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I'm assuming you mean total goals per game, i.e. both teams combined.

Without going into explicit details, here are the trends:

- slightly over 6 in 1946

- dipped to under 5 by 1952

- rose back to just under somewhat under 6 and fluctuate around that mark from 1958-1970

- from 1970-1985 rose quickly, to a peak of just under 8 from 1982-85

- from 1985-2003/04 dropped quickly, to just over 5 in 2003/04

- rose dramatically in 2005/06

- dropped back to around 6 in 2007/08

You can get the full stats from:

The question may be motivated by questions regarding the new rules the NHL put in place to increase scoring. The simple answer is that yes, they had a major effect for one year (2005/06), and have had only a minor effect other than that. The more complex answer is that, as a general rule, the number is going to hover around 5.5-6 unless something happens that changes it, which will generally last until coaches can adapt to that change, at which point it goes back to around 5.5-6 again. What events have happened to effect it? New powerplay rules in the 50s meant to stifle the Canadiens' powerplay worked only too well. The success of the Canadiens in the 70s, a team built around speed that beat a team built around, well, thugs, caused other teams to adopt the same style. In the mid-80s, Gretzky came around and in the early 90s Lemieux, yes, you can effect the scoring stats (and the way the game is played) if your name is Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux. Around 2000, the left-wing lock, or trap, was popularized, until that was adapted to, and new rules put in place to help curb its effects.

Also, the average number of goals is slightly lower in the playoffs than during the regular season. Although, there have been few seasons when this rule was broken, lower scoring in the playoffs has been a remarkably stable phenomen.


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Q: What is the average goals per game for an NHL game?
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