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How Many Goals Does It Take To Win 16 Playoff Games?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For two straight years the Pittsburgh Penguins scored 70+ (73, 77) total playoff goals en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories. The Penguins roughly averaged 18 goals scored per round over their past two postseasons. Based off recent playoff history, the team that scores 70-80 goals over four rounds will usually end up hoisting the cup.

Here are the past four NHL postseason’s broken down by Goals For (GF) and Goals Against (GA). I examined the Cup champion and the runner-up over the past four seasons.

2017

  • Stanley Cup Champions: Pittsburgh Penguins
    • 77 Goals For/ 57 Goals Against
      • Round One: 21 GF/13 GA (won series 4-1)
      • Round Two: 20 GF/18 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Conference Finals: 17 GF/13 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 19 GF/13 GA (won series 4-2)
  • Western Conference Champs: Nashville Predators
    • 60 Goals For/47 Goals Against
      • Round One: 13 GF/3 GA (won series 4-0)
      • Round Two: 15 GF/11 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Conference Finals: 19 GF/14 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 13 GF/19 GA (lost series 4-2)

2016

  • Stanley Cup Champs: Pittsburgh Penguins
    • 73 Goals For/54 Goals Against
      • Round One: 21 GF/10 GA (won series 4-1)
      • Round Two: 16 GF/14 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Conference Finals: 21 GF/18 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 15 GF/12 GA (won series 4-2)
  • Western Conference Champs: San Jose Sharks
    • 75 Goals For/56 Goals Against
      • Round One: 16 GF/11 GA (won series 4-1)
      • Round Two: 25 GF/17 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Conference Finals: 22 GF/13 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 12 GF/15 GA (lost series 4-2)

2015

  • Stanley Cup Champions: Chicago Blackhawks
    • 69 Goals For/59 Goals Against
      • Round One: 19 GF/21 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Round Two: 13 GF/7 GA (won series 4-0)
      • Conference Finals: 24 GF/22 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 13 GF/9 GA (won series 4-2)
  • Eastern Conference Champs: Tampa Bay
    • 66 Goals For/62 Goals Against
      • Round One: 17 GF/15 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Round Two: 15 GF/13 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Conference Finals: 21 GF/21 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 9 GF/13 GA (lost series 4-2)

2014

  • Stanley Cup Champions: Los Angeles Kings
    • 87 Goals For/70 Goals Against
      • Round One: 26 GF/22 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Round Two: 19 GF/15 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Conference Finals: 27 GF/23 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 15 GF/10 GA (won series 4-1)
  • Eastern Conference Champs: New York Rangers
    • 69 Goals For/60 Goals Against
      • Round One: 19 GF/16 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Round Two: 15 GF/14 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Conference Finals: 20 GF/15 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 10 GF/15 GA (lost series 4-1)

You’ll notice that each Stanley Cup championship team scored 69+ goals, and had a goal differential of ten or more goals over four separate series. The good news for Golden Knights fans is Vegas averages 22.8 goals for per seven games.

We also broke down each first round matchup over the past four postseasons. The NHL opening rounds can get very hectic. Since 2014, thirteen lower seeded teams moved on to the second round. Also, three times a series clinching team gave up more goals than their opponent.

2017: First Round Series Winners GF/GA
PIT 21 GF/13 GA
WAS 18 GF/16 GA
OTT 15 GF/13 GA
NYR 14 GF/11 GA (Lower seed won)
EDM 12 GF/14 GA
NAS 13 GF/3 GA (Lower seed won)
ANA 14 GF/9 GA
STL 11 GF/8 GA (Lower seed won)

2016: First Round Series Winners GF/GA
PIT 21 GF/10 GA
WAS 14 GF/6 GA
TB 12 GF/8 GA
NYI 15 GF/14 GA (Lower seed won)
SJ 16 GF/11 GA (Lower seed won)
NAS 14 GF/17 GA (Lower seed won)
DAL 21 GF/17 GA
STL 19 GF/20 GA

2015: First Round Series Winners GF/GA
CHI 19 GF/21 GA (Lower seed won)
ANA 16 GF/9 GA
CAL 18 GF/14 GA (Lower seed won)
MIN 17 GF/14 GA (Lower seed won)
NYR 11 GF/8 GA
TB 17 GF/15 GA
MTL 12 GF/12 GA
WAS 16 GF/15 GA

2014: First Round Series Winners GF/GA
LAK 26 GF/22 GA (Lower seed won)
ANA 20 GF/18 GA
CHI 17 GF/14 GA (Lower seed won)
MIN 19 GF/16 GA (Lower seed won)
NYR 19 GF/16 GA
PIT 21 GF/18 GA
MTL 17 GF/10 GA (Lower seed won)
BOS 14 GF/6 GA

If Vegas scores 20+ goals in the opening round, their chances of advancing is very high. Over the past four years, only three teams failed to win a first round series scoring 20 goals.

Will these four year trends continue? Or could numbers get more inflated by this season’s offensive explosion? Either way, the Golden Knights have the firepower, speed, and skill to put up series clinching numbers. Oh, add in Marc-Andre Fleury’s (2.65) career postseason GAA and the Golden Knights have the winning formula to succeed.

Is this going to be fun or what?

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2 Comments

  1. Emmy

    It’s gonna be absolutely great, cannot wait to see what our guys are gonna bring to the ice in these playoffs. We are good and strong and have just as much of a chance as anyone …. so bring it on! Go Knights Go WE’RE COMING FOR YOU!!!!

  2. Bent Hermit

    I believe they can get the goals needed to win the cup as long as they stick to their game of speed and skill. If they try to match the physical play of teams like LA and SJ they will lose. Pitt has written the play book for teams like VGK to win the cup. Teams tried to grind the Pens into the ice the last 2 playoff years but they stuck to their game and frustrated the other teams that couldn’t match their speed. Typically the 4th line on most teams is a grinding line to slow the pace of play down. VGK should create a high tempo 4th line with Nosek, Eakin and Carrier. The only purpose of this line is to raise the tempo of play of the game and create match up problems. Belly should be moved up with Tatar and Tuch. Belly is the better center between him and Eakin.

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