As the release of the official schedule for this shortened season grows near, we are almost assured of a 48 game season composed entirely of intra-conference play. The East will play the East, and the West will play the West. Bob McKenzie noted how the schedule will likely break down:
Each team plays: 4 games vs. two Divisional opponents (8); 5 games vs. two divisional opponents (10); 3 games vs 10 Conference rivals (30).
At first glance, almost everyone spots the imbalance right away, especially in the Atlantic Division. There is a bit of luck involved in the schedule, as the teams that get an extra game against the Islanders will likely have a slightly easier schedule than those that don’t have the extra game against them. The Rangers, Flyers, and Penguins are all playoff teams. The Devils, despite losing Zach Parise, are always in the hunt, and are a dangerous team. Two of these teams will get the Islanders twice, two won’t. It’s only one game, but it could mean a four point swing the standings.