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East Playoff Battle: Pre-Olympic Schedule Breakdown

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The Eastern Conference Standing are ridiculously tight--a single standing point is all that separates 6th place from 13th. If the season ended today, 5 competitive teams would be on the outside looking in. Ottawa has been red hot and pulled away from the pack to get the #5 spots which leaves 8 teams trying to squeeze into 3 spots--who will the NHL's version of musical chairs?

TEAM  STANDINGS
WSH 79
NJD 70
BUF 69
PIT 67
OTT 62
PHI 55
FLA 55
NYR 55
MON 55
BOS 54
ATL 54
TBL 54
NYI 54
TOR 44
CAR 41

 

There are just 17 days between today and the start of the Olympic Break. There is a trade freeze during the break and the NHL Trade Deadline arrives almost immediately after the Olympics. So the next 17 days could determine which teams are buyers and which are sellers at the deadline. If one or two teams in the middle get hot (or ice cold) they could gain some separation from the other playoff wanna-bes.

Below is a table showing the schedule for each of the clubs battling for the last three playoff berths. Every team plays 8 or 9 games and several make trips out West. I have listed the Opponent's Point Winning Percentage for each game and an average Opponent's Win % at the bottom.

 

ATL OW% BOS OW% FLA OW% MON OW% NYI OW% NYR OW% PHI OW% TBL OW%
SCHED SCHED SCHED SCHED SCHED SCHED SCHED SCHED
@PHI .539 @BUF .663 @WSH .717 @OTT .574 @CAR .394 @PHX .613 ATL .519 ANA .509
@NSH .587 LAK .606 NYI .509 VAN .642 @PHI .539 @COL .647 NYI .509 @WSH .717
TBL .519 WSH .717 ANA .509 @BOS .529 @FLA .519 @LAK .606 @CGY .557 @ATL .519
@WSH .717 MON .500 CGY .557 PIT .620 @TBL .519 WSH .717 @EDM .373 NYI .509
FLA .519 VAN .642 @ATL .519 BOS .529 CAR .394 NJD .673 @MIN .528 CGY .557
@COL .647 @MON .500 @CAR .394 WSH .717 NSH .587 NSH .587 NJD .673 VAN .642
@MIN .528 @BUF .663 VAN .642 @PHI .539 @PIT .620 @PIT .620 @NJD .673 BOS .529
@CHI .717 @TBL .519 BOS .529 PHI .539 TBL .519 TBL .519 MON .500 @NYI .509
@FLA .519 OTT .574 @MON .500 @NYR .509
HOME 2 HOME 4 HOME 5 HOME 5 HOME 4 HOME 4 HOME 4 HOME 5
ROAD 6 ROAD 5 ROAD 3 ROAD 3 ROAD 5 ROAD 4 ROAD 5 ROAD 4
AVG W% 0.597 0.592 0.549 0.586 0.518 0.626 0.536 0.555

On paper, the Islanders face the weakest schedule and the Rangers the most challenging. Although for my money that Montreal schedule looks rather tough as well. The games are tightly packed together and players are likely getting weary--two teams end with a series of road games (ATL and BOS) which could be fatal if they give in to fatigue.

What do you think? Which team has roughest road and which has the easiest?