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.
|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.
|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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