Schedules Making Impact
By: Gus Katsaros
Prior to the season starting, I had written about the impact of schedules. In particular, as the Leafs face the Habs tonight after playing the previous night, while Montreal is rested. Interesting enough, the last time this happened, Toronto beat Detroit 5-1.
Schedules make a big difference in the results of NHL teams fates during the season. In some instances, it could be the difference between a playoff spot and a tee time (and I thoroughly enjoy both â€“ FORRRREEEE!!).
In 2008-09, San Jose faced opposition on the second night of back to back games 20 times sporting a significant 16-2-2 record. On two of those 20 occasions, they also played the night before – still ended up with a win.
This season, schedule makers dropped the amount of times the Sharks play teams as the rested squad down from 20 to seven (7).
A team-by-team breakdown from before the season started is at McKeen’s Hockey Prospects and due to space canâ€™t be reconstructed here.
In 2008-09, the San Jose Sharks held on for a one point President’s Trophy win over the Boston Bruins for regular season dominance.
Boston faced opponents that played games the night before 16 times sporting a stellar record of 14-2 last season. Two losses could have cost them the President Trophy.
San Jose faced opposition that played the night before in a league high 20 games (tied with Minnesota (11-8-1 in these games) sporting a stellar record of 16-2-2 record.
Results showed with Evgeni Nabokov (41 wins) and Niklas Backstrom (37 wins) having stellar seasons, playing almost 25% of their season against opposition playing consecutive games.
Last season, Pittsburgh played the second most (19 games) against opposition who played the night before, sporting a record of 12-4-3.
This upcoming season, the Penguins lead the NHL with 17 games played against competition playing games on consecutive nights. This figure includes three games versus the divisional rivals Flyers (which could be the difference between a Division/Conference title).
Detroit ranks second with 15 games (twice against the Sharks).
The first/second seeds from 2008-09, Boston and San Jose, have only seven (7) games this season (down from 16 for Boston and 20 for San Jose).
Facing opposition in games on consecutive nights the most times are the Devils with 16. The Bruins (13) rank second as the victim of this.
Chicago may have a more difficult season with the internal turmoil, overachieving from 2008-09, off-ice distractions, so these 12 games may be pivotal points this season and could affect Cristobal Huet most.
Atlanta, faces the opposition only seven times in 2009-10 with games the previous night, while Detroit, Edmonton, Rangers, and Lightning are tied with eight.
With a playoff spot in mind, these games can create critical points needed to fend off teams in a stretch run. These are games that should be wins, and good teams take advantage.
The Penguins face the Flyers three times when Philadelphia played the night before .. The Devils draw Pittsburgh three times when the Pens played the night before .. Carolina draws the Devils three times when NJ played the night before .. Phoenix draws San Jose three times .. Dallas faces the Coyotes three times when the Desert Dogs play the night before.
â€¢ 11 of 12 BACK TO BACK games for the San Jose Sharks are on the road
â€¢ Columbus and Edmonton play all their back-to-back games are on the road
â€¢ San Jose and Tampa Bay have all but one back-to-back game on the road
The results thus far this season are as follows.
The Left side of the Chart indicates the record as the team playing opposition thatâ€™s played the night before. Teams have to take advantage of these games when they fall into their favor.
The Right side of the chart is the record being the team playing back-to-back against a rested opponent. These are games that good teams overcome and win.
Pittsburgh leads the NHL with 17 games playing opponents with games the night before, and thus far have played only two of those games. There are 15 remaining with five in December, and 10 at the turn of the calendar.
Detroit ranks second with 15, but have five of those games in March 2010. San Jose, Phoenix and New Jersey are 3-0 thus far and the Canucks and Blue Jackets are 4-2. Philadelphia is 2-2.
The New Jersey Devils lead the NHL as victims of playing rested teams on the second night, however are 3-1 with 12 games still remaining this season. Their next occasion occurs on December 5 against the Red Wings. Boston is 2-3 as victims (and 1-1 as the benefactor). The Blackhawks, Flames and Panthers are all 2-2. Nashville leads all NHL clubs with a 2-0 record as victims.
Records of Teams in Both Instances
ADVANTAGE (left side) DISADVANTAGE (Right Side VICTIMS)
|Blue Jackets||4||2||Blue Jackets||1||1|
|Red Wings||3||2||Red Wings||1||0|
|Maple Leafs||1||2||Maple Leafs||1||0|
Games Played and Games remaining
|Team||Total Games||Remaining||Team||Total Games||Remaining|
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