray Whitney is also making a move up the career stats list. He needs just five points to match Sami Kapanen's 314 for a tie for fifth in Hurricanes history.
  • Joni Pitkanen is not only putting together one of his best seasons, he could be on pace to make it one of the statistically best by a defenseman in Carolina history. Pitkanen is logging a league-high 27:00 minutes per game, and his 25 points are tied for 19th in the NHL among blueliners. His 23 assists are tied for 11th in the league — and just 15 shy of the Carolina record 38 Frank Kaberle had in 2005-06. Kaberle had 44 points that season, tied for most in franchise history with Sandis Ozolinsh (2000-01) and Sean Hill (1999-2000). Pitkanen has had two three-assist game in his past three, and if he can at least maintain his current pace — and stay healthy — he is in line to break the team record for points by a d-man. 
  • Injured defenseman Joe Corvo still ranks eighth in the NHL in TOI per game at 25:33, including logging 4:56 of power play (11th) and 3:37 of shorthanded (3:37) time. Pitkanen is tied for 20th in the NHL in PP time (4:18), while Tim Gleason is T-23rd in shorthanded time at 3:23 per game.
  • At forward, Staal's 20:42 is 16th among forwards and his 4:18 of power play time matches Pitkanen for a tie for 20th among all players. Whitney is averaging 4:01 PP TOI, good for a tie for 29th.
  • Rookie Brett Carson has proven he's ready to hold a spot on an NHL blueline. The 17:49 of ice time — though in just 19 games — is eighth among NHL rookies.
  • Gleason's 62 penalty minutes rank fourth among NHL defensemen.
  • Captain Rod Brind'Amour has performed better as of late, but he still ranks last in the NHL in plus/minus at minus-22. He is still among the league's best faceoff men at 58.4 percent (sixth). Staal, who has played more wing of late, ranks tied for last in the NHL in faceoffs (41.9) among those who qualify with Colorado rookie Matt Duchene.
  • Staal is averaging .63 assists per game, tied for 23rd in the league this season. His 150 shots is tied for 28th in the league despite playing just 35 games.
  • Andrew Alberts continues to punish opponents, ranking tied for 15th in the league with 137 hits. Fellow blueliner Aaron Ward is 30th (115) and is also tied for 18th in blocked shots with 93.
  • Jussi Jokinen, widely considered the league's top shootout man, has four tallies in the shootout this season (T-sixth). His six goals in divisional games are tied for 20th in the league.
  • Whitney has 13 goals outside of the division. That is tied for 25th in the league. 
  • Matt Cullen and Tom Kostopoulos rank among the best shorthanded scorers in the league. Both have two SHGs (tied for fourth in the NHL) and three points (tied for third).
  • Zach Boychuk, who was just reassigned to Albany, is still searching for his first NHL goal, but he's tied for sixth in the AHL in game-winning goals with four. Boychuk and teammate Stefan Chaput each have 24 points, tied for 12th in the AHL in rookie scoring. Dwyer has been in Carolina for half the season, but his two shorthanded goals ranks tied for seventh. Jerome Samson, who was recently reassigned to Albany after making his NHL debut, still leads the league in shots with 186 — 34 more than Providence's Mikko Lehtonen.