A Guide to the NHL Regular Season

National Hockey League

The NHL regular season games in the National Hockey League (NHL) campaign has begun! It’s the most competitive and prestigious ice hockey league in the world and fans enjoy every face-off, every shot, every block, and every fight! The 2022-23 NHL schedule has games starting in early October, with the regular season running until April at which point, we will know who has made it through to the Playoffs.

Roughly according to geographical location, the NHL’s 32 teams are divided into 2 conferences each with 2 divisions. The Eastern Conference has the Metropolitan Division and the Atlantic Division. The Western Conference has the Central Division and the Pacific Division.

  • Eastern Conference (Metropolitan Division) – Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals
  • Eastern Conference (Atlantic Division) – Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Western Conference (Central Division) – Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets
  • Western Conference (Pacific Division) – Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Seattle Kraken, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights

During the NHL regular season, teams will play 28 games within their own division (4 against each of their division rivals) and 24 games against the teams in the other division in their conference (3 against each). Winning a game is worth 2 points, losing a game in overtime is worth 1 point, and losing a game in regulation time (i.e., within the 3 x 20-minute period). Points gained throughout the regular season determine where the teams are placed in their divisions with the top 3 teams – plus the 2 teams in each conference with the next highest points – progress to the NHL Playoffs. The overall top scorer in the league at the end of the regular season wins the Presidents’ Trophy.

In the 2021-22 season, the Florida Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy just beating the Colorado Avalanche, however, the Avalanche managed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals and beat Tampa Bay Lightning to lift North America’s oldest professional sports award, the Stanley Cup. The Avs are the only NHL side to have won all of their Stanley Cup Finals appearances. After polling 50 players at the NAPMT and the NHL European Player Media Tour in Paris in August, NHL.com found that 32 picked the Avalanche repeat their victory this season, but who else is a favourite?

Avalanche’s opponents in the finals, Tampa Bay Lightning are always ones to look out for having lifted the Stanley Cup in the 2003-04, 2019-20, and 2020-21 seasons. Despite this, NBC Sports (with collated data from their partner, PointsBet) had Lightning in third in terms of odds of winning the trophy in the 2022-23 behind the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite the league originally being a “national” league within Canada and a huge number of players coming from north of the border to play in the NHL, the Stanley Cup was last won by a Canadian team in 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens – the most successful side in the league having won 24 championships – defeated a Los Angeles Kings team captained by the iconic Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky is historically perhaps hockey’s most well-known name, with current players hoping to emulate even a tiny amount of his success especially when it comes to the big games. Some of the significant rivalry match-ups to look out for are the Vegas Golden Knights at the Boston Bruins when Golden Knights’ current coach Bruce Cassidy returns to face the Bruins, a side he led to 6 Playoffs including 1 Stanley Cup Final. Similarly, in December, other coaches like former Winnipeg boss Paul Maurice and ex-Tampa Bay coach Ryan McDonagh return to their old home rinks with the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators respectively. Tampa Bay Lightning will host Colorado Avalanche on 6 February 2023 in a rematch of the 2021-22 Stanley Cup Finals, but who will come out on top this time?

For fans looking for a unique ice hockey experience, there’s nothing quite like the NHL’s outdoor games. This season there will be the NHL Winter Classic and the NHL Stadium Series, both of which are regular season games but played in open-air ballparks or American football stadiums. The NHL Winter Classic will be held on 2 January 2023 at the legendary Fenway Park when the Boston Bruins will host the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2022, it was held in Minnesota with the Wild taking on the St. Louis Blues and was the coldest NHL game in history with temperatures dropping to -10°F (-24°C): they even had to heat the ice!

The NHL Stadium Series will see the Carolina Hurricanes play their first ever outdoor game against the Washington Capitals as they welcome them to Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Don’t miss out on the fantastic Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend in Toronto, Canada where the newest inductees, including Daniel Alfredsson, Herb Carnegie, Roberto Luongo, Riika Sallinen, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin, will be honoured. There’s also the famous Legends Classic (which takes place on 13 November at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto) where 2 star-laden teams face-off captained by Eric Lindros and Mats Sundin. And speaking of “stars”, the fun and entertaining All-Star Weekend will be held at the FLA Live Arena in Florida from 3-4 February 2023. It’s the perfect opportunity to watch the legends of ice hockey compete on the ice!

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.