RotoWire Partners

Schedule Analysis: Strength of Schedule Analysis

Brandon Thomas

Brandon Thomas writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

The last week of the NHL regular season is one of the most intentional pieces of the schedule. There are tons of games (52), every team plays at both home and on the road, and a few home-and-home series dot the map in the interests of rivalry and playoff races. Those scenarios of repeat opponents are what dominate the significance of the fantasy week for April 5-11, likely to be the last in your league's season as well.

A little breakdown of each home-and-home:

* Florida vs. Tampa Bay - Both teams rank in the bottom five in the league offensively, so this could be a decent time to swoop up Scott Clemmensen in hopes of a good spot start. Also, the Lightning have surrendered 3.78 goals per game over their last nine contests, so look for a boost from Panthers forwards as well. Perhaps Michael Frolik or Steven Reinprecht will be available.

* Columbus vs. Detroit - The Wings are averaging 3.5 goals per game over their last eight, while the Blue Jackets continue to rank third-worst in team defense. If you have to dig really deep on the waiver wires this week, Patrick Eaves and Kris Draper might scrape up a point or two for you.

* Washington vs. Boston - OK, it's not a home-and-home, but the teams to play each other twice in the same week (both times in Washington). What's notable is obvious: The league's best offense against the league's worst offense. Good news for Semyon Varlamov and Jose Theodore owners; bad news for Tuukka Rask owners.

* N.Y. Islanders vs. Pittsburgh - Again, not a true home-and-home since the games are split up during the week, but the fact remains that the Isles will have to deal with the Pens' offense twice and Pittsburgh will have the liberty of playing three of its four games against teams that cough up an average of more than three goals per game.

* N.Y. Rangers vs. Philadelphia - Not a whole lot to speak of here since both teams are relatively neutral in matchups, but the Blueshirts are sporting an attractive 3.83 goals per game over their last six.

And, of course, here are a few notes for other teams:

* Montreal plays all three of its games against one of the league's seven teams with a goals-against average of 3.00 or higher, while not-so-coincidentally playing two of the three worst penalty-killing teams, too. Marc-Andre Bergeron and Scott Gomez could see the benefits of that.

* An Alberta swing could translate to a good week for Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom. The Flames and Oilers are among the league's four worst offensive teams, and the Wild goalie essentially has no competition for starts now that backup Josh Harding has been shut down for the rest of the season.

* Two teams with bad defensive matchups are the Flames of old and new - Atlanta and Calgary. Both squads play two of their three games this week against teams in the top five in offense. Feel free to look beyond Ondrej Pavelec, Johan Hedberg and Miikka Kiprusoff.

Grid Key:

HOME GAME = CAPS; road game = lowercase
Red = Second game of back-to-backs
Green = Second game of opponents' back-to-backs
Yellow = Second game of both teams' back-to-backs
* = Matinee game

Home Away Total
Florida 3 1 4 OTT NJ tb TB
Tampa Bay 3 1 4 CRL OTT FLA fla
Washington 3 1 4 BOS pit ATL BOS*
Anaheim 2 2 4 LA dal stl EDM
Boston 2 2 4 was BUF CRL* was*
Chicago 2 2 4 dal STL col DET*
Colorado 2 2 4 van edm CHI LA*
Edmonton 2 2 4 MIN COL la* ana
Los Angeles 2 2 4 ana PHX EDM* col*
N.Y. Islanders 2 2 4 MTL pit nj PIT
N.Y. Rangers 2 2 4 buf TOR PHI phi*
New Jersey 2 2 4 atl fla NYI BUF
Pittsburgh 2 2 4 WAS NYI atl nyi
St. Louis 2 2 4 CBJ chi ANA nas
Buffalo 1 3 4 NYR bos ott nj
Atlanta 2 1 3 NJ was PIT
Calgary 2 1 3 SJ MIN van
Dallas 2 1 3 CHI ANA min
San Jose 2 1 3 cgy VAN PHX
Vancouver 2 1 3 COL sj CGY
Carolina 1 2 3 tb MTL bos*
Columbus 1 2 3 stl det DET
Detroit 1 2 3 CBJ cbj chi*
Minnesota 1 2 3 edm cgy DAL
Montreal 1 2 3 nyi crl TOR
Ottawa 1 2 3 fla tb BUF
Philadelphia 1 2 3 tor nyr NYR*
Phoenix 1 2 3 NAS la sj
Toronto 1 2 3 PHI nyr mtl
Nashville 1 1 2 phx STL