How Does A Goalie Get A  Win In Ice Hockey? (Simplified)
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How Does A Goalie Get A Win In Ice Hockey?

If you have watched ice hockey matches before, you must have heard of wins or losses. Most times, when these stats are used, it is used to refer to the performance of teams or goalies. Unlike a goalie, it is easy to know when a team wins or losses. For a team to get win, they need to defeat their opponent, either if it is by a goal or more than 1.

What Does It Mean For A Goalie To Get A Win?

How Does A Goalie Get A  Win In Ice Hockey?

A goalie is said to have a win when he/she is guarding the net when the final goal that puts his team one goal ahead of their opponent is scored. In simpler terms, a win for a goalie is gotten when the final game-winning goal is scored by a goalie’s team while the goalie is guarding the net.

A goalie guarding the net when the final goal that makes his team one goal ahead of the opposing team receives a win point. The reason why the term “final goal” is used is because, teams might be one goal ahead of each other several times in a match. 

However, the goalie that is in the net when the final goal that makes his team one point ahead of the opponent team is scored receives the win.

Wins And Losses: NHL Goalie Stats

Wins in an NHL goalie stat is the number of games a goalie has won. However, to win means he was in the net when the game-winning goal was scored.

Similarly, a loss is another goalie stat that shows the number of games a goalie has lost. Wins and losses are both NHL stats, showing how good a goalie is. 

Explained: Which Goalie Gets The Win In These Scenarios?

Since the rules say that the goalie who guards the net when a game-winning goal is scored gets a win, how do you know who gets the win when more than one goaltender plays in a game?

This rule is easier to grasp when a team uses just a goaltender throughout a game. However, once a substitution is made for the goalie, the question becomes which of the goalie gets a win. 

Below are five scenarios that will help you know the goalie that will be awarded a win, even in instances when a substitution is made. 

Example 1

Let’s say two teams, the Coyotes and Rangers, are playing a match, and the Coyotes are leading with a score of 4-2. Then, the goalies of the Rangers get changed at the beginning of the third period and this changes the outcome of the game.

During the second period, the substitute goaltender makes some incredible saves for the Rangers and they come alive and begin to make amazing attempts to score. Luckily, during the first 10 minutes, Team B managed to equalize the scores back to 4-4. 

However, during the final minutes of the game, the Rangers managed to score a game-winning goal to make them one goal ahead of the Coyotes. Finally, the game ends, and the Rangers win, with the score count being 4-5. 

If a win should be awarded to a goalie, it will be given to the goalie who was on the ice when the last game-winning goal was scored. Therefore, the goalie that started the match doesn’t receive the win but rather his substitute. 

Who Gets the Win: Substitute Goalie

Example 2 

But that is just a scenario. For another scenario, let’s say the New York Rangers go against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

During the first period, the Rangers scored a goal against the Penguins, giving them an early lead of 1-0. Let’s assume the Penguins were able to score two goals in the second period to make the goal count 1-2. 

Now with the Penguins in the lead and the third period starting, the coach of the Penguins decides to substitute the goalie. After substituting the goalie, the Penguins went along to score their third goal to win the match. 

If a win should be given to a goalie, it will be given to the starting goalie.

It is because he was in the net when the game-winning goal was scored (and this is the second goal). The third goal by the Penguins is just an added goal, but the goal that determined if they won the match was the second goal. 

Who Gets the Win: First (Starting) Goalie

Example 3 

For the third scenario, let’s assume the Oilers and the Bruins are facing each other in an epic battle. At first, the Bruins control the game, taking an early 0-1 lead over the Oilers. 

Then after a few intense minutes, the scores are equalized by the Oilers, who then go on to score another goal to make the scores 2-1. Then few minutes into the game, the goalie is replaced by the Oilers coach due to injury, and a substitution is brought into the game.

Later on, the Oilers go for a third goal to dominate the game (3-1) a few minutes to the end of the second period. If the game should end like this, it will be the same as in the second scenario, and the win will go to the first goalie

However, if during the third period, the Bruins score a goal and the game ends with a score count of 3-2, the win will go to the substitute goalie. Why is this?

This is because the third goal has become the game-winning goal, and it was scored when the substitute goaltender was guarding the net. 

Who Gets the Win: Substitute Goalie

Example 4

Now for a fourth possibility. 

Toronto Maple Leaf has a game against the Montreal Canadiens. During the first 3 minutes of the game, the Maple Leafs went in hot and scored a goal making the crowd go wide. 

Then the Canadiens decide to go for an equaliser, and things get really ugly, leading to an injured goalie for the Maple Leafs. The goalie s brought to the bench, and another is sent to replace him. 

Eventually, the Leafs would dominate the entire game gaining a flawless victory of 3-0. Now, who do you think will receive the win between the two goalies? 

In reality, it goes to the original goalie that got injured just a few minutes into the game. This is because the first goal ended up being the game-winning goal since the Canadiens could not score. 

But if they had scored, it would be just like the example stated in the third scenario.

Who Gets the Win: First (Starting) Goalie

Example 5

But in a situation where the goalie was never changed or replaced, then the same goalie guards the net from the start to the end of the match. So, in this case, the win will automatically go to him. 

5 Goalies With Most Wins In NHL History 

5 Goalies With Most Wins In NHL History 

The NHL has been blessed with exceptional talent over the years. From forwards to goalies and more. But here are five goalies in the NHL with the highest amount of wins in their careers. 

Martin Brodeur

Martin Brodeur has the highest number of wins in the NHL. He was one of the most skilled goalies during his time and even had a rule made by the league because of him. The rule is called the Brodeur Rule but is also known as Trapezoid Rule. 

Martin Brodeur, in his career, had 691-point wins with a save percentage of 0.90. He also carried his team, the New Jersey Devils, to win three Stanley Cups. He also has five Eastern Conference championships, along with two Olympic gold medals. 

Martin Brodeur is also regarded as the best goalie in NHL history because of his achievement and feats. 

Patrick Roy

Next is the goalie nicknamed “Saint Patrick”, Patrick Roy. Roy is the second goalie with the most amount of career wins, precisely 551 wins in his career. 

Compared to Broduer, Roy’s wins falls short of Broduer’s career win by an outstanding 140-point win. This is almost twice the number of games a team plays in an NHL regular season (82 games). 

Still, Patrick Roy has four Stanley Cups to his name, winning two with the Colorado Avalanche and two with the Montreal Canadiens. Roy played 1029 games in his career and bagged a save percentage (SV%) of 0.910. 

Marc-Andre Fleury

In third place is Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury was the former goalie for the Pittsburg Penguins and is one of the only three goalies with over 500-point wins in the NHL. Fleury was drafted into the NHL as the first overall draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins and won three Stanley Cups with the NHL franchise. 

He currently has 544-point wins in 984 games with a scoring percentage of 0.913. He is still an active goalie in the NHL and currently plays for the Minnesota Wild. There is a possibility that Fleury might surpass the record of Patrick Roy in the number of win points. 

Roberto Luongo

Roberto Luongo is the fourth goalie in the NHL with the most wins in an NHL career. The talented goaltender showed great potential since his days in the QMJHL, where he won the QMJHL President’s Cup Championships twice.

Luongo is also a Hockey World Cup Champion and a two-time Olympic Gold medalist with the Canadian team. He retired in 2019 and has recorded a total career win of 489 in 1044 NHL games. 

Ed Belfour

Finally, we have Ed Belfour in the No. 5 spot. Ed Belfour is a goalie, Hall of Fame inductee and Stanley Cup winner. Unlike other goalies, Ed Belfour was not drafted into the NHL but was signed as a free agent by the Chicago Blackhawks. 

During his career, Ed Belfour had 484 wins in 963 games. He also has a scoring percentage of 0.906. He was also inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2011. 


Ladies and gentlemen, this brings us to the end of this amazing journey on what it means to get a win in ice hockey. By now, you should able to know which goalie gets a win if there is a need to substitute a goalie in between the match. 

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