Five Teams Benefitting from the Bettman Point
An overtime or shootout situation inherently has a high degree of randomness. To be sure, the better team is still more likely to win and some players seem particularly suited to the situations found after regulation wins, but reducing things to a next goal wins contest helps to even the playing field.
Aside from that, there’s a lot of variation from one season to the next over which teams make it to the extra frame, and with simply playing in overtime being worth an extra point, it stands to reason that this can have a big effect on the NHL standings.
Take the Phoenix Coyotes as an example. Last season, they played only 11 overtime games, collecting just four wins and 15 points – both totals the lowest in the league. This year, they’ve played in 19 games, managing 33 points – or an 18 point increase based entirely on the back of points recorded after regulation. That’s the difference between 4th in the West and 12th in the West.
Shootout points are even less stable. The New York Rangers led the league in shootout wins last season, with 10. This year they have two, and they’ve gone from collecting 26 points (10-6 record) to taking home just seven points this year (2-3 record). Other teams have fluctuated wildly; for instance the 2007-08 Edmonton Oilers were the best team in league history in the shootout, with a 15-4 record, but the year prior they’d gone 3-3 and the year following they went 6-4. Or to express it in terms of total points, they went from nine to 34 and then back down to 16.
The point in all of this is that some teams are going to be blessed with Bettman points, while others are not. I’m not especially worried about changing the three point game, but it is important to know which teams have been benefitting from it – and consequently might be overrated heading into the post-season. What follows are the five teams gaining the most from the NHL points system this season.
1. Montreal Canadiens
OT/SO Record: 15-6-0
Points Over Average: 12
Standings Change: 7th to 14th
The Canadiens have had phenomenal luck this season, not only playing in a lot of three point games but also boasting an impressive 0.714 winning percentage in those contests. Last year they were just 0.500 in extra time, and if they had recorded the league average (24 points) so far this season they’d be sitting in 14th in the East rather than in one of the final two playoff spots.