Last night the Florida Panthers scored with just 6 seconds left in the game to break the 4-4 with the Minnesota Wild. This was only the third time all season that a team has scored to win the game in the final minute all season. It happened Sunday night in the Blue Jackets/Rangers game as well.
This stat has started the question on whether the NHL point system is broken. The reasoning behind it is whether teams in the final minutes of the game hold back and play for the tie, guaranteeing themselves at least one point.
We all know the NHL wants to keep the standings as jam packed as possible and wants to increase the amount of playoff eligible teams towards the end of the season. This creates more meaning and draw for games played at the end of the season. The 3 point system that the NHL introduced has certainly done its job. But has it tainted the final minutes of a tie game?
I don’t necessarily disagree with the points being made from fans being unhappy that teams pack it in at the end of a tie game to get themselves a point. And I don’t disagree with the NHLs effort to keep more teams in contention of the playoffs by giving 3 points out after a tied 60 minute game. I do think that OT should be a little more extreme with the points though. I tend to lean on the 2 point system unless the game goes into a shootout. I’ll explain.
If the game is tied after 60 minutes then each team fights for the extra point in a 5 minute 3v3 game. If the game remained tied, I think the home team should get to choose whether they enter the shootout. I’m not even opposed to the team lower in the standings getting to make that decision. But here’s the catch; if the game does go into a shoot out, then there are only two points up for grabs. The winner of the shootout gets 2 points and the loser gets 0. If the team opts out of the shootout, 1 point will be rewarded to each team.
I think this will create a little more urgency to score at the end of the game or in OT. I think it will create a different dynamic with the home ice advantage. It will create more strategy within the game and allow coaches to make decisions like we see in the NFL, such as going for a 4th down instead of kicking a field goal or going for the 2-point conversion instead of the extra point. I think it would make a unique change to the game and hopefully motivate teams to not just play for the point, knowing that there is no guarantee they will get anything after all is said and done.
Let us know what you think. Should the NHL go back to the old 2 point system? Keep the current system? Or tweak the current 3 point system to create a little more urgency towards the end of the game.