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|
|San Jose Sharks||19||14||+5|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||17||14||+3|
|New York Rangers||20||18||+2|
|New Jersey Devils||21||20||+1|
|Los Angeles Kings||14||13||+1|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||17||17||0|
|Detroit Red Wings||14||14||0|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||17||18||-1|
|St. Louis Blues||13||17||-4|
|New York Islanders||15||20||-5|
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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