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First To 10 Wins: What Does It Mean For The Rest Of The Season?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In their 12th game of the season, the Golden Knights reached a plateau that took them 17 games to get to last year and a whopping 23 games to reach back in 2018-19.

Along with the Boston Bruins, Vegas became the first team in the NHL to reach the double-digit win plateau. It’s the first time in Golden Knights history they’ve been the first in the conference to reach 10 wins. It’s not Bruce Cassidy’s first time in this place though, as his Bruins did it two years ago in the shortened season.

The question is, how significant is it to be the first team to reach 10 wins?

The answer is… not much.

Over the course of the last nine years, no team to be the first to reach 10 wins has reached the Cup Final, while three failed to make the playoffs altogether.

The last sentence said nine years because exactly 10 seasons ago, in 2012-13, the Chicago Blackhawks were the first team to reach 10 wins in the lockout-shortened season. They went on to steamroll the entire league on their way to their second of three Cups last decade. However, that team wasn’t like all the rest of the teams to reach 10 wins. First, they are one of just two teams to do it without a regulation loss (last year’s Florida) and they didn’t exactly stop at 10. That Blackhawks team started the season on a 24-game point streak with an insane 21-0-3 record. They finished the year 36-7-5 (the equivalent of 132 points in an 82-game season) before going 16-7 on their way to winning the Cup.

So, in the last 10 years, one team to be the first to reach 10 wins won the Cup.

Before that Hawks team, you have to go back another five seasons to find the first team to do it in a regular year. The 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings went 10-2-1 to start the year, finished 54-21-7 (115 points), and won the Cup in six games over the Penguins.

In the past 15 seasons, there have been 33 teams to be among the first to reach 10 wins in their conference (on multiple occasions teams in the same conference did it on the same day). 28 of the 33 went on to reach the playoffs.

The most recent team to miss the postseason was the 2017-18 St. Louis Blues who got off to a 13-3-1 start before bumbling their way to 94 points, one short of the 8th-seed Avalanche.

Of the 28 that made the playoffs, just 13 advanced past the first round. Since the Golden Knights joined the league, six of the 10 teams to be the first to reach 10 wins either missed the playoffs or lost in the first round, while just two reached the conference final and zero of them played for the Cup, let alone winning it.

Here’s the full breakdown of the last 33 teams to be the first in their conference to reach 10 wins.

Missed Playoffs – 5
Qualifying Round – 1
1st Round – 14
2nd Round – 6
Conference Final – 4
Cup Final Loss – 1
Stanley Cup Champions – 2

One last thing. Of the 33 counted, a total of four of them had exactly a 10-2-0 record when they reached 10 wins. Last year’s Edmonton lost in the Conference Final to the Avs. The 15-16 Canadiens missed the playoffs, the 09-10 Penguins lost in the 2nd round, and the 08-09 Sharks went out in the 1st round.

So, adding it all up, being the first to reach 10 wins in your conference is a pretty strong indicator that you’ll reach the playoffs (85%), but doing much beyond that isn’t as promising as may be expected for teams off to the best start in the league. There’s just a 39% chance you’ll get past the first round, a 21% chance you’ll reach the conference final, and a 6% chance you’ll lift the Cup.

First team to 10 wins in each conference

Florida: 10-0-1 2nd Round
Edmonton: 10-2-0 Conference Final

2020-21 *Shortened season without conferences, these are the first two*
Toronto: 10-2-1 1st Round
Boston: 10-1-2 2nd Round

Washington: 10-2-3 1st Round
Edmonton: 10-4-1 Qualifying Round (Would have made playoffs)

Nashville: 10-3-0 1st Round
Tampa Bay: 10-3-1 1st Round

St. Louis: 10-2-1 Missed Playoffs
Tampa Bay: 10-2-1 Conference Final

Montreal: 10-1-1 1st Round
Chicago: 10-3-1 1st Round

Montreal: 10-2-0 Missed Playoffs
Dallas: 10-3-0 2nd Round

Anaheim: 10-3-0 Conference Final
Pittsburgh: 10-2-1 1st Round
Tampa Bay: 10-3-1 Cup Final
Montreal: 10-4-1 2nd Round

San Jose: 10-1-1 1st Round
Colorado: 10-1-0 1st Round
Toronto: 10-4-0 Missed Playoffs

Chicago: 10-0-2 (21-0-3) Won Cup
Pittsburgh: 10-5-0 Conference Final

Dallas: 10-3-0 Missed Playoffs
Toronto: 10-5-1 Missed Playoffs

Los Angeles: 10-3-0 1st Round
Washington: 10-4-0 2nd Round

Pittsburgh: 10-2-0 2nd Round
Colorado: 10-1-2 1st Round

New York Rangers: 10-2-1 1st Round
San Jose: 10-2-0 1st Round

Detroit: 10-2-1 Won Cup
Ottawa: 10-1-0 1st Round






  1. Jake

    I would guess the odds of winning The Cup or getting into the playoffs is higher if you are the first to 10 wins, rather than the last to 10 wins.

  2. Emmanuel Docazal

    They are a W away from Cup favorites (pending health in the playoffs).

  3. THE hockey GOD

    every day this site approaches the level of Jerry Seinfeld 90s programs. In other words a sports site about ”
    not much” errr., opps Nothing !

    • Richie-Rich

      Must be a slow day for Ken. I think his time would have been better spent on the Thompson, Hill, Brossoit goaltending decision(s) that are forthcoming. Jerry Seinfeld indeed, “much about nothing”!

      It’s way too early to project anything based on this very good start to the season. I already knew coming in that Logan would stand tall in the crease. I was very concerned about who would be the #2. Hill is currently undefeated and is looking very sharp.

      We will know a lot more about this team’s chemistry and identity come mid-January, not sooner than that. Keep in mind that there are still some very tough CAP and roster decisions that are going to have to be made in the next few weeks.

  4. THE hockey GOD


    Two longtime San Diego radio hosts are signing off the airwaves.

    Dave Rickards and Cookie “Chainsaw” Randolph, co-hosts of the “DSC” morning radio show on 101.5 KGB, will be retiring this December, iHeartMedia San Diego announced Tuesday.

    Rickards and Randolph began their San Diego team up in 1990, forming “The Dawn Patrol” on 101.5 KGB with other longtime co-host Shelly Dunn, who retired in

    “It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a group of people come together and create magic. That’s what happened 32 years ago when ‘DSC’ hit the airwaves on 101.5 KGB,” said a quote attributed to Shauna Moran, Program Director of 101.5 KGB.

    Following in his fathers footsteps as a radio personality, Rickards said he knew it was time to retire.

    “Not too long ago, Chainsaw and I looked at each other and we knew it was time. There was no regret, no sadness. When you’ve been supported by the greatest radio audience ever for over three decades, there’s no room for anything but profound gratitude,” Rickards said.

    Randolph, who is popularly known by his nickname Chainsaw, started his radio career as a student at Fresno State, before being recruited by 101.5 KGB in 1986.

    “Getting up and performing these past few decades for our wonderful KGB audience has been, by far, the greatest privilege of my career. It’s been a blast and I’m forever grateful,” Chainsaw said.

    Rickards will continue to work with 101.5 KGB in an ambassador role and as a podcast host, iHeartMedia said in a news release.

    Current “DSC” cast members Sarah Beebe(1) and Chris Boyer will continue as the hosts of the KGB Morning Show.

    “Having been the alarm clock for this city for all these years has been an honor I could have never dared hope for,” Rickards said. “Knowing that Chris Boyer and Sarah Beebe will still be here is sure to provide a familiar wake up for our beloved audience.”

    (1) Sarah was lucky enough to be asked to appear for one night only in Vegas’s brand hew show taking the strip by storm! “Bat Out Of Hell” is a musical based on Jim Steinman & Meatloaf’s greatest hits, and features star-crossed lovers fighting for love in this “Rock Horror Picture Show” meets “Romeo & Juliet” meets “Peter Pan” spectacle! See it now at The Paris, Las Vegas!


  5. Vic

    Points in Oct and Nov count just like points in the spring. The keys will be staying healthy and having a team built for the playoffs. Will the VGK be a team built for the playoffs? Not sure at this point, but a nice start.

  6. Tim

    It’s really quite simple at this pace 10 & 2 will equate to 65 wins and 17 losses which would give us 130 points and the Presidents trophy. Now how close we come to that is in the hands of Cassidy almighty.

  7. G

    I love analysis like this. It almost seems (to a certain extent) like the more success a team has the less likely they are to win the cup.

  8. THE hockey GOD

    The thud of Eddie’s body hitting the fender of the truck woke me up.

    Where I sat, in the passenger seat of the cab, it was dark and cold. Outside, some kind of light gleamed down over Eddie and a man I’d never seen before, talking. Laughing. Big lacy flakes of snow fell around them, fluttering into and out of the glow like moths.

    Whoever this guy was, he took Eddie in his arms and pushed their foreheads together, kissing him softly, and then bringing more passion to the party like he couldn’t help himself. Like he was starving and Eddie was a tree of perfectly ripe peaches and he just had to have some or die.

    Eventually, he pinned Eddie against the truck and held his face between big knobby hands. He pressed steamy openmouthed kisses on Eddie’s lips.

    Eddie. I’d spent a lot of years trying not to imagine what he looked like horny, but there he was, lit up like a neon sign because of another man. He looked damned good. Handsome and happy. Kind of fierce.

    I wished he looked at me like that, or someone would, anyway. Someone not Eddie. Someone else, fierce and fine like Eddie, but not.

    I’d lived with him, bunked with him, eaten and camped out, and gone drinking and chasing tail with him—or so I thought—and he never let on he was gay until just recently.

    Now, Eddie’s naked hunger made whole my body tighten. He looked alive in a way I’d never seen him before, and damn. The sight of him like that made me think things I had no business thinking and want things I could never have.

    But right then, whether I had any business thinking about Eddie didn’t stop me imagining I was on the receiving end of his kisses.

    I must be drunker than I thought.

    While I watched, Eddie and the stranger changed positions, and Eddie sank to his knees in the snow. He must have been digging into the stranger’s jeans in the shadows where I couldn’t see because seconds later, Eddie tilted his head, diving and pulling back, bobbing up and down, and leaving trails of saliva and steam on the man’s cock.

    The stranger’s head tipped back on his shoulders and his hat fell off.

    Seemed like a nice face. A lived-in face, the way it was frosted by light and pitted by shadow.

    He hung there, mouth slack, blowing billows of fog toward the sky. He looked like a weathered graveyard angel getting serviced by my friend Eddie—a man I’d never known at all.

    When the stranger’s climax came, I saw but didn’t hear his shout of joy. He clutched Eddie’s head to his groin, while Eddie worked himself, quaking with whole-body shudders in the shadows. It didn’t take long before he went still. Afterward he stood up, sagging into the stranger’s arms. They rocked against the truck where I sat, mesmerized by them.

  9. Jailbird

    Ok boys let’s keep it rolling tonight against the Habs! A full 60 would be nice!

  10. Sorvino

    Should I bet on this game?

    Vegas can’t win every single game. Beat Washington and Ottawa without there best performances although they weren’t awful either.

    Do they lose tonight because the law of averages says so or do they put in a better game than they played against Washington or Ottawa and easily dispatch of Montreal.

    • Tim

      Sorvino, Personally I think were going 4 & 1 on the road trip the only loss being to Toronto who are in a do or die made.

  11. Sorvino

    Buffalo can be tough and interesting as well. They will be pumped up to beat Jack Eichel.

    • Buckeye63

      Hoping that Eichel is pumped up as well to beat a former team. It’s gonna be a good one for sure with Tuch out there too

  12. Buckeye63

    So you’re saying that history repeats the past, Ken? Get in the now and quit throwing out stats based on shit from the past. The teams that are on the ice now aren’t the teams that were playing 2-10 years ago.

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