How To Calculate Winning Percentage In Hockey? [Ultimate Guide!]

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One of the most common questions fans ask about the Boston Bruins is – “With all this talent, why isn’t the team winning more games?” That is a legitimate question, especially since the team has a losing record for several seasons now. The fact is, it is very difficult to calculate the true winning percentage of an NHL team. Many factors go into wins and losses, and they cannot always be directly attributed to a coach, a team, or an individual player. That being said, there are some key metrics that we can use to get a better idea of how teams are performing and where they fit in the standings.

The Basics

In the regular season, an NHL team will play 68 games. After the season, the team will play a series of five-game mini-matches to determine their playoff seeding. The final standings are then determined by averaging the points from the first four rounds of the playoffs. The mini-matches do not count in the standings, but they do determine who qualifies for the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. The mini-matches do not guarantee a win or loss. They are mostly for seeding purposes.

The NHL does not disclose detailed game logs from the regular season. However, we can gather a lot of information from several different sources, including box scores, official NHL websites, and sportsbooks. We will use stats from box scores to calculate our winning percentages, as they are more readily available. For example, if we look at BOS as an abbreviation for the Boston Bruins, we can determine their overall record just by counting the number of games they win and lose.

Wins And Losses

The hardest part of calculating a winning percentage is assessing how many games a team actually won or lost. In the case of the Boston Bruins, let’s look at their record in each of the past three seasons.

  • 2018 – 40-34-8 (0.537 wins)
  • 2017 – 39-34-7 (0.518 wins)
  • 2016 – 36-38-8 (0.479 wins)

The team has actually lost more games than they have won during those three seasons. In fact, they are currently last in the NHL in terms of wins and losses. That being said, they do have a decent win percentage considering the circumstances. The Bruins have had a losing record in three consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1970s. They also have the fewest wins in the league since the 2005-06 season.

Goals For Versus Goals Against

Analyst Joe Starkey of has done an outstanding job of gathering data on NHL scoring over the past decade. With that being said, it is still very difficult to accurately calculate a team’s goals for versus goals against. The main reason is that not all goals for are created equal. Some players score a lot of goals and some players allow a lot of goals. Fortunately, we can still get a decent estimate of a team’s goals for and against based on shooting percentage, possession percentage, and score differential. In the case of the Boston Bruins, we will use their goal-for percentage and the goals-against percentage to determine their goals-for versus goals-against ratio. With that information, we can then estimate how many goals they score per game and how many goals they allow per game. It is not an exact science, but it is a much more reliable method than relying on box score stats alone.

Total Shots On Goal

Another difficult bit of data to quantify is shot attempts. There are several different types of shots, including penalty shots, power shots, and shots from the point. Each category has its own shot attempts, and we need a formula to add them all up. That is a tough one, and there are several different techniques to get an accurate shot totals. One of the most reliable ways is to use a points-per-game scoring system. The key is to find a way to accurately quantify each shot attempt because too many other variables can affect a team’s shooting percentage, such as goaltending, defenseman’s contribution, and score differential. We will use a few metrics to estimate the total number of shots on goal for a team. First, we need to determine the shooting percentage for the team. We will then be able to estimate the total number of shots on goal using standard formula: [(Shooting percentage x 4) + (Shooting percentage x 2)] x 2 = Total Shots On Goal.

Penalty Shots

Another important factor that affects a team’s scoring is the number of penalty shots they take. There are several reasons why this is an important factor to consider. First, a penalty shot is worth one point regardless of whether the penalty is successful or not. Second, penalty shots tend to clog up the net, preventing good scoring chances for the other team. Third, taking a penalty shot gives the other team good motivation to defend against the shot. Finally, the team that takes the most penalties usually wins. You would think that the last two points would make it the most important factor to consider, but the first two points mentioned above are more important to consider. That being said, penalty shots are not always a bad thing, and they can even be advantageous at times. For example, a power play goal scored in overtime with a penalty shot is worth two points. That is a good outcome, considering the situation. It is difficult to say what percentage of a team’s wins can be attributed to penalty shots, but in a vacuum, taking a penalty shot can increase a team’s win percentage.

Unsuccessful Shots

Unsuccessful shots are generally the result of bad luck or poor defense. Unsuccessful shots allow an enemy team to score. It can also result in a breakaway or a one-timer from the point that ends up in the back of the net. Unsuccessful shots are basically a negative factor in a team’s scoring. We will use several different metrics to estimate the total number of unsuccessful shots. First, we will look at the team’s shooting percentage. That is generally a good indicator of how few shots the team is actually taking. We will then estimate the total number of unsuccessful shots based on a few different formulas. One of the easiest ways is to take a simple average of the total number of shots and the unsuccessful shots. That is all there is to it – the team takes a few shots, and then we know how many are unsuccessful. Other methods include using a points-per-game scoring system and performing a regression analysis.

Shots On Goal After Two Breaks

Once we have a good estimate of a team’s shots on goal, we can work on calculating several other important statistics concerning shot attempts. One of the most important statistics is the number of shots on goal after two breaks. Two breaks are when the defensemen exit their zone and enter the neutral zone, either for a change of lines or to pick up a puck. Once the defensemen exit the neutral zone, the puck is considered to be in the offensive zone, and any shot is worth a goal. Shots on goal after two breaks is an important statistic because it shows how well the defensemen are protecting the net. The defensemen can either prevent the other team from scoring or allow the other team to score a good number of goals. In the case of the Boston Bruins, we will use two breaks to determine how many goals they score per game and how many goals they allow per game. They are one of the few teams in the league that actually use two defense pairs in a tight game, so it is essential that they are doing something right.

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