The Greatest Tank Battle: Penguins vs. Devils, 1983-84

File:Mario Lemieux 1984.jpg

Mario Lemieux with Laval of the QMJHL in 1984; photo by http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/ via Wikimedia Commons

What do you do when a 6’4″ QMJHL forward who scored 184 points in 66 games in his last underage season scores at a 282-point pace in his draft year? You tank — you tank as hard as you can. In the latter half of the 1983-84 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils were in an unspoken, pitched battle for the bottom of the league and everybody knew it. While the Penguins would ultimately win out, sputtering to a 16-58-6 record (“good” for 38 points in the standings) to New Jersey’s 17-56-7 (41 points), the two teams were coming from distinctly different franchise backgrounds.

Using information from our new interactive charts, we can see what set these teams apart, and led them to take different paths in what turned out to be a pretty wild race to the cellar of the NHL.

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Who Were the Top Goaltenders of Each Decade?

Image from Rick Dikeman via Wikimedia Commons

Image from Rick Dikeman via Wikimedia Commons

I set out to measure the top goaltenders of each decade using a simple measure that adjusts for different environments of the years played.

The measure used is Saves Above League Average which is a measure of how many pucks a goalie stops relative to league average from that season. It is computed as:

salaformula

I compiled the top 10 and bottom 10 for the cumulative totals for the decades and the most extreme single-season marks.

If you want to test yourself before looking at the results, I made them into Sporcle quizzes: 2000s / 1990s / 1980s

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