# How many games are in an NHL season?

When you check the standings, knowing how many games a team plays in a season is helpful. Do they still have a chance to make it to the playoffs? Are they at the beginning, middle, or end of the season? How many games are in an NHL season?

As of 2023, the NHL has 32 teams and each of them play 82 games –- so what is the total number of games played during the NHL regular season? Yep you guessed it — 1,312. The 82 game format has been around since the 1995-96 season. Before that, teams played 84 games.

Each team has 41 home games and 41 away games. Additionally, they play 7 or 8 exhibition games, and 16 teams qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. The season starts with training camp in mid-September, followed by the Exhibition Season, the regular season, and then playoffs.

## How many games are in an NHL season?

Each team plays 7 or 8 exhibition games during training camp against the 3-4 closest teams geographically. However, according to ESPN, the NHL and NHLPA (Players Association) recently  discussed the idea of scrapping two preseason contests and making them regular season games. It would make the regular season 84 games again instead of 82. The reason is because some teams had expressed their disapproval of the “Imbalanced number of division games against rivals”.

During the 82-game regular season, teams play an average of 2-to-5 games at home, followed by 2-to-5 games on the road. They play an average of 7-8 home and road games per month, with games often scheduled every other night. The NHL regular season schedule consists of 26 games against teams in their division, 24 games against the other division in their Conference, and 32 games against teams in the opposing Conference. For each win, teams receive two points in the standings. They receive one point overtime/shootout loss, but zero if it’s in regulation. The NHL regular season isn’t a sprint. Rather it’s a marathon.

The prize for surviving  this marathon is a trip to the 16- team Stanley Cup playoffs!

The  playoffs consist of 16 teams, 12 placed in the playoff bracket according to their Conference and division, and four qualifying as wild card teams. Teams must win four rounds of best-of-seven series to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. The team that emerges victorious is crowned Stanley Cup Champions.