Effects of Travel, Back to Back Games and Difficulty of Competition

Does Travel or # Back to Back Games or the Difficulty of Schedule Matter?

I did some analysis on the data from On The Forecheck looking at the effect of distance, back to back games and Quality of Competition has on Winning. See that site for the raw data.


Do Teams That Travel Less Win More?

For Boston that travelled the least or Anaheim that travelled the most that relationship does hold. The correlation is positive but poor so there appears to be little relation between distance travelled and winning games so far this season. A more sophisticated test could separate long travel games from short travel games to see if there is winning difference between those two datasets.

Figure 1: P% vs Distance Travelled


Do Teams that play less back to back games win more?

For Boston who played only 3 back to back so far, the relationship does seem to hold for them but their winning is probably not correlated to this factor. In general the correlation is very weak and like distance there appears to be no significant relationship between # of back to back games and points %. A more sophisticated test could separate back to back games from games with at least one rest day to see if there is a difference in winning between the two datasets.

Figure 2: P% vs # of Back to Back Games


Do Teams that play easier competition win more?

The quality of competition is given by the oppositions winning percentage (so teams that have won more games are considered to be higher quality then teams that have won less). The relationship between winning (P%) and the quality of competition appears to be significant with a high correlation of 0.722. I'm not sure if avg winning P% is a good of the difficulty of the team. Then correlation is a bit trivial because it is simply a measure of the correlation between a team point percentage relative to other team's record. At any rate, Boston who faced the easiest competition has the best record. And ANA, NYI and CBJ with harder competion have worse records.

Figure 3: P% vs Difficulty of Competition


Predicted Points Based on Difficulty of Competition

Based on the above difficulty of competition regression, the predicted points for the remainder of the season (from Dec 21 onward) and final predicted overall points are given below. The playoff cutoff is at LAX at 89 points in the West and Winnipeg at 88 points in the East. The standard of deviation is +-6.4 points or (+- 3.2 games) and so the playoff race is largely undecided. If the difficulty of competition correlation persists for the remainder of the season NSH, CLB, CHI and MIN will struggle while SJS, WAS and TBL should do better for the remainder of the season.

Team Points Going Forward
Team Final Points
SJS 63
BOS 99.4
WAS 58
SJS 97.2
TBL 58
STL 97.1
COL 56
FLO 96.8
CAR 56
DET 95.7
STL 56
VAN 92.7
LAX 56
MIN 92.7
PHO 56
DAL 91.4
EDM 56
PHI 91.4
FLO 55
TOR 90.7
TOR 55
WAS 90.1
NYI 55
NYR 90.4
BOS 55
CHI 89.8
WIN 55
LAX 89.0
OTT 54
PIT 89.0
ANA 54
PHO 88.0
DET 53
WIN 88.0
VAN 53
OTT 87.9
DAL 53
TBL 87.1
CAL 52
COL 86.2
BUF 51
NJD 86.4
NYR 51
EDM 86.0
MTL 50
BUF 85.4
NJD 50
CAL 83.3
PHI 50
MTL 83.0
PIT 49
NSH 82.7
MIN 48
CAR 81.2
CLB 48
NYI 80.5
CHI 46
ANA 76.7
NSH 45
CLB 69.4 is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of

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