It is a shame that the NHL has devalued wins so much that teams with less wins than another team are ahead of teams in the standings based on points. If you change this system to one based more on W’s than points, you don’t get a dramatic difference, but you do get an important difference.
Here is a look at the Current Playoff Picture:
|1||x – NY Rangers||75||47||21||7||101||43||4||5|
|4||x – Pittsburgh||75||47||22||6||100||38||9||3|
|5||x – Philadelphia||76||44||24||8||96||40||4||6|
|1||x – St. Louis||76||47||20||9||103||43||4||8|
|2||y – Vancouver||76||46||21||9||101||39||7||7|
|4||x – Detroit||76||46||25||5||97||39||7||2|
Now, using the system of a Win=2 pts, and Loss=0 pts, here is what the playoff picture would look like today, prior to Tuesday’s games.
1. NYR -94 STL-94
2. BOS-88 VAN-92
3. WSH-76 DAL-82
4. PIT-94 DET-92
5. PHL-88 NSH-88
6. NJ-84 CHI-84
7. OTT-78 SJ-78
8. BUF-74 COL-80
9. FLA -72 PHX-74
10. WP-70 LA-74
As you can see, there are a few subtle differences, most notably at the third place spot in each conference. Washington and Dallas each trail teams (FLA and SJ) they have more wins than. The same story at the bottom of the Western conference race. In the current system Colorado sits in 10th place, despite having 3 more wins than the eighth and ninth place teams in the West.
The system that rewards zero points for a loss puts an emphasis back on getting the win when you head to overtime, whether it be on the road, at home, in the division or out of it. I believe this would lead to fewer shootouts because teams would open up play more in OT, as opposed to sitting back and playing “not to lose.” It is my hope when the league realigns, they also (and it has been brought up) consider giving teams more points for a win.