clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NHL scores 2016: League scoring on the rise as October comes to a close

The NHL has been in a scoring drought these last few years. That’s not the case in 2016.

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

If it feels like this year the NHL has gotten off to a hot start in the goal-scoring category, you’d be 100-percent correct. Strange as it is to think, players are scoring at a higher clip this year than at this point in the season last year. Sort of.

The sort of comes from the fact that the 2015-16 season started five days before the 2016-17 season. As such, it’s not really fair to say that players are scoring more goals through the first month of the season, as last year they had a head start. Instead, it’s that goal scoring is up from last year through the first seven games of the season.

Why seven? Well, thanks to the World Cup of Hockey pushing everything a week back, all 30 teams in the NHL have played at least seven games so far through October. And as such, according to, 50 more goals have been scored this year through the first seven games of the season compared to last, from 555 up to 605.

It’s hard exactly to pin down exactly why this is. There are a few possible reasons, but no clear cut answer. First is that goaltenders — for some reason or another — have had a real tough start to the year. The biggest example is what’s happening in Philadelphia, where the normally stalwart tandem of Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth have a combined .876 save percentage. In general, the league’s save percentage is down this year as well, from .915 to .908.

Maybe in part to that is the World Cup effect, where goal scorers are on a tear after a three-week warmup tournament. Eight of the NHL’s top 10 scorers so far this year participated in the tournament. It could also be the influx of rookie players this season, where you can point to the Maple Leafs as Exhibit A of what the first years have done so far to carve through the league’s best.

The start of the 2016-17 season feels different than just your typical sloppy defensive play that normally opens a new year. Considering the NHL’s average goals per game has fallen almost every season since 2005-06, it’s very likely things will average themselves out over the next seven months. Yet in a time where the league has started to consider ways to generate more scoring, the first month of this new season has been quite the outlier.


Sabres 3, Panthers 0
Penguins 5, Flyers 4
Bruins 1, Red Wings 0
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1
Devils 3, Lightning 1
Wild 4, Stars 0
Blues 1, Kings 0
Avalanche 3, Coyotes 2
Capitals 5, Canucks 2
Sharks 4, Predators 1

* * *

Get the biggest NHL news, rumors, and analysis in your inbox every morning!

* * *

Three things we learned

1. Sidney Crosby continues to do Sidney Crosby things against Philadelphia

We talked last week about Crosby being the Sabres’ boogeyman, but the Penguins captain has 17 goals and 21 assists in 27 regular season games against the Flyers in his career.

In fact, Crosby has more goals against the Flyers than any team in the NHL. It’s no wonder why Philadelphia dislikes him so much.

2. Shea Weber cares not for your narratives

Despite the fallout of the P.K. Subban trade, newly acquired Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber is doing quite well for himself in Montreal. In fact, Weber now has a league-leading three game-winning goals after this blast past Frederik Andersen for his fourth goal of the year.

Oh yeah, and the Canadiens have won seven in a row and are still without a regulation loss.

3. The Bruce Boudreau effect is real in Minnesota

Minnesota is on quite a run to start the new year under a new head coach. The Wild are 6-2-1 and lead the normally deadly Central with 13 points in the final days of October. Of course, the Wild started extremely well last year too before collapsing in the latter half of the season, but Boudreau is a regular season wizard and has seemingly sparked life into what was an uninspiring Minnesota team last season.

Impact Moment

The Flyers had the best opening period of the season and it was all done in after the Penguins scored three goals in 55 seconds.

Stat of the Night

The Bruins are 4-0 when Tuukka Rask is playing between the pipes as well.