Top 15 Incredible NHL Team Records
There’s nothing quite like watching a sports team who has such undeniable chemistry that it’s like watching a well-oiled machine perform. When a group of players fits together as if an assortment of puzzle pieces fitting together to complete a whole, wonderful things can happen.
Conversely, when a team lacks any sort of chemistry, it can be brutally painful to watch, as the players uninspiringly attempt to salvage their dignities. When the talent level is so low, or the players are so uninterested in the game’s outcome, horrible, yet entertaining, statistics can occur.
This list will examine and break down some of the NHL’s most incredible team records from the league’s inception to the present. Some of these records are astonishing and the players behind them should be praised for their incredulous success in an otherwise extremely difficult league. Others are simply unfathomable due in part to their dreadfulness, but also because they are the lowest of the low in a professional league that has been around for 100 years. Hockey fans of days past, as well as more recent supporters, will no doubt recall some of these records. Whether or not your favorite team made this list – Toronto and Washington fans beware – these records are sure to astound even the most conservative of hockey statisticians (cough Brian Burke cough). And if your favorite team did in fact make this list – heads up Montreal and Pittsburgh fans – this list will provide you with an arsenal of information next time you go to brag about your squad.
Top 15 Incredible NHL Team Records
MOST GOALS IN 70 OR MORE GAMES – 1983-84 EDMONTON OILERS
The 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers were a team that was just entering into the beginning of a dynastic run that, at the end of its dominance, resulted in five Stanley Cup championships. This team featured players such as Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, and Paul Coffee, so it is not all that surprising that they hold the record for most goals scored in a season that featured at least 70 games. That season, the Oilers scored a total of 446 goals in 80 regular season games. When averaged out, that means that the Oilers scored over 5 goals per game! Of course, having the best NHL player of all-time, Wayne Gretzky, was a large factor as he himself contributed 87 goals. The Oilers’ top-3 scorers that season (Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson) combined to score a total of 193 goals – well over one third of the team’s total.
MOST POINTS IN 70 OR MORE GAMES – 1976-77 MONTREAL CANADIENS
The Montreal Canadiens of 1976-77 went on to have the most successful regular season ever put together by an NHL team, and were rewarded that year by winning the Stanley Cup. In the 80 regular season games, the Canadiens compiled a record of 60-8-12 for a total of 132 points, the most a team has ever collected in one season. This season saw the Canadiens establish two other team records that are still standing today the fewest losses in 70 or more games (8), and the greatest goal differential in one season (+216). Of course, with the likes of Ken Dryden in net, Guy Lapointe on Defense, and Guy Lafleur up front, it is unsurprising that this Montreal team was record-setting. To put this record into perspective, there was a possible 160 points to be had that year for each team, and the Canadiens won 132 of them, while only forfeiting 28.
MOST LOSSES IN 70 OR MORE GAMES – 1992-93 SAN JOSE SHARKS
The 1992-93 NHL season was not very kind to the San Jose Sharks. In fact, it was the worst season (record-wise), put together by any team in the history of the league. Of the 84 regular season games played that year, the Sharks lost a total of 71 contests. Their final record that year was 11-71-2 which culminated into a measly 24 points. In 2004, ESPN compiled a list of the worst teams in the first 25 years of the ESPN Era, ranking the 1992-93 Sharks as the sixth worst team. This wasn’t the only abysmal record that the Sharks set that season. They also established the team record for most consecutive losses in a row, having been defeated consecutively for 17 games. This highest plusminus rating on the team that year was a (-1) and the Sharks were scored on an astounding 414 times leaving their number one goalie, Arturs Irbe, with a 4.11 goals against average.
LONGEST STANLEY CUP FINAL DROUGHT – 1967-PRESENT TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Toronto Maple Leaf fans… you may want to skip ahead to the next record. For an organization that is, arguably, one of the league’s most storied and important teams, it is almost unbelievable that the Maple Leafs have managed to avoid the Stanley Cup Finals for such a long time. The last time the Leafs played in the finals was in 1967, a year that only Leaf fans old enough to have witnessed the Vietnam War can remember. This means that the Leafs Stanley Cup Finals drought sits at 48 years – and counting. This is not a championship drought which, depending on if you’re a New York Ranger fan, may be easier to swallow. No, this is rather a finals drought; the Leafs haven’t even made it back to the finals in 48 seasons! For a team that has so much history, and for a fan base that claims itself as the center of the hockey universe, this record may be enough to open eyes to the falsity of those claims.
BEST PENALTY KILL PERCENTAGE IN ONE SEASON – 2011-12 NEW JERSEY DEVILS
The 2011-12 New Jersey Devils could have probably taken as many penalties as they wanted during the regular season. As a team the Devils set the record for the best penalty kill percentage ever in an NHL season at a rate of 89.58%. Effectively, the Devils were only scored on once out of every ten penalties they took, which is an incredibly hard thing to accomplish in the NHL. The Devils were definitely the benefactor of having the best goaltender of all time, Martin Brodeur, as their best penalty killer, but were also aided by a strong, prototypical New Jersey defensive system. A testament to their near impenetrable penalty kill was their ability to score shorthanded, scoring the most shorthanded goals in the NHL that season with 15. The Devils finished sixth in the Eastern Conference, but relied on their strong penalty kill to propel them all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals where they eventually lost to the Los Angeles Kings.