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September 23, 2009
Schedules And Goaltending (posted 10.21.08)
by Gus Katsaros
Quick Note*** I will be a guest on the www.illegalcurve.com Radio Show on Wednesday night at about 9:40, as a guest for their Fantasy Preview show.
I chose Evgeni Nabokov early in an H2H league last season in a draft, with reason. Champion fantasy GMs must find an edge using unconventional analysis and strategy.
Facts don't lie and I liked Nabokov, Niklas Backstrom from Minnesota and Tim Thomas in Boston) better than any goalies last season.
This season both Nabby and Thomas took a small hit, while Chris Osgood and Marc-Andre Fleury replace the preferred outlook and a little look into schedules explains why.
I do schedule analysis mainly for goaltending purposes. Standard analysis looks at back-to-back games, home stands and road trips which will be outlined as it was last season. In addition, I look at games played by teams on consecutive nights.
Outlined below are two charts. The first outlines the amount of times teams on the left axis play against opposition that has played the night before. The second looks at teams that play games on consecutive nights, while the second night's team is rested.
In 2008-09, the San Jose Sharks held on for a one point President's Trophy win over the Bruins for regular season dominance. Boston played opponents that had games the night before 16 times sporting a record of 14-2 last season. The 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) sporting a stellar record of 16-2-2 record. The 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 7 games this season (down from 16 for Boston and 20 for San Jose) and this made its way into the McKeen's rankings.
Facing opposition in games on consecutive nights the most times are the Devils with 16 (see Chart 2). The Bruins (13) make it a more difficult case to rank Thomas higher than the 10th rank.
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.
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