NHL Standings ordered by goals per game played

NHL Standings are determined by points. What do the standings look like when ordered by goals per game?

Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche
Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

Halfway through the 2023-24 NHL season, the standings have taken shape in each of the four divisions. The hottest teams this season are the Vancouver Canucks, Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Stars.

Teams at the top of the standings are earning more points than other teams based on wins and overtime losses. But what if we look at the standings ordered by goals per game? Teams that score a lot of goals win a lot of games, right? Usually. It’s worth noting that goals scored for and against per game are season averages that don’t tell the whole story of the outcomes of individual games. Some games are blowout wins, while some are close. Some are high-scoring, and some are low-scoring games. These factors affect the average goals per game stats.

Here's how the NHL teams stack up in goals for per game played, according to NHL.com.

What the NHL Standings look like when ordered by goals for per game played

1. Vancouver Canucks - 3.82
2. Colorado Avalanche - 3.73
3. Dallas Stars - 3.67
4. Detroit Red Wings - 3.56
5. Edmonton Oilers - 3.50
6. Toronto Maple Leafs - 3.48
7. New Jersey Devils - 3.46
8. Carolina Hurricanes - 3.42
9. Ottawa Senators - 3.33
9. Winnipeg Jets - 3.33
11. Boston Bruins - 3.30
11. New York Rangers - 3.30
11. Tampa Bay Lightning - 3.30
14. Los Angeles Kings - 3.27
15. Calgary Flames - 3.16
15. Florida Panthers - 3.16
17. Nashville Predators - 3.11
18. Vegas Golden Knights - 3.09
19. Pittsburgh Penguins - 3.02
20. Arizona Coyotes - 3.00
20. Columbus Blue Jackets - 3.00
22. Buffalo Sabres - 2.95
23. New York Islanders - 2.93
24. Philadelphia Flyers - 2.86
24. Minnesota Wild - 2.86
26. St. Louis Blues - 2.81
27. Seattle Kraken - 2.80
28. Montreal Canadiens - 2.70
29. Anaheim Ducks - 2.50
30. Washington Capitals - 2.33
31. Chicago Blackhawks - 2.23
32. San Jose Sharks - 1.98

Some of the rankings are surprising when compared to the teams’ placement in the actual standings, while some are not. The top two teams and the bottom two teams on this list are no surprise. The Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche are two of the top teams in the Western Conference in points. The Canucks have the most points in the Pacific Division, while the Avalanche trail only the Winnipeg Jets in the Central Division. The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks are the worst teams in the NHL this season. They have the least points in the league.

The Jets are tied with the Ottawa Senators for ninth in the NHL on this list with 3.33 GF/GP. Looking at the goals against per game played column puts their success into perspective. They’re allowing the least goals in the entire league per game, with 2.29 GA/GP. Their goalie, Connor Hellebuyck, is second in the league in GAA and third in SV%. Elite goaltending is a huge weapon for the Jets.

With 3.33 GF/GP, the Ottawa Senators rank relatively high on this list (ninth) for a team that is in last place in the Atlantic Division and is 30th in the NHL in points. The Senators are having a bad season. They are giving up 3.77 GA/GP. Both of their goalies have a sub-.900 SV%. The Senators are scoring more goals than 22 teams in the NHL, but they’re giving up more goals than 30 teams.

Which other teams stick out on this list compared to the actual NHL standings? With 3.46 GF/GP, the New Jersey Devils have put up an incredible offensive showing, especially considering the injuries they’ve suffered. They rank seventh on this list, yet they’re currently seventh in points out of the eight teams in the Metropolitan Division and are tied for 20th in points in the NHL. How is a team that is scoring so many goals in this position? Poor defense and terrible goaltending. The Devils are fifth-worst in the league in goals against per game, with 3.49 GA/GP. 

The Washington Capitals are in the thick of a tight wild-card race in the Eastern Conference. They’re 17th in the league in points, putting them in the middle of the pack. Yet, the Capitals have 3.33 GF/GP which puts them at 30th in the NHL in goals per game. They’re only allowing 2.88 GA/GP. This is the 11th-best in the NHL.

With 3.09 GF/GP, the Vegas Golden Knights are 18th on this list, which is low for a team considered a Stanley Cup contender. The reigning champions are second in the Pacific Division and have the eighth-most points in the NHL. They’re allowing the eighth-fewest goals in the league. Despite not scoring as many goals per game as teams like the Canucks and Avalanche, the Golden Knights are still winning games.

While goals scored is a big indicator of a team’s success, goals scored against can tip the scales. As teams in the thick of the race fight to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, their play on both sides of the ice is meaningful.

Next. NHL Standings ordered by combined regulation and overtime wins. NHL Standings ordered by combined regulation and overtime wins. dark