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Unnecessary Back-to-Backs

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With his jersey pulled over his face, Dion Phaneuf was saved from having to look at Nick Foligno's ugly mug any further.
With his jersey pulled over his face, Dion Phaneuf was saved from having to look at Nick Foligno's ugly mug any further.

After dropping both games of a back-to-back this past weekend, I got to thinking; why the hell did the Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday? Both teams last played on Tuesday, against each other. First Niagara Center had no event scheduled for Thursday, January 12th, and having a game on that day would have created no additional back-to-backs for either team. Friday's game created an unnecessary back-to-back for both the Leafs and the Sabres, so what were the NHL schedule makers thinking?

So I decided to look into the Leafs schedule to find out if there were any other unnecessary back-to-back on the Leafs' schedule. Here's my criteria for an 'unnecessary back-to-back':

  1. The game can only be moved up or back 1 day.
  2. Moving the game cannot create another back-to-back situation for either team.
  3. A Saturday HNIC game for the Leafs cannot be moved.
  4. The new proposed game date must be in the same arena, and that arena must have no event scheduled for that date.

Looking at the schedule, the Leafs have 16 back-to-back sets. When I applied the 4 criteria above, I found 6 games that could be moved to another day to eliminate a back-to-back and worked with both teams and the arena scheduled.

Wed, Nov 2nd, 2011 at New Jersey
Fri, Dec 16th, 2011 at Buffalo
Fri, Jan 13th, 2012 at Buffalo
Tue, Jan 24th, 2012 at NY Islanders
Tue, Feb 14th, 2012 at Calgary
Fri, Mar 23rd, 2012 at New Jersey

So that would bring the Leafs' back-to-back number down from 16 to 10 which is a big difference when it comes to being rested for games. As Dirk Hoag answered, win percentage is 45% for teams on the back end of a back-to-back. (50% on rest otherwise). However, for the Leafs though, that falls to 27.7%. So far this season the Leafs are 2-5-1 in the tail end game of back-to-backs, 3 of those I found to be unnecessary(1-2-0 record). That means they're 20-12-4 (61.1 pts%) when playing with at least 1 day of rest.

So currently if the Leafs 3 unnecessary back-to-backs were not as such, we could assume the Leafs would have an extra 2 points in the standings; 4 extra points by the end of the season. That's the difference between finishing 9th and 7th in a close Eastern Conference. Thanks NHL schedule makers!

Links after the jump.

Leafs Links

Hey Ronnie, Good Call

Sure he's trolling, but that doesn't mean THM is wrong.

Wings-Leafs WC Pros and Cons

DGB weighs in on the rumors to see if it's even worthwhile.

Turris Scores the Winner as Ottawa Wins BoO

Fighting for Stanley with a game recap.

Anderson Carries Sens Over Leafs in Spirited BoO

Mirtle's recap.

Leafs Trade Talk Hits Frenzied Levels

I have a fear the Leafs will be buyers for naught.

Is Korbinian Holzer Going to be Traded?

Jonathan Willis talks trades.

Leafs Week in Preview

The Silver Fox looks ahead to the week.

Goose vs. Reimer

Who's Going to Lead the Way to the Playoffs? Ha, Playoffs.

Leafs Goaltending is in Good Hands, Just Not at the Moment

Are Francois Allaire goalies incapable of making high glove saves?

Other Links

Where Have the Elites Gone?

US of Hockey looks into the parity going on in the NCAA.