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NHL schedule feeds some teams exhausted opponents in 2010-2011 season

As I've written before, the travel burdens of the 2010-2011 NHL schedule fall unevenly on various teams, with some Eastern Conference squads enjoying a travel itinerary with about half as many miles flown as their Western counterparts. Another grueling aspect of the schedule, however, involves back-to-back sets of games. Teams in general enjoy a Points Percentage of roughly .560 (.500 isn't average anymore thanks to the OT "loser" point), but that Points Percentage drops by about .050 for teams which have already played a game the night before. Some back-to-back sets are particularly tough when you toss in two elite opponents, or a long flight between games.

This then leads to a double-edged question - not just which teams play the most and least B2B sets, but also, which teams will face the most opponents who are playing on the back end of a B2B set? Follow after the jump as we break it down...

The table below lays out the number of times each NHL team will face an opponent who has played the night before during the 2010-2011 regular season, along with the number of times they themselves have to play back-to-back as well. The "Balance" is the net of the two numbers, sorted from the most favorable combination to the least:

 Team # of opponents on B2B # of B2B's played Balance
 Florida Panthers 24 15 +9
 Philadelphia Flyers 21 16 +5
 Washington Capitals 20 15 +5
 San Jose Sharks 19 14 +5
 Dallas Stars 17 12 +5
 Edmonton Oilers 15 11 +4
 Calgary Flames 17 13 +4
 Toronto Maple Leafs 17 14 +3
 New York Rangers 20 18 +2
 Vancouver Canucks 13 11 +2
 New Jersey Devils 21 20 +1
 Anaheim Ducks 16 15 +1
 Los Angeles Kings 14 13 +1
 Montreal Canadiens 17 16 +1
 Tampa Bay Lightning 17 17 0
 Chicago Blackhawks 18 18 0
 Detroit Red Wings 14 14 0
 Columbus Blue Jackets 17 18 -1
 Boston Bruins 13 14 -1
 Colorado Avalanche 13 14 -1
 Nashville Predators 11 13 -2
 Minnesota Wild 16 19 -3
 Ottawa Senators 13 16 -3
 St. Louis Blues 13 17 -4
 Phoenix Coyotes 12 16 -4
 New York Islanders 15 20 -5
 Carolina Hurricanes 16 21 -5
 Pittsburgh Penguins 12 17 -5
 Buffalo Sabres 15 22 -7
 Atlanta Thrashers 8 15 -7

Click on any column heading to sort on that value.

As the Panthers hope to claw their way back into the playoffs (hey, it's Monday morning, let me get away with one cheap pun), the extra point or so that their favorable schedule might throw their way could make the difference between success and failure. Certainly the Flyers and Capitals don't need such help (although the Sharks will travel the most miles in the NHL this season). For the Sabres and Thrashers, the road back to the post-season looks a little bit steeper.

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