How luck affects NHL results

By Andy MacNeil  ( 

November 10, 2021 08:30 PM

As of Wednesday, every NHL team will have played between 10 and 14 games, which means we can start to put quite a bit of stock into their underlying metrics. Some teams have surely been lucky, while others have been unlucky, and modern hockey statistics play a big role in determining which teams are which. Here are four teams that have been helped or victimized by Lady Luck.

Boston Bruins

The Bruins have been the best team by expected goals for and against, but they’ve played the fewest games and haven’t been getting much luck. The Bruins should be scoring more goals than their opponents on aggregate, but they haven’t been, and it’s tough to point the finger in one direction. The goaltending hasn’t been good, but the scoring hasn’t been there either. I would classify this team as unlucky, but concern definitely exists that regardless of how well they play, they’re always going to struggle to score at a rate that matches their expected goals. On the flip side, uncertainty surrounds both goaltenders and how they will fare the rest of the season. The Bruins will most likely win more games than they lose, but it will be hard to catch the Panthers if they’re underperforming their expected goals at both ends of the ice.

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