How many games are in an NHL season? Exhibition, Regular, Playoffs & more

The National Hockey League (NHL) is an international professional ice hockey league composed of 31 teams in North America. Each team participates in a season consisting of exhibition, regular season, and playoff games.

Every team completes 82 games per season – 41 home and 41 away matches. Furthermore, 7 or 8 exhibition games are arranged, with the top 16 teams having the opportunity to compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Key Facts

  • The NHL season consists of three main parts: exhibition games, regular season games, and playoff games.
  • The exhibition season helps teams prepare for the regular season and generates additional revenue.
  • The regular season consists of 82 games, with each team playing 41 home games and 41 away games.
  • The playoffs involve teams playing a total of 16 games to reach the championship round, with the Stanley Cup playoffs consisting of four best-of-seven series.

How many games does each team play in the Exhibition Season?

During the NHL exhibition season, each team plays approximately seven or eight games against geographically close opponents. This is to prepare players and staff for the regular season which begins in October.

The exhibition games are an important part of the training process but also generate additional revenue for the teams that would otherwise not be available. These games are often a mandatory part of purchasing season tickets, as they cannot be purchased separately.

Furthermore, these matches can help set up rivalries between teams that will often continue throughout the regular season and into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Therefore, Exhibition Games play an important role in setting up NHL teams for success throughout their campaigns.

How many total games are in the NHL regular season?

The total number of contests in the National Hockey League’s regular season is 1312. This comprises of 82 games per team, with 41 home games and 41 away games.

Each team plays every other team twice, once at home and once on the road throughout the NHL season.

With no preseason or playoff matches included, this makes for a total of 1312 regular season games in the NHL.

These are spread out over a period from mid-October to April, giving fans an exciting opportunity to watch their favorite teams battle it out for supremacy.

How many games does each team play in the regular season?

In the National Hockey League’s annual regular season, each team is required to compete in a total of 82 contests. These contests are divided between 41 home and 41 away games, giving each team an average of 7-8 home and road games per month. The breakdown of the games is as follows:

  • 26 games against teams in its own division
  • 24 games against the other division in their conference
  • 32 games against teams from the opposing conference

The NHL schedule is well-designed so that players will face off every other night. Winning this marathon grants a ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs! With such rigor, these athletes must be tough indeed!

How many games does a team play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs requires a team to play a total of 16 games, should they manage to reach the championship round. The tournament consists of four rounds of best-of-seven series, meaning the first team to win four games against their opponent will advance onto the next round.

If a team goes on to win all four rounds, then they must have won 16 hockey games in total throughout the entire playoff. This is usually lower than 28 as teams benefit from finishing earlier and getting some extra days off before their next series.

Consequently, winning the Stanley Cup requires both skill and strategic planning in order to minimize fatigue and maximize performance for each NHL playoff game.

Number of games a team or player could play?

Achieving the highest level of success in professional hockey may require a player or team to compete in up to 108 contests during a single campaign. This includes 8 exhibition games, 82 regular season games and 28 playoff contests. Hockey teams must be able to manage their physical and mental fatigue over such a long schedule. The table below outlines the total number of games that can be played within an NHL season:

Game Type# of Games

The grueling yet rewarding journey within the NHL is one that requires tremendous focus, dedication, and preparation. As any successful hockey team will attest, mastering techniques for managing energy levels throughout this lengthy season is essential for achieving optimal performance when it matters most.

Did NHL teams always play 82 games?

Transitioning from the previous subtopic, this article will now discuss if NHL teams always played 82 games in a season.

For decades, the total number of games a team or player could play varied with each passing year. During the first regular season in 1917, only 22 games were played.

As time progressed to the early 1930s, 48 games were held per season and then increased to 60 by 1946-47.

In 1949-50, 70 games were featured in the regular season schedule and further increased to 80 by 1974-75 until it reached its peak at 84 for two seasons beginning 1992-93.

Since 1995-96 however, 82 has been the standard number of home and road games for teams before they enter into Stanley Cup playoffs.

NHL SeasonNumber of TeamsNumber of Games

Frequently Asked Questions

When did NHL go to 82 games?

The NHL shifted to an 82-game schedule after the 1994-95 lockout, where the schedule was trimmed down from 84 to 82 games. Following the 1994-95 lockout, the NHL transitioned to a schedule consisting of 82 games, reducing it from the previous 84-game format. 

Why did NHL go from 84 to 82 games?

In 1992, the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement led to an increase in the schedule from 80 games to 84. This also brought about the introduction of so-called ‘neutral site’ games, which were played in cities that did not have their own team. However, these games were eliminated as part of the 1994 lockout due to their lack of popularity and increased time spent travelling by the teams.