Best and Worst NHL Teams In Goals By Period

Best and Worst NHL Teams In Goals By Period

Some teams do better in one period than another. But the Bruins consistently have strong goal differentials in every frame while the Ducks have the worst.

David Pastrnak

Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Different NHL teams thrive at different times of the game. 

The Carolina Hurricanes thrive in the first period, where they’re at a league-best plus-28 in goal differential on the season. At the other end of the spectrum, the Anaheim Ducks are minus-33 in the first period, the worst in the league.

We looked at each team’s goal differential by period to see the league’s three best and three worst clubs in each period.

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FIRST PERIOD

Top 3 Teams

1. Carolina Hurricanes: Plus-28

The Canes come on strong early, and it’s paying off in the standings. Carolina ranked third in the NHL last season and is behind only Boston this year. However, the team only has one player, Martin Necas, in the top 60 scorers this season.

2. Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights (tied): Plus-25

As the runaway first-place team in the NHL standings, it’s no surprise to see the Bruins starting with a bang. Vegas, at fourth overall, also starts strong in the opening frame.

3. Dallas Stars: Plus-22

Only Edmonton (77) and Tampa Bay (75) have scored more goals than Dallas (74) in the first period this season.

Bottom 3 Teams

1. Anaheim Ducks: Minus-33

The Ducks have given up the second-most goals in the first period (86), with only Vancouver (87) surrendering more.

2. Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets (tied): Minus-27

Chicago and Columbus are tied for the fewest goals in the first period (45) this season. The Blackhawks’ leading point man, Taylor Raddysh, ranks 210th in NHL scoring with 33 points in 70 games, while the Blue Jackets’ leading scorer, Johnny Gaudreau, has one of the worst plus/minus ratings in the league at minus-26.

3. Vancouver Canucks: Minus-20

The Canucks are on the cusp of the top 10 in first-period offense with 67 goals, but they’re dead-last in goals against (87).

Jesper Fast

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

SECOND PERIOD

Top 3 Teams

1. Boston Bruins: Plus-35

Hockey math is easy: great offense plus great defense equals great results. The Bruins have 10 players with 30-plus points, while goalies Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman rank first and third overall, respectively, in goals-against average among NHL netminders who have played 20-plus games this season.

2. Toronto Maple Leafs: Plus-27

The Leafs are well on their way to besting their season-high 115 points they set last year. Their 92 goals scored in the second period are 18 more than the first frame and 26 more than the third period, showing a similar pattern to Boston’s 77-112-87 goals by period.

3. Carolina Hurricanes: Plus-19

Sebastian Aho has been among the league’s top 50 scorers for five of his seven seasons with Carolina – only straying from the ranks in his rookie season and this year.

Bottom 3 Teams

1. Anaheim Ducks: Minus-37

The Ducks’ leading scorer, Trevor Zegras, ranks 70th overall with 58 points in 71 games. However, Anaheim only has one other player, Troy Terry, in the top 100 in NHL scoring.

2. Columbus Blue Jackets: Minus-33

It’s bad enough that Columbus ranks a lowly 24th with 69 goals scored in the second period, but even worse, they’ve given up a league-high 102.

3. Montreal Canadiens: Minus-29

The Canadiens only have one player, Nick Suzuki, among the league’s top 175 scorers this season. Suzuki is 82nd overall with 55 points in 71 games.

Jamie Benn scores on Petr Mrazek in the third period on March 2, 2023.

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

THIRD PERIOD

Top 3 Teams

1. Boston Bruins: Plus-52

The Bruins are a powerhouse from start to finish as the only team to rank among the top three clubs in goal differential in all three periods. They’ve been able to accomplish this with only three players ranked among the NHL’s top 100 scorers.

2. New Jersey Devils: Plus-29

It’s the first time since 2011-12 that the Devils have been in the top 10 teams in the league – and if they finish in the top three, it’ll be their first time since 2000-01.

3. Dallas Stars: Plus-26

The Stars have five players among the league’s top 100 scorers, including Jason Robertson, who sits seventh overall with 89 points in 71 games. Last season, Dallas only had three players in the top 100 and none in the top 10.

Bottom 3 Teams

1. San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks (tied): Minus-34

Of the 57 goalies who have played 20-plus games this season, the Sharks’ James Reimer and Kaapo Kahkonen rank 45th and 56th, respectively, in save percentage. Neither netminder has an SP above .900. As for the Ducks’ John Gibson, he sits 38th with a .902 SP.

2. Chicago Blackhawks: Minus-27

The Blackhawks are the lowest-scoring team in the league in the third period, with just 58 goals.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens (tied): Minus-24

Columbus and Montreal haven’t finished in the top 10 in the NHL standings since 2016-17 when Columbus finished fourth and Montreal finished eighth. Time will tell where they end up in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes.

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