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NHL Schedule Analysis: Multiple Back-to-Back Games

Brian Rutherford

A freelance writer of all things but mostly sports, music and politics, Brian Rutherford was raised on Long Island, NY and currently resides in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. His favorite teams are the New York Rangers, Texas Rangers, New York Giants and New York Knicks. "So the difference I think, boils down to this: you can either impose yourself on reality and then write about it, or you can impose yourself on reality by writing it." -Hunter S. Thompson "The Proud Highway"

Let's try something different this week. On the S.A. grid you'll notice color coding boxes. Applying the basic premise that increased games played are good and decreased opportunities are unfavorable to a fantasy team owner, I hope this helps makes the graph read a bit more fluently.

Red = Little and/or Strenuous Activity
Green = A favorable circumstance for fantasy play

Nearly half of the NHL will be playing on back-to-back nights, so if you're looking to steal some points with a backup goalie, here's a good chance. That being said, the next two weeks of NHL action is fairly slow. Let's see if we can find you a competitive advantage.

Team Trends

The Western Conference leading Dallas Stars (16 points) have a slow week that starts with a match-up against the rival Avs, then they're on the road for four straight. Anaheim finishes their seven-game road trip with three formidable opponents to start the month. Buffalo, will continue their five-game homestand. After hosting the Flyers (Wednesday) and Flames (Friday), the Sabres visit the Sens in Ottawa on Saturday. Florida has three at home, while Winnipeg endures an East Coast Swing.

As noted in the grid, Calgary has a tough road ahead, playing all solid hockey clubs this week. Starting with their Halloween battle in Chicago, Nashville embarks on a five-game road trip. Meanwhile, Vancouver starts off the month on a six-game road trip. Eastern Conference leader Pittsburgh (18 points) starts off November slow, playing only four games in the first two weeks. Three of four will be on the road. Columbus starts off November under the radar as well, playing two games both this week and next.

Edmonton will rack up the frequent-flier miles in November. Including a six-game road trip starting this week, 10 of their 14 games in the month of November will be in white jerseys. Additionally, they will play games on back-to-back nights three times this month. Detroit spends the first two weeks (six games) of November at the friendly confines of Joe Louis Arena. Starting on Halloween night, Chicago has a rough road ahead, playing seven games in the next 12 days, including back-to-back nights this week as well as next week.

FA pool is calling...

Coyotes LW Ray Whitney (52% owned) has five goals, five assists and 25 shots on goal in 11 games played. Center Alex Burmistrov (44 %) has nine points (3 G, 6 A) in 10 games for the Jets. The Dallas Stars will need a huge season from center Steve Ott (49% ) to keep atop the Western Conference. Otter has two goals, six assists, 25 PIM and 42 hits, while managing a plus-4 thus far. Still just 57% owned in CBS leagues, Nikolai Khabibulin (4-0-2, .964, 0.97) has been splendid for the Oilers this season.