Eric T linked to an article earlier by Gabe Desjardins about the length of NHL playoff games and for some reason it made me wonder whether the score in regulation has any relationship to the length of time taken for a goal to be scored in overtime. So I grabbed all of the playoff goals since 1990 from this handy archive over at TSN and set to work.

A few basics: the sample size is 427 games, the average length of OT is 800 seconds, and home teams win only 44% of the time.

The results can be summed up in a couple of tables. Firstly the score in regulation and the average time taken to score an overtime goal.

Well that looks pretty conclusive to me, but at each of the scale there’s some small sample sizes. What happens if we bucket a few of those scores?

The effect is basically just as pronounced. I think that’s that one solved. Just a couple of tidbits to add on at the end. Firstly, does OT get longer as we get deeper into the playoffs? In this case I’ve only used the games since ’94, when the NHL moved to the current playoff format.

This one is kind of inconclusive because of the small sample sizes of the final two rounds, but there certainly appears to be a difference between the conference quarters and the conference semis, as well as between conference quarters and ‘all other rounds’. Finally can we pick a trend over time?

Not on the face of it. But if we split the group into pre- and post-lockout then there’s a difference there.

And that’ll do for now.

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For the playoffs, is there a trend for OT when you control for score?

I don’t understand the question. That’s what I’ve done in the top two tables…

You’re right, that made no sense.

For OT goal length v playoff round, what happens when you control for score there?

then we’re using very small samples and we’re unlikely to pull anything statistically significant from the data