The Washington Capitals have completed 26 games of their 56-game schedule so far this season. Believe it or not, there are only 30 games remaining in the regular season. The good news, the Capitals are just two points out of first place behind the New York Islanders, and still have a game in hand.
Because of the unusual nature of the schedules for this unique 56-game season, where the eight teams in the East Division will face each other an equal number of times during regular season, the strength of schedules to date and the subsequent remaining strength of schedules have a lot more meaning than in a typical season.
So who’s had the toughest schedule so far? And who has the toughest remaining schedule? Here’s a quick look at who’s played who, how many times, and the current points percentages for each team. The cumulative strength of schedule (SOS) points percentage is in the far right column. (Click to enlarge)
The Capitals have had the second-easiest schedule to date (.523). The positive news is the first place Islanders have had the easiest schedule to date (.519). Both teams have faced the Sabres and Devils 10 times, three more times than the next closest team, the Flyers, who have faced the cellar-dwellers just seven times.
Unfortunately, this means that the Capitals and Islanders will face a much tougher schedule than the rest of the East Division, coming down the home stretch.
By comparison, the Penguins have had the toughest schedule to date (.608), and will have an easier schedule down the stretch. The Penguins have yet to play the Devils and have played the Sabres just once. That’s 15 games remaining against the bottom two teams in the division.
The Bruins have yet to play the Sabres, and have 12 games remaining with the two cellar-dweller teams.
A lot can change with strengths of schedules in a relatively short period of time, so we will update in 10 games or so.
By Jon Sorensen