NHL Eliminates Shootout Wins From Tiebreaking Procedure
While nothing has changed (as of now) in terms of play on the ice, the league has made one change that could have an impact on the standings.
ESPN's E.J. Hradek reported this weekend that the NHL has decided to eliminate shootout wins from its tiebreaking procedure, which will now include only regulation and overtime wins. The rule was first proposed by Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson back in March.
The shootout has been a polarizing addition to the NHL since it first began during the 2005-06 season. On the final day of the 2009-10 regular season, the Philadelphia Flyers secured their trip to the postseason thanks to a shootout win against the New York Rangers. Had the Rangers won, it would have been them going to the playoffs. The Flyers, of course, ended up going all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, where they ultimately lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
Had this rule been in place last year it would not have changed any of the playoff teams around the league, and its impact over the past couple of seasons would have been minimal at best.
The Flyers were tied with the Montreal Canadiens with 88 points at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff tree in 2010, with the Flyers getting the No. 7 seed and a first-round matchup with the New Jersey Devils due to tiebreaker. Montreal, as the No. 8 seed, ended up playing the top-seeded Washington Capitals.
Under the new rule, the standings would have still remained the same, as the Flyers would have remained ahead of the Canadiens, winning 37 regulation and overtime games to Montreal's 32.
The Flyers were involved in a similar situation the previous year, finishing the regular season in a tie for the No. 4 and 5 spots with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 99 points. The Penguins, with 45 wins, earned the higher seed (the Flyers had 44 wins), as well as home-ice advantage in the first round. In this case, however, the two teams would have been flipped as the Flyers would have won the new tiebreaker thanks to their 40 regulation and overtime wins to Pittsburgh's 39.