What is the purpose of the game winning goal statistic? Let's use the scoring line from game 4 of the Capitals-Knights finals series to examine this: 1st Period 09:54 WSH 1-0 T.J. Oshie (8) Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom 16:26 WSH 2-0 Tom Wilson (5) Evgeny Kuznetsov 19:39 WSH 3-0 Devante Smith-Pelly (6) Matt Niskanen and Alex Ovechkin 2nd Period 15:23 WSH 4-0 John Carlson (5) Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie 3rd Period 05:43 VEG 4-1 James Neal (6) Erik Haula and Colin Miller 12:26 VEG 4-2 Reilly Smith (4) Jon Marchessault and Luca Sbisa 13:39 WSH 5-2 Michal Kempny (2) Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie 18:51 WSH 6-2 Brett Connolly (6) According to how the GWG is defined, the GWG is awarded to Smith-Pelly, as that gave the Capitals a 3-0 lead and the Knights ended up with 2 for the entire game. We know it isn't meant to show which goal won the game, as Smith-Pelly's goal didn't win the game. It merely made a 2-0 undecided game a 3-0 undecided game. We know it isn't meant to show which goal was the most clutch goal, as at the time of Smith-Pelly's goal, there was no way of knowing that Vegas would end up with 2 goals. Nor is there anything to show that Smith-Pelly's goal was any more important than any of the other Capitals goals. Some people would argue, "if Smith-Pelly didn't score, then the Capitals wouldn't have won". That argument doesn't hold up, as if Smith-Pelly didn't score, then we don't know what would have happened. And if we assume all other scoring remained the same, then we end up with a 5-2 Capitals victory. So I ask, what purpose does this statistic serve? Does the NHL know it has no merit? Perhaps it could just be a marketing gimmick. Any thoughts out there?