It took the Tampa Bay Lightning 80 games until they lost their 20th game in the 2018-19 NHL season. With that loss, it became guaranteed that the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings record of 62 wins in a season would not fall this season. The Lightning took a great run at the record, but ultimately fell short of surpassing it. They still have a chance to equal it if they can beat the Bruins on Saturday.
A question I had though, was how long did it take every other team to get to their 20th loss, including overtime losses, this season? I figured it would be an interesting question and perhaps show even more how dominating the Lightning have been in this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks were the first team to reach 20 losses in terms of both date and number of games played. They reached it on 12/5/2018 in their 29th game. The Lightning were the last to reach 20 losses on 4/2/2019 in their 80th game.
The next two teams behind the Lightning in going the longest before reaching 20 losses were the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames who both reached 20 losses on the same day, 2/7/2019. Both teams were also playing in their 54th game and lost 5-2.
To put the previous two paragraphs in context, after the Jets and Flames lost their 20th game, the Lightning took almost two full months to become the last team to join the 20 loss club. In between the time the Hawks lost their 20th and the Lightning lost theirs, 51 games passed. That alone would have been enough time for most teams to lose 20 games.
December was the most common month for reaching 20 losses with 18 teams, followed by 9 teams in January, 3 in February, none in March, and 1 in April. The average date for making it to 20 losses was 1/4/2019. The average date of teams not named the Tampa Bay Lightning was 1/1/2019. On average, teams reached 20 losses in their 41st game of the season.
22 teams lost their 20th game in regulation with an average losing margin of 2.36 goals. Five teams lost in overtime and four more lost in the shootout. The Florida Panthers had the largest losing margin in their 20th loss losing 6-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Montreal Canadiens delivered the 20th loss to six different teams, winning four in regulation and two in overtime. They beat three teams in the Eastern Conference and three teams in the Western Conference. All three of Montreal’s Eastern Conference foes came from the Atlantic Division. The San Jose Sharks had the next most, delivering the 20th loss for four different teams, all from the Western Conference and all in regulation. 17 different teams delivered the 20th loss to another team. The Lightning were not one of the 17 teams.
No matter how you measure it, this has been an excellent regular season for the Lightning. And using the 20 loss cutoff to illustrate the gap between them and the rest of the league is just another way to show that.