With these extra few days between Rounds 2 and 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we thought it would be fun to look at the data behind the scoring to see how it compares to previous playoff years. Let’s take a look.
Playoff scoring versus the regular season
The first thing we wanted to look at is how this season’s playoff goal scoring compared to the regular season and previous years.
For a long time, we heard that scoring in the playoffs was far more difficult when compared to the regular season, but for the second year in a row, playoff scoring seems to be even with or slightly higher than regular-season scoring. However, when we think about it a bit more, we realize the playoff averages only include goals scored from the theoretical 16 best teams in the league, since half the teams don’t qualify. So, if we look at just the playoff teams’ goals in the playoffs versus regular season, we do see that scoring is lower in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Here is a breakdown of how each team’s scoring changed from the regular season to the playoffs on a per-game basis. Seattle scored 3.14 goals per game in the playoffs, down from 3.52 during the regular season.
Playoff goals by game situation
One aspect of this year’s playoffs that is getting a lot of attention is the number of power-play goals being scored. But we looked into it, and it seems to be in line with the last six Stanley Cup Playoff years.
A lot of the narrative could be driven by the Edmonton Oilers, who finished their playoffs with 41 percent of their goals coming from the power play.
Unsurprisingly, only 11 percent of Seattle’s goals came from the power play.
Margin of victory
Another item we wanted to consider is the average margin of victory in the playoffs.
Anecdotally, it has felt like there has been a significant number of blowouts in these playoffs, but the margin of victory is lower than it was last season. It might be more impactful to look at the distribution.
When comparing to last year, it seems like there have not been as many blowouts this year, but what is interesting to look at is that for playoff years in 2019, 2020, and 2021, there were more one-goal games than this year.
I hope this gives you some more insight on goal scoring in the playoffs and adds context to the comments we hear during the television broadcasts. If you have any questions or have an area you want me to dig into, let me know in the comments section.