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Soft schedule could help the Islanders turn things around

Sep 27, 2011, 1:00 PM EST

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Matt Moulson, John Tavares AP

With the 2011-12 season rapidly approaching, the gang at PHT decided to take a look at all 30 NHL teams’ schedules. Each team’s highs and lows will be studied in detail to give you an idea of what the future might hold for each squad.

Note: Mileage figures via On the Forecheck’s “Super Schedule.”

New York Islanders schedule analysis

Total mileage: 32,410 (third lowest total in NHL, second least in Atlantic Division)

Back-to-back games: 13

Toughest stretches

The Islanders don’t really have any significantly brutal stretches, but the end of their season might be a little bit rocky.

They’ll play five of six games on the road in late February, including four in a row against the Senators, Capitals, Flyers and Bruins. The saving grace of that stretch is that there aren’t any back-to-back games. (Interestingly enough, that stretch will be followed by a home-away-home run of three games against the Devils.)

Late-March features a season-high five games in a row, including back-to-back games in Florida (Mar. 24 against the Lightning, then Mar. 25 versus the Panthers).

Easiest periods

The Islanders begin the season with four consecutive games at home. Generally speaking, the beginning of the season should help the Islanders live up to much of the optimism building about their team.

October ends with four of five games at home, with a short trip to Pittsburgh making things that much easier to manage. Mid-November continues the early trend of positivity with five of six games at Long Island – once again being broken up by a trip to the Console Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

The rest of the season gets a bit more challenging, although there are minor runs in just about every month.

Overall outlook

Generally speaking, the Islanders benefit from a pretty favorable schedule. They don’t have to deal with much travel, while 13 back-to-back games is in the lower end.

Their schedule doesn’t really have many sharp highs or lows, which means that the Islanders are in a solid position to succeed in 2011-12. If they fall short of their goals, they can’t blame the league’s schedule makers.

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