Where Are Most Hockey Goals Scored? [Updated!]

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More than a few years back, the National Hockey League decided to spice things up a bit. Rather than simply rewarding the team that scored the most goals during the season, they decided to create the Scoring Chance (SC) stat. The idea behind this stat was to give a better indication of which teams were performing the best than just using goals scored. After closely analyzing over 100 million individual scoring chances, the team at hockey-reference.com determined that there was some merit to this idea.

The goal of this article is to determine which states contribute the most to the goal scoring in the NHL. First, we will need to define some key terms. A scoring chance occurs when a player is in a position to score, but misses the puck due to a slip, trip, or other involuntary movement. This could potentially lead to a scoring opportunity. For the purposes of this article, we will define a scoring chance as any situation where a player is within the goal area and has a clear and unobstructed path to the puck, whether or not they successfully score.

Top 5 NHL Scoring States

Taking a look at the top 5 NHL states that contribute the most to their team’s goal scoring fortunes, we find that four out of the top five are located in the Northeastern part of the country. To no one’s surprise, Boston is the clear leader in the goal scoring category, having contributed 649 goals to their team’s total of 7,491 chances (7.9%) last season. The second-place state, New York, comes in a very close second with 639 goals (representing 5.1% of their overall chances) on the board for their team. The third-place state, Pennsylvania, follows closely behind, contributing 597 goals (4.9%) and the final spot goes to the Washington DC area with 592 goals (4.8%).

While New England and the Northeast in general boast some of the best hockey organizations in the country, they haven’t been particularly strong in terms of putting the puck in the net. The top 5 states in terms of goal scoring don’t necessarily have the best hockey in the country; rather, they are just the ones with the highest volume of scoring chances.

NHL On Ice

With over 30,000 miles of ice time accumulated throughout their career, it’s no wonder that Boston Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara has the highest total of goals (695) and points (1,209) in the NHL. The big Estonian has spent more than half of his career in the NHL, having played for six different teams in total. Not only is he one of the best defensemen in the league, but he’s also among the best in terms of putting the puck in the net, having scored 589 goals during his career (representing 4.3% of his total chances). In the 2018-2019 season, Chara became the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals and register 100 assists.

Along with Chara, we find that Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, both of whom play for the Boston Bruins, have put up incredible numbers, despite the fact that Bergeron plays on the right side while Marchand plays on the left. Together, they have 762 goals and 1,018 assists for a total of 1,780 points in the NHL. Both Bergeron and Marchand were named to the NHL All-Star Game this past season, with Bergeron being selected as a starter. This is the third time that two teammates have been selected to the All-Star Game in the same season, with Marchand and Bergeron also earning All-Star berths back-to-back in 2014 and 2015. This season, Bergeron and Marchand joined forces, scoring 15 and 16 goals, respectively, as teammates. The team from Boston also boasts two of the best rookie goaltenders in the NHL: Anders Nilsson and Marcus Chowning.

Hockey’s Golden State

Although California is often associated with entertainment and lifestyle, it actually contributes a lot to the sport of hockey. If you take a quick glance at the state’s population, you will see that there are actually more people who play hockey than in any other state in the country. Thanks to the incredible popularity of the Golden State Warriors, the state’s hockey fans are constantly bolstered, as they have access to lots of exciting hockey content. The team’s dominance in recent years combined with their continual success provides the community with lots of motivation to keep up with the latest news and details on the game. With the Oakland Museum of California, the California Science Center, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, there are lots of reasons to visit California, even if you aren’t a hockey fan.

Traditional Hockey Regions

Although the top 5 states in terms of overall goal scoring aren’t located in the Northeast, there are still many, many, families who live there and support their teams and the game of hockey. To showcase and honor these families, the NHL created the Winter Classic. Annually, the National Hockey League holds a game on New Year’s Day, usually at a venue that is neither too warm nor too cold, to showcase their talents and to provide their fans with a day filled with exciting hockey play. The tradition began in 1996 and was inspired by similar events that took place in the Canadian Football League. Similar to the Winter Classic, the Heritage Classic is an annual game held in April, designed to celebrate the traditional hockey regions of Canada. In the 2018 NHL Heritage Classic, the Montreal Canadiens played the Ottawa Senators, with the hometown fans supporting their team enthusiastically. Like the Winter Classic, the Heritage Classic provides its fans with a day filled with outdoor hockey games. This year will mark the 100th time that the NHL has held the event. It is also the first time that the Heritage Classic will be played in Toronto.

The Rest Of The States

Looking at the remaining 13 states that make up the United States, we find that New York, California, and Florida each contribute around 5% of their teams’ goals, while the other nine states are contributing around 1% each. The overall scoring difference between the three groups is quite significant (1,780 vs. 1,366 vs. 1,359), which means that while New York, California, and Florida have some amazing hockey traditions, the other nine states are also supporting their teams just as much. This article isn’t intended to insult anyone, but it is rather to point out the fact that not all of the United States are created equal when it comes to hockey. One thing is for sure, though: no matter where you are in the country, there is always someone who loves their hockey.

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