blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Length By Days And Games

Sunday, June 12, 2016

NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Length By Days And Games

The 2016 NHL playoffs began on April 13 and ended on June 12, boasting 91 games in 61 days. During this time, both the runner-up San Jose Sharks and Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins skated in 24 games

Pittsburgh's extensive playoff run begs the question, how long does a typical NHL postseason last? The chart below describes each postseason since 1987 (when the NHL expanded each playoff round to seven games) by start date, end date and length (i.e., total days and games).

Year       Start Date / End Date    Days       Games      
1987       
April 8 - May 31     
54      
87     
1988       
April 6 - May 26     
51      
83     
1989       
April 5 - May 25     
51      
82     
1990       
April 5 - May 24     
50      
85     
1991       
April 3 - May 25     
53      
92     
1992       
April 18 - June 1     
45      
86     
1993       
April 18 - June 9     
53      
85     
1994       
April 16 - June 14     
60      
91     
1995
May 6 - June 24     
50      
80     
1996
April 16 - June 10     
56      
86     
1997
April 16 - June 7     
53      
82     
1998
April 22 - June 16     
56      
82     
1999
April 21 - June 19     
60      
86     
2000
April 12 - June 10     
60      
83     
2001     
April 11 - June 9     
60      
86     
2002
April 17 - June 13     
58      
90     
2003
April 9 - June 9     
62      
89     
2004
April 7 - June 7     
62      
90     
2006
April 21 - June 19     
60      
84     
2007
April 11 - June 6     
57      
81     
2008
April 9 - June 4     
57      
85     
2009
April 15 - June 12     
59      
87     
2010
April 14 - June 9     
57      
89     
2011
April 13 - June 15     
64      
89     
2012
April 11 - June 11     
62      
86     
2013
April 30 - June 24     
56      
86     
2014
April 16 - June 13     
59      
93     
2015
April 15 - June 15     
62      
89     
2016
April 13 - June 12     
61      
91     
Avg
     
57      
86     

Since the NHL expanded all four rounds of the playoffs to a seven game series, the maximum number of playoff games that could possibly be played if all series went to a Game 7 is 105. Alternatively, the least possible number of playoff games if all 15 series resulted in a sweep is 60 games.

In terms of total games played in a postseason since 1987, the fewest is 80 games (1995).  Only four times has a playoff lasted more than 90 games (1991, 1994, 2014, 2016), the longest postseason being 93 games in 2014. The average playoff length during this span is 86 games.

Only once in the past 29 postseasons has a playoff lasted fewer than 50 days (45 days in 1992) and just six times has it exceeded 60 days (2003, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016), the longest lasting 64 days (2011). The average playoff length during this span sits at 57 days.

With each team playing 82 regular season games for a total of 1,230 games, 2016 Stanley Cup Finalists Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks skated in 106 games (82 + 24) during 249 days dating back to the opener on October 7, 2015, representing 70% of the days in a calendar year and leaving only 122 days off between the Stanley Cup winning game and opening night of the next regular season.

Players on the 14 teams that did not skate in the 2016 postseason will enjoy 185 days off between regular season games, 63 more days off than their Stanley Cup winning counterpart. For those suffering such a playoff drought, here's hoping that rest translates into success.

* See also NHL League Size And Regular Season Length.
* See also Fewest And Most Games Needed to Win Stanley Cup.

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