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The Skinny on The Openers

"The Skinny" … on the Openers By Eric Hornick The NHL released the schedule for the 2016-17 season on Tuesday.  It'...

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Half-way home -- and lots of South(east)ern cooking ahead!

The Isles will reach the half-way point of this abbreviated schedule tonight against the Rangers -- it is also almost exactly half-way thru the 98 days that the Isles take to play 48 games.  (Day 49 is Friday).

One interesting note is the distribution of games by division-- if the season were to end today, the playoffs would consist of 4 Northeast teams (all but Buffalo), 3 Atlantic teams (Pit, NJ, NYR) and 1 Southeast team (Carolina).

In the first half of the season (counting tonight), the Isles will have played 10 of their 18 Atlantic Division games, 10 of their fifteen Northeast games, but only 4 of their 15 Southeast games (two of those vs. Carolina).  Thus, in the 2nd half, the Isles will have more games (11) against the Southeast than against their own division (8) or against the Northeast (only 5).

I note some wide disparities in the split of games for other Atlantic Division teams, and note that after tonight every team in the Atlantic will have played either 9 or 10 divisional games.  However, Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Philly have played 5 Northeast games each (NJ plays their sixth tonight) and have played 9, 8 and 11 SE games respectively.  The Rangers schedule has been more similar to the Isles, having playing 8 Northeast games and only 5 Southeast games. 

Given the relative strength/weakness of the divisions, and considering the Isles have not yet faced the 14th place Caps or 15th place Panthers, could make the second half of this season very interesting.
 
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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