Detroit Red Wings' games have been about as unpredictable as possible through 18 games this season. The unpredictability of this team has generated some interesting statistics thus far in 2013-14.
The Red Wings' inconsistent season continued as Detroit dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night.
The loss represented just a handful of what the past 10 games—and this season as a whole—have been like for those watching Red Wings hockey on a nightly basis.
Here are the five most impressive statistics from the Red Wings' season so far.
Note: "Impressive" doesn't always mean impressive in a good way. Detroit has also been impressively bad in many statistics so far in 2013-14.
The Red Wings have a 9-5-4 record on the season after the overtime loss to the Lightning Saturday. Although 22 points in 18 games seems decent compared to other struggling teams in the East, what is disconcerting is the difference in record between goalies.
Jimmy Howard is 5-5-4 on the young season, while his replacements have a combined 4-0 record. Jonas Gustavsson has won all three of his starts, and Petr Mrazek had a 14-save shutout win in his only appearance.
While the Red Wings have played admirably for their backup goalies, the fact of the matter is that Jimmy Howard is "the guy" going forward as the No. 1 goalie and desperately needs some support, both offensively and defensively.
While Detroit has only won half of its contests so far this season, it needs to start playing better in front of Howard because he has shown that he can get the job done when the team gets him some goals and allows him a chance to not face as many shots.
When Howard has faced 25 shots or fewer in a game, he is 4-0. When he faces 27 or more shots, he is just 1-5-4.
Although Red Wings players can't necessarily limit the shot totals to 25 or less every night, giving up 32 shots or more in seven of Howard's 14 starts won't allow the Red Wings to win many games.
Any time Red Wings fans watch Kyle Quincey try to make a play with the puck in his own zone, there is (or should be) a tendency to cringe at the outcome of his efforts.
This is not a surprise considering Quincey is a minus-nine and has 13 giveaways in 18 games this season. Although Wings fans might be surprised that this number is so low, the Red Wings are among the giveaway leaders in the league this season.
Prior to Monday night's action, Detroit had the sixth-most giveaways in the NHL with 158 in 18 games. That's over 8.7 giveaways per game and far too many to be successful in the NHL.
Fans don't need head coach Mike Babcock harping on the importance of not turning the puck over when they have real-life evidence of it in front of them.
The Lightning scored the game-winning goal Saturday night courtesy of Kyle Quincey's giveaway, and it seems that a lot of the Wings' giveaways have ended up in their own net this season.
For a team that is so skilled in playing with the puck, the Red Wings need to clamp down on this abhorrent number of giveaways per game and stop giving other teams more chances to beat them.
While cynical fans will point to the times at which the Red Wings penalty kill has failed them this season, the 84.8 percent success rate through 18 games is something to hang one's hat on.
This is excellent considering Detroit has been shorthanded 66 times through 18 games but has given up just 10 power-play goals in that time.
While Detroit has the third-fewest penalty minutes per game in the NHL, there is nothing like a penalty kill to give a team momentum.
This has allowed Detroit to pick up a point or sometimes a win in the standings in games it had no business being in otherwise.
The reason the 84.8 percent is impressive is because Detroit last broke that percentage mark in 2005-06 with an 85.5 percent success rate.
Plain and simple: It has been a while since Detroit's penalty kill was this good. Whether it can be maintained over an entire season is another question, but the PK should get some help when Jonathan Ericsson finally returns.
The Red Wings have a scoring problem. The first line scores too much, while everyone else scores too little.
Now, the first line can't score too much (that's just being silly), but the fact remains that after 18 games, the top four scorers on the Red Wings have as many points combined as the rest of the team.
Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall have 61 points between the four of them, while the other 22 skaters have 61 points combined.
That's a problem.
Zetterberg (20 points) and Datsyuk (18 points) are on pace to challenge career years, but offensively speaking, the Red Wings are in trouble if the rest of their lineup can't start scoring as well.
The rich get richer in the real world, but the Red Wings and Detroit fans everywhere are hoping to get some more contributions from players not named Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Alfredsson and Kronwall.
The jury is likely still out on whether this is an impressively good or impressively bad statistic.
There was a point last season after two rounds of the playoffs where the eliminated Detroit Red Wings led the NHL playoffs in goals given up in the third period.
Well, it looks as if that time has come again, as the Red Wings are once again among the league leaders in goals given up in the final period.
Detroit has given up 18 third-period goals this season. How bad is that number, relatively speaking?
The only teams that have given up more goals in the third period this season are the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. These teams are ranked 24th, 29th and 27th in points, respectively, so needless to say, it would explain why the Red Wings have been struggling to put up points in the standings, despite being among the leaders in first-period scoring.