Skip to main content
Site officiel des Buffalo Sabres

BTB BLOG: WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU CHANGE THE POINTS SYSTEM?

by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
Beyond the Boards is written by the Buffalo Sabres Website Manager, Brian Wheeler. Joining the Sabres prior to the 2003-04 season, Wheeler is the main contact and content editor for Sabres.com. He has worked in the NHL, NFL, AHL and NLL over the past 11 years.  Click here to send him an email.


 
Patrick Kaleta (Photo: Bill Wippert)

The debate over the current points system always seems to heat up when playoffs begin. It's a constant barrage of, "[insert team] would have made the cut if [insert a statistical column in the standings] was valued more."

But how much of a difference would a three-point or even a four-point victory system make in the current race that could come down to a photo finish?

Well if you're a Sabres fan (I like my odds on that guess since you're on Sabres.com), it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.

Unlike some clubs, the lion share of Buffalo's wins have come in regulation, 82 percent to be precise. So any change regarding points for overtime wins or losses, or shootout wins or losses for that matter, would not have a very profound effect on their place at the table.

Meanwhile, it would shake up the top eight.

[Note: The standings are current through March 16 and I'm aware some teams have played more games. This is just a demonstration. If you want to download the excel sheet that I used for this exercise, so you can play around with it (update, experiment, etc.), click here.]

[Note 2: No, I'm not going to segment overtime losses and shootout losses and don't ask me to. I think it would be a very bad idea, and much too confusing, to start giving out seperate point values for those two. For the sake of time, I'm only doing the Eastern Conference.]

[Note 3: These standings include tie breakers.]

[Note 4: The key is such: RW = Regulation Win; OTW = Overtime Win; SHW = Shootout Win; OT = Overtime/Shootout Loss]

These are just the standings. Download the excel sheet for the full range of numbers.

Keep in mind, these diagrams are very superficial. Meaning, they don't take into consideration things like how coaching philosophies would change at the ends of games with more/less points on the line.

So without future adieu... here are multiple scenarios for points systems.

CURRENT POINTS SYSTEM -
RW = 2 points; OTW = 2; SHW = 2; OT = 1

 

Team

Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
New Jersey
Montreal
Carolina
Pittsburgh
Ottawa
NY Rangers
Boston
Philadelphia
90
89
83
89
87
83
83
80

9
10
11
13
13
14
15
SABRES
Washington
Florida
Toronto
NY Islanders
Atlanta
Tampa Bay
79
78
78
74
71
70
66

THREE/TWO/TWO/ONE POINTS SCHEME -
RW = 3 points; OTW = 2; SHW = 2; OT = 1

 

Team

Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Pittsburgh
Montreal
Carolina
New Jersey
Ottawa
Philadelphia
Boston
NY Rangers
122
121
116
121
121
112
111
110

9
10
11
13
13
14
15
SABRES
Washington
Florida
Toronto
NY Islanders
Tampa Bay
Atlanta
107
104
104
98
94
91
86

[Movement: ATL down; TB up; PHI up; BOS up; NYR down; PIT up; NJ down.]

THREE/TWO/TWO/ZERO POINTS SCHEME-
RW = 3 points; OTW = 2; SHW = 2; OT = 0

 

Team

Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
New Jersey
Ottawa
Carolina
Pittsburgh
Montreal
Boston
Philadelphia
NY Rangers
115
114
111
115
112
102
102
101

9
10
11
13
13
14
15
Washington
SABRES
Florida
Toronto
NY Islanders
Tampa Bay
Atlanta
96
96
96
88
87
83
78

[Movement: ATL down; TB up; PHI up; BOS down; NYR down; OTT up; MTL down.]

THREE/ONE/ONE/ZERO POINTS SCHEME-
RW = 3 points; OTW = 1; SHW = 1; OT = 0

 

Team

Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Ottawa
Pittsburgh
Carolina
New Jersey
Montreal
Philadelphia
Boston
NY Rangers
108
107
105
104
104
99
93
91

9
10
11
13
13
14
15
SABRES
Florida
Washington
Toronto
Tampa Bay
NY Islanders
Atlanta
90
87
87
80
79
78
63

[Movement: ATL down; TB up; PHI up; BOS up; NYR down; PIT up; NJ down; MTL down.]

THREE/TWO/ONE/ZERO POINTS SCHEME-
RW = 3 points; OTW = 2; SHW = 1; OT = 0

 

Team

Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Ottawa
New Jersey
Carolina
Pittsburgh
Montreal
Philadelphia
Boston
NY Rangers
111
110
110
108
108
101
96
94

9
10
11
13
13
14
15
SABRES
Washington
Florida
Toronto
NY Islanders
Tampa Bay
Atlanta
94
93
91
85
83
81
69

[Movement: ATL down; TB up; PHI up; BOS up; NYR down; OTT up; MTL down; NJ down.]

TWO/TWO/TWO/ZERO POINTS SCHEME-
RW = 2 points; OTW = 2; SHW = 2; OT = 0

 

Team

Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
New Jersey
Pittsburgh
Ottawa
Montreal
Carolina
NY Rangers
Boston
Philadelphia
84
82
80
80
78
74
74
70

9
10
11
13
13
14
15
Washington
Florida
SABRES
NY Islanders
Toronto
Atlanta
Tampa Bay
70
70
68
64
64
62
58

[Movement: FLA/WAS up. Not positive on the OTT/MTL tie breaker]

TWO/TWO/TWO/ZERO POINTS SCHEME-
RW = 4 points; OTW = 3; SHW = 2; OT = 1

 

Team

Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Ottawa
New Jersey
Pittsburgh
Montreal
Carolina
Boston
Philadelphia
NY Rangers
84
82
80
80
78
74
74
70

9
10
11
13
13
14
15
Washington
Florida
SABRES
NY Islanders
Toronto
Atlanta
Tampa Bay
70
70
68
64
64
62
58

[Movement: FLA/WAS up; BUF down; NYR down; OTT up]

My personal favorite is the Three/Two/One/Zero scheme.  I just like the idea that a point is removed each time the game isn't ended in the allotted span.  If it's not won in regulation, the overtime-winning goal would only earn two points.  Shootouts wins?  That's just one point.  The loser gets nothing


If you're interested, here are the tie breakers.

If two or more clubs are tied in points during the regular season, the standing of the clubs is determined in the following order:

1. The fewer number of games played (i.e., superior points percentage).
2. The greater number of games won.
3. The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any "odd" games, shall be used to determine the standing.
4. The greater differential between goals for and against for the entire regular season.

 
To see more posts on the Beyond the Boards blog, visit its index page.
View More