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How Many Games in NHL Season? – Everything You Need to Know

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Do you know how many games in NHL season is always helpful? Are you at the start, the middle, or the end of something? Does your team have a chance to still get into the playoffs?

Every NHL team plays 82 games in a season, with 41 games at home and 41 on the road. Each team will also play seven or eight exhibition games, and 16 will make it to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let’s break down how an NHL season would go for each team (and who they would play), starting with the Exhibition Season, the regular season, and the playoffs.

How Many Games in NHL Season?

The NHL season runs from October to April, and each team plays 82 games. Based on their standings at the end of the regular season, 16 teams get to play in the playoffs. Teams in the playoffs play in a tournament where teams are eliminated individually. Teams can play anywhere from 4 to 28 more games.

Don’t forget that teams also play preseason games, which will count toward the total number of games, whether or not they are essential.

Season Structure of the NHL

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) season comprises two parts: the regular season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. During the regular season, which usually goes from the beginning of October to the beginning of April, each team plays 82 games, which are used to figure out where they stand.

The three best teams in each division and two wild card teams from each conference make the playoffs. This is where the Stanley Cup champion is decided.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs

At the end of the regular season, sixteen teams qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. This is an elimination tournament with three rounds of best-of-seven series to decide which team from each conference will play in the Stanley Cup Final.

There are six teams in each conference, and the top three teams in each division get automatic spots. The next two teams in each conference get “wild-card” spots. In the First Round, the top team in the conference plays the wild card with the lowest ranking, and the other division winner plays the wild card with the highest ranking. In each division, the second and third-place teams play each other. During the First Round, a group or bracket is made up of the top-ranked team in a division, a wild card team, and the second and third-ranked teams in the same division.

The two winners will play each other in the Second Round. Who plays each other in the Stanley Cup Finals will be decided by the winners of the Western Conference Finals (Pacific vs. Central divisional bracket winners) and Eastern Conference Finals (Atlantic vs. Metropolitan divisional bracket winners).

Pre-Season

Usually, the NHL pre-season takes place in the last two weeks of September. About six to eight games are played by each team in exhibitions. These games give coaches a chance to see how their teams are doing and give new players a chance to try out for roster and position spots. They also give experienced players a chance to practice before a game. Teams can also play games with split squads, where different parts of the team’s roster play different games.

There may be a few preseason games at neutral sites. Since 2006 in Canada and 2015 in the U.S., Kraft Heinz has sponsored the Kraft Hockeyville contests, in which communities compete to host a pre-season game. There have also been plans for a few preseason games to be played overseas, including one between an NHL team and a club from another league overseas.

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NHL Global Series

As part of the NHL Global Series, the NHL will start its season on October 7 with a game in Prague between the San Jose Sharks and the Nashville Predators. The next day, on October 8, the two teams will play again. Since a game in Stockholm in 2019, this is the first NHL game outside of the United States. Last season, the Predators made the playoffs, but they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche, who won the Stanley Cup.

The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Colorado Avalanche will play in the second NHL Global series of the 2022-2023 season on November 4th and 5th in Tampere, Finland. The game will take place at the Nokia Arena, which also held the Men’s Hockey World Championship in 2022. It looks like the NHL Global Series will be a regular event for many years to come.

How to Watch National NHL Games Live?

During the 2022-23 NHL season, all of the games will be shown across the country on ABC, ESPN, TNT, ESPN+, and Hulu. By subscribing to one of the following streaming services, fans will be able to watch all of the exciting plays and game-winning shots on the ice from anywhere on their favorite devices.

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How Many Games are in the Playoffs?

As we’ve already said, teams in the playoffs can play anywhere from 4 to 28 games. In the playoffs, there are four “best of 7” rounds that decide who goes home. The next round will start when the first team to win four games moves on.

So, if a team loses its first four playoff games in the first round, it is out of the competition, and the other team moves on to the second round.

A team, on the other hand, can play all seven games in each round, win the series by a 4-3 score, and have played a total of 28 games. The same thing could happen to the team that came in second in the Stanley Cup Finals, except they lost the last series 4-3.

Keep in mind that the team that wins the Stanley Cup has to win 16 games during the playoffs. Check out this blog post if you want to learn more about how teams get into the playoffs.

Read Also More: How Long Are Hockey Games

NHL League Size And Regular Season Length

With the NHL’s 106th season of operation (105th season of actual play) regular season schedule coming out this week, it’s a good time to think about how this season will compare to the number of teams and regular season games played since the league started 105 years ago.

Years

Games

Teams

1917-1918

22

4

1918-1919

18

3

1919-1924

24

4

1924-1925

30

6

1925-1926

36

7

1926-1931

44

10

1931-1932

48

8

1932-1935

48

9

1935-1938

48

8

1938-1942

48

7

1942-1946

50

6

1946-1949

60

6

1949-1967

70

6

1967-1968

74

12

1968-1970

76

12

1970-1972

78

14

1972-1974

78

16

1974-1978

80

18

1978-1979

80

17

1979-1991

80

21

1991-1992

80

22

1992-1993

84

24

1993-1994

84

26

1994-1995

48

26

1995-1998

82

26

1998-2000

82

28

2000-2004

82

30

2004-2005

0

30

2005-2012

82

30

2012-2013

48

30

2013-2017

82

30

2017-2020

82

31

2020-2021

56

31

2021-2023

82

32

How Many are Home Games in the Season?

During the NHL season, each team plays 41 games at home. This means that teams play the same number of games at home (41) and on the road (41) during the regular season. When the preseason and playoffs are counted, the total number of home and away games will increase, but not always in the same way.

Because teams may play a different number of home and away games during the regular season and because the playoffs are more complicated.

First, each playoff series is best-of-seven, and the first team to win four games wins the series. The team with the higher ranking will play up to 4 games at home and only 3 games away. And not every series in the playoffs goes the whole way (7 games).

Postseason Games

When the 82-game regular season is over, the top 16 teams qualify for the NHL playoffs. When a team makes it to the playoffs, its players will play at least four more games, and if they win, they could play more. In total, a team could play 28 more games if each of the four playoff series goes the full seven games.

The Stanley Cup is played by the teams that won their conferences. The season’s champion is the team that wins the Stanley Cup series.

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How Many Games does Each Team Play in the Exhibition Season?

Mid-September is when NHL teams start training camp to get ready for the start of the regular season in early October. Teams play 7 or 8 exhibition games as part of training camp to get ready for the season. I don’t think these are the most exciting games, and I think that half as many games would be enough.

But the NHL likes the extra money that these things bring in. For example, if you want to buy season tickets for a team, you must also buy tickets to the exhibition games. There is no other way to do it.

Most of the exhibition games will be against the three or four teams that are closest to each other geographically.

How Many Games in the Preseason?

Teams play between 6 and 8 preseasons (or exhibition) games in the last two weeks of September. This gives the coaches time to get to know the new players and get the old ones back up to speed.

In this case, rookies, draft picks, players from an affiliate team, or people who just got their first NHL contract are better terms for the new players.

The idea is to give them a chance to make the opening-day roster and compete with players who are already there.

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How Many Total Games are in the NHL Regular Season? 

There are 32 teams in the NHL, and each of them plays 82 games. How many games are played during the regular season of the NHL?

With 32 teams, the NHL has 1312 games to play during the regular season. The regular season begins in early to mid-October and ends at the start of April. There are no preseason games or games in the playoffs that are part of the 1312 games.

When will the 2022-23 NHL Regular Season Begin?

As part of the 2022 NHL Global Series, the first official games of the 2022–23 NHL season will be played Oct. 7–8 in Prague between the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks.

Back in North America, the Tampa Bay Lightning will host the New York Rangers on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by a game between the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the Los Angeles Kings at 10 p.m. Both games will be shown on ESPN, and you can stream them through the ESPN+ service.

Keep Reading: What Sports Create Wealthiest Athletes

Did NHL Teams Always Play 82 Games? 

No, the number of games an NHL team plays in a season has changed over time. The number of games played each year has gone up over the years, and lockouts and wars have messed up a few seasons. But the seasons have gotten longer in general. At its peak, there were 84 games for two seasons, but now there are 82 games, and I think that will be the number for a while.

Final Thoughts

By the time the Stanley Cup is given out, a tired team may have played as many as 128 games. That’s 8 games in the preseason, 82 games in the regular season, and 28 games in the playoffs.

And to top it all off, the two teams that win the Stanley Cup will have the shortest offseason of any NHL team. The winners will probably enjoy all of the glory, while the runners-up will probably have bad dreams until the next season starts.

For the rest of the teams, the end of the season is no longer a big deal. Those players are either taking a long break with their families, having beers with their friends or just taking it easy on the golf course. The next season will start soon. Getting ready for another 100-game run is almost time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How Many Games in NHL Season?

When do the Capitals play their first game?

The season starts for the Washington Capitals on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. ET when they host the Boston Bruins. The Capitals vs. Bruins game is one of six games that will be played on that Wednesday before the rest of the NHL starts the next day.

How do The NHL Playoffs Will Work?

There are 16 spots in the NHL playoffs and the teams that make it depend on how they did during the regular season. The next four spots go to the next two best teams from each of the Eastern and Western conferences. The name for these teams is “wild cards.” So, eight teams from each conference make it to the playoffs.

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How many games are in the NHL 2022 season?

The NHL announced Wednesday that each team would play 82 of the league’s 1,312 games. The NHL has already said that the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks will start the 2022 regular season with two games at the O2 Arena in Prague on October 7 and 8. (each at 2 p.m. ET).

When did the NHL go to 82 games?

In 1995-96, the League went back to having 82 games, but not before two players set a record that would be hard to beat unless the season gets longer. Jimmy Carson, a center, was traded from Detroit to Los Angeles in 1992–93. That season, he played in 86 games, which was an NHL record.

How many NHL games total per season?

The regular season will end on Friday, April 29, when 30 of the 32 teams play. There will have been 1,312 games or 82 for each team. The Olympics: At this point, no final agreement or decision has been made about whether or not NHL players will participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

How long is an NHL season?

The league went back to its usual schedule of 82 games from October to April.

What is the NHL playoff format for 2022?

In the first round of the playoffs, the team with the most points in each conference plays the second wild card team. The top wild card team will play against the division winner with the second-most points. Each series will be made up of the best seven games.

What are the most shots in an NHL game?

The Montreal Maroons and the Detroit Red Wings set the record for most shots in a game with 92 on March 24, 1936. The Red Wings won that game 1-0 in the sixth overtime, which means their goalie stopped all 92 shots.

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