I have always believed First Goals, goals that open the scoring in a hockey game, are important, and a measure of clutch performance. If you disagree, you can bet that this time of year every NHL coach preaches about getting off to a good start.
Teams who have scored the first goal of the hockey game have a 41-25 record through two rounds of the 2009 playoffs. That's a 62% win ratio. Obviously scoring first is a huge edge. And if a team can take a lead into the first intermission the win percentage jumps to 75%
One player who understands how important it is to get a lead early is Sidney Crosby. So far this playoff Pittsburgh has scored first in 7 of their 13 games. Crosby has scored five of those goals (and assisting on one other), including three first goals in the second round alone. Both of those marks are new Pittsburgh team records.
Surprisingly, Pittsburgh's record when scoring first bucks the trend as they have a 4-3 record, a below average 57% win ratio.
Crosby only had 4 first goals in the regular season. Dany Heatley led the way with 10, with Loui Eriksson, Markus Naslund and Alexander Ovechkin notching 9 first goals.
By the way, the only other players to have more than one opening goal so far this playoff are Jiri Hudler with 3, and Eric Staal, Bobby Ryan, Mason Raymond, Corey Perry, Mark Recchi, Zach Parise and Patrick Kane, all with 2.