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NHL alternative standings 2013-14: What if regulation wins counted for 3 points?

Greg Wyshynski
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Shouldn’t the first 60 minutes matter more than the next five plus the shootout?

That’s the lament for the majority of NHL fans who have grown tired of watching games that descend into conservative snoozers as both teams play for overtime with little incentive to win in the waning moments of regulation.

I’ve long been in favor of making regulation victories worth three points in the standings. It’s illogical not to do it under the current points system: If your aim is to make games more exciting, then it’s an incentive for those tie games that get stuck in pre-OT quicksand; if your aim is parity, then what better way for an also-ran to jet up the standings than with a 3-point-to-no-points win over a rival?

The question then becomes, “Well, what difference would the format actually make on this season?”

It can’t really be answered fully, because coaches and teams would approach a 3-point game differently than they would one under the current format.

But Jeff Klein of the New York Times gave us a glimpse with a calculation of the current NHL season through this filter: 3 points for a 60-minute win; 2 points for an OT or shootout win; 1 point for an OT or shootout loss; and zero points for a regulation loss.

From his Twitter feed on Sunday night, here are the records for teams under that format as compared to the current standings:

Metropolitan (Reg W/OT-SO win/OT-SO loss/Reg L) Record (3-2-1-0) Points Current Record Current Points (Place)
Pittsburgh Penguins 16-3-1-9 53 18-9-1 37 (1st)
New York Rangers 13-1-0-13 41 14-11-2 28 (3rd)
Philadelphia Flyers 11-1-2-12 37 12-12-2 26 (5th)
Washington Capitals 6-8-2-11 36 14-11-2 30 (2nd)
New Jersey Devils 8-3-5-11 35 11-11-5 27 (4th)
Carolina Hurricanes 8-2-5-12 33 10-12-5 25 (6th)
Columbus Blue Jackets 8-2-3-14 31 10-14-3 23 (7th)
New York Islanders 5-3-4-15 25 8-15-4 20 (8th)

As you can see, the 3-point win reshuffles the Meh-tro deck. The Rangers move into second place and the Flyers become a playoff team. The Capitals tumble to fourth due to a lack of regulation wins and the Devils are on the outside of the top four.

Atlantic (Reg W/OT-SO win/OT-SO loss/Reg L) Record (3-2-1-0) Points Current Record Current Points
Boston Bruins 14-4-2-7 53 18-7-2 38 (1st)
Detroit Red Wings 13-1-7-7 48 14-7-7 35 (2nd)
Montreal Canadiens 14-1-3-9 47 15-9-3 33 (4th)
Tampa Bay Lightning 10-6-1-9 43 16-9-1 33 (3rd)
Toronto Maple Leafs 10-4-3-10 41 14-10-3 31 (5th)
Ottawa Senators 9-1-4-13 33 10-13-4 24 (6th)
Florida Panthers 5-2-5-15 24 7-15-5 19 (7th)
Buffalo Sabres 2-4-2-20 16 6-20-2 14 (8th)

The Canadiens would leap over the Lightning into third in this scenario, although they’d actually be farther from the Bruins than in the current format.

Central (Reg W/OT-SO win/OT-SO loss/Reg L) Record (3-2-1-0) Points Current Record Current Points
Chicago Blackhawks 16-4-4-4 60 20-4-4 44 (1st)
St. Louis Blues 15-3-3-4 54 18-4-3 39(2nd)
Colorado Avalanche 15-4-0-6 53 19-6-0 38 (3rd)
Minnesota Wild 12-3-5-8 47 15-8-5 35 (4th)
Nashville Predators 12-1-3-11 41 13-11-3 29 (5th)
Dallas Stars 8-4-4-9 36 12-9-4 28 (6th)
Winnipeg Jets 7-5-4-12 35 12-12-4 28 (7th)

The Central Division is rather unchanged, which is a testament to how good the top five teams have been in regulation.

Pacific (Reg W/OT-SO win/OT-SO loss/Reg L) Record (3-2-1-0) Points Current Record Current Points
Anaheim Ducks 15-3-4-7 55 18-7-4 40 (2nd)
San Jose Sharks 13-5-5-3 54 18-3-5 41 (1st)
Los Angeles Kings 9-7-4-7 45 16-7-4 36 (3rd)
Phoenix Coyotes 10-5-4-7 44 15-7-4 34 (4th)
Vancouver Canucks 9-5-5-10 42 14-10-5 33 (5th)
Calgary Flames 6-3-4-13 28 9-13-4 22 (6th)
Edmonton Oilers 6-3-2-17 26 9-17-2 20 (7th)

The Ducks and Sharks would flip-flop at the top and both teams would create some space between themselves and the Kings.

Again, it’s impossible to really predict how these teams would react knowing that a regulation win was three points. But it’s something we’d obviously love to see, for the sake of our aversion to late-game tedium.

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