The Stanley Cup playoffs of 2022 set a new record for empty-net goals

NEW YORK — There are only two minutes left in NEW YORK Game 1 of the Western Conference finals His team was defeated by a goal. Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen He ran to the bench of his team. A minute and half later, Gabriel Landeskog It was a good idea to send the puck into that empty net. It sealed the win for the Colorado Avalanche. It also contributed to an unanticipated NHL record during the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.

In 75 games, 41 empty-net goals were scored, which is a NHL postseason record. The league stated that the previous record was 36 empty-netters. This was achieved twice in 2017-18 in 84 games and then again in 2019-20 in 130 games.

Last season, one player had multiple empty-net goals: Colorado Nathan MacKinnon With three. Through two rounds this season, there are already 4: Toronto Maple Leafs Forward Ilya Mikheyev, New York Rangers Forward Andrew Copp, Tampa Bay Lightning Forward Ondrej Palat Oilers forward Evander Kane.

This postseason saw 37 different players score at least one empty goal.

Why is there such a high number of empty-netters in the world? These are the four main theories.

The Stanley Cup playoffs of 2022 set a new record for empty-net goals

Goals up, empty-net goals up

The NHL saw less than 1% of the NHL's regular season games. its highest goals-per-game average since the 1995-96 season (6.29 in both seasons). The scoring surge led to some remarkable numbers, such as a 60-goal seasons. Auston MatthewsWith four players scoring at least 50 goals, the Florida Panthers Score 4.11 goals per match, which is the highest average score for a team since 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins; and some final scores that night that looked more like MLB than NHL

According to the NHL, it also set a new NHL record for empty net goals in regular season: 477 goals in 1,312 games. This broke the 2018-19 record of 408 empty net goals, which was itself broken by the 368 empty netters set in 2015-16.

The postseason has been impacted by the scoring boom. This postseason has seen 6.43 goals per games through 74 matches, which is 6.84 more than 1992-93 (6.84). With the Oilers and Avalanche playing at minimum three times more after Game 1's 14 goals, who knows where that could lead?


Goalies pulled earlier

Fun fact: The 13 best regular seasons in empty net goals were from 2007-08. This is partly due to expansion: More games equals more goals. This includes the expansion season. Seattle Kraken pumped up the total games played from 1,271 to 1,312 in a non-pandemic-interrupted season. Some of this is due to tactical changes made by coaches. When To draw a goalie.

It is now well known that teams are pulling their goalsies earlier than ever. This trend was first observed in 2014-15, when teams with two or more goals were unable to play and began pulling their goalies in excess of two minutes.

Analytics has a major influence on this. They have been arguing for years that pulling a goalie sooner greatly increases the chance of a team cutting into a deficit or tying the game. As FiveThirtyEight reported in 2015, one statistical model showed that pulling the goalie with 2½ minutes to go gives a team a 19-20% chance of tying the game, but if a coach waits until the one-minute mark, those chances drop to 17%.

However, NHL coaches insist that analytics aren’t the reason behind their goalie-pull strategies.

“It's not an analytical thing for me. They believe I should have let him go at the six-minute mark. Rod Brind'Amour ESPN. “It is a feeling thing to me.”

Gerard Gallant, New York Rangers' coach, agreed.

“It is the gut for me. I might hold off if it's 6-5. If it's 1-0, 2-1, or both, I might move a bit quicker. He said that this is how he does it.


Pulling goalies Even earlier In playoff games

How will that affect the playoffs, with goalie draws becoming more aggressive during the regular season?

Stathletes data shows that teams are more aggressive when pulling their goalie in a seven-game series. With a team trailing one goal by the end of regulation, the average pull time was 1 min, 4 seconds. A team trailing by just one goal is expected to pull in the playoffs at a time of 1:19.

The average regulation time for a goalie in the regular season was 1:44. That number increased to 1;56 with the playoffs. It's clear that even in games where teams have to score two goals to tie, they are determined to do so.

However, Brind'Amour stated that there are times when the game is beyond reach.

“Down two, sure. What about down three? He said that it was a little different.


There are fewer overtimes

Without an empty net, there can't be empty-net goals. The postseason has one peculiarity: there are no overtime games in the first two rounds. There have been only 11 overtime games in 75 games (15%) It's a decrease of 32% from last season, and a drop from 2019-20 (22%), and 2018-19 (20%). It is the lowest total since 2017-18 (when there were only 10 overtimes (12%) and 36 empty net goals — an NHL record at that time.

This was true until the postseason, when the goals started pouring in — regardless of whether there's any goalie in that crease.

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