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Most NHL goals in a period: Where the Canadiens-Panthers 10-goal first period ranks on the all-time list

The modern-day NHL features plenty of offense, but in comparison to the history of the league, goals aren’t scored at nearly as high of a rate as they used to. 

The league features more parity than ever, with the salary cap evening the field across the board. Goaltenders have much better equipment than they used to have, which allows more pucks to be kept out of the net. 

With that said, every now and then, there’s a contest where defense is thrown out the window and it’s an all-out offensive slugfest, at least for a period or two. 

Hockey fans were treated to one of those games this season.

The Panthers and Canadiens came out guns blazing in their March 16 matchup. The two clubs combined for 10 goals in the first period, an absurdly high number to allow in just 20 minutes. 

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Believe it or not, while 10 is high, it’s not the most combined goals scored in a single period.

The Sporting News has you covered on what that record total is and who holds it. 

Most NHL Goals in a Period

There have been 12 periods in NHL history featuring a combined total of goals in double-digit.

The most total goals scored ever in a period is 12. That has happened twice in league history, both occurring during the 1980s. The Maple Leafs and Sabres combined for 12 goals in the second period of a contest during the 1980-81 season. The Blackhawks and Oilers matched that single-period total in 1985, scoring 12 goals in the second period of their game. 

Highest-scoring NHL periods
Date Matchup Final Score Period Goals Scored
March 18, 1981 Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Sabres 14, Maple Leafs 4 2nd 12
Dec. 11, 1985 Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers Oilers 12, Blackhawks 9 2nd 12
March 8, 1920 Ottawa Senators vs. Quebec Bulldogs Senators 11, Bulldogs 6 3rd 10
March 16, 1939 New York Americans vs. New York Rangers Rangers 11, Americans 5 3rd 10
March 17, 1946 Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Maple Leafs 11, Red Wings 7 3rd 10
Jan. 8, 1976 Buffalo Sabres vs. Vancouver Canucks Sabres 8, Canucks 5 3rd 10
Oct. 26, 1982 Montreal Canadiens vs. Buffalo Sabres Sabres, 7 Canadiens 7 1st 10
Dec. 7, 1982 Quebec Nordiques vs. Boston Bruins Nordiques 10, Bruins 5 2nd 10
Jan. 16, 1987 Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames Canucks 9, Flames 5 1st 10
Nov. 25, 1987 Detroit Red Wings vs. Winnipeg Jets Red Wings 10, Jets 8 3rd 10
March 15, 1988 St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks Blackhawks 7, Blues 7 3rd 10
March 16, 2023 Florida Panthers vs. Montreal Canadiens Panthers 9, Canadiens 5 1st 10

Highest-scoring NHL games

The 14 total goals scored by Montreal and Florida don’t sniff the highest-scoring NHL games in history.

There have been two games where there were a combined 21 goals scored, the most in any NHL game. The first happened in 1920 between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto St. Patrick’s, where the Canadiens won a 14-7 game. That record stood alone until late 1985 when the Oilers and Blackhawks combined for 21 goals in a 12-9 win for Edmonton. 

There are only two other instances where at least 20 goals were tallied, and the Oilers were involved in both. In 1984, they played the Minnesota North Stars to a 12-8 affair, and two years later in 1986, the Oilers were defeated by the Maple Leafs 11-9. 

Most goals in an NHL game
Date Matchup Score Total Goals
Jan. 1, 1920 Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto St. Patricks Canadiens 14, St. Patrick’s 7 21
Dec. 11, 1985 Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers Oilers 12, Blackhawks 9 21
Jan. 4, 1984 Edmonton Oilers vs. Minnesota North Stars Oilers 12, North Stars 8 20
Jan. 8, 1986 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Edmonton Oilers Maple Leafs 11, Oilers 9 20
Dec. 19, 1918 Montreal Wanderers vs. Toronto Arenas Wanderers 10, Arenas 9 19
March 3, 1920 Quebec Bulldogs vs. Montreal Canadiens Canadiens 16, Bulldogs 3 19
Feb. 26, 1921 Montreal Canadiens vs. Hamilton Tigers Canadiens 13, Bulldogs 6 19
March 4, 1944 Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers Bruins 10, Rangers 9 19
March 16, 1944 Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins Red Wings 10, Bruins 9 19
Oct. 7, 1983 Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota North Stars Canucks 10, North Stars 9 19

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