NHL Standings Explained

How to read the NHL standings.

Winnipeg Jets v Washington Capitals
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It seems no two sources report NHL standings in exactly the same way, so sorting out where your team is and how it got there can be confusing for the hockey beginner.

Rest assured that the statistics used in NHL standings are simple and easy to understand once you get the hang of it. The most important numbers are wins, losses, ties, overtime or shootout losses and points. All other numbers are important only for breaking ties or analyzing strengths, weaknesses and trends.

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See below for an explanation of how NHL conference standings differ from division standings and an outline of tie-breaking procedures used when teams are tied in total points.

Number of games played.

Number of games won. (A team is awarded two points for each win.)

Number of games lost in regulation time.

Games lost in overtime or a shootout. (A team is awarded one point for each overtime or shootout loss.)

Number of games tied. (A team is awarded one point for each tie.)
Note: As of the 2005-06 NHL season, ties are eliminated.

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P or Pts
Total points.

GF or F
Total goals scored by the team.
Note: Goals scored during a shootout do not count towards a team's total. The team winning the shootout is credited with one extra goal in the game and one extra goal in its season total.

GA or A
Total goals allowed by the team.
Note: Goals allowed during a shootout do not count towards a team's total.

The team losing the shootout is charged with one extra goal-against in the game and one extra goal-against in its season total.

Percentage of total points earned from points availabe.

Record at home, expressed as W-L-OTL.

Record away from home, expressed as W-L-OTL.

Record within own division, expressed as W-L-OTL.

Last 10 or L10
Record in last ten games, expressed as W-L-OTL.

Current streak of consecutive wins or losses.

Average goals scored per game.

Average goals allowed per game.

How the standings determine playoff qualification:

The NHL's 30 teams are divided into two conferences, each containing three divisions. The playoff schedule is set according to conference standings. Division standings matter for one reason only: The three division leaders are seeded 1, 2 and 3 in the conference standings.

Otherwise, the standings are determined by total points. If two or more teams are tied in total points, the tie is broken using the following criteria, in order:
- Most wins.
- Most points in games against each other among the tied teams.
- The greater positive differential between goals scored for and against among the tied teams.

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