Pretty much every NHL team, especially the ones in the Eastern Conference, make their road trips to Western Canada in one swoop, so they don’t have to return to the frozen wasteland tundra that is Western Canadian winters.
As a result, the Flames, Oilers, and Canucks often play teams on back-to-back games and if one of those three teams wins, the other two fanbases love to come crawling out and say “Oh yeah, we tired them out for you!” or “You only won because they were playing their backup since we played their starter last night” yadda yadda yadda.
This article sets out to find which Western Canadian team’s fanbase can use this argument the most and back it up.
To begin, teams often play the Alberta stretch on back-to-back nights as Edmonton and Calgary are only a half hour flight apart. This results in one of the two teams getting to play the tired squad, as we saw this past weekend with the Jets playing in Calgary then in Edmonton. Vancouver is only a short hop away as well, which gets them in on the action too, but not to the same extent as CGY-EDM.
So let’s look at who plays the most on the first and second half of other team’s back-to-backs and from that, we should be able to gather who has it the worst.
Just a quick few notes for the table below:
- Home and Home games between these teams were cancelled out of the table
- This table only considers back-to-backs that involved these three teams both on the first night and second night
- Listed Alphabetically by Team Name not by Game Date
From what we gather in this table, the Flames play the most games on the first half of other team’s back-to-backs. This means the Flames are playing the more rested teams 5 more times than Edmonton.
Edmonton meanwhile gets to play the “tired” team 3 more times than the Flames do. In a sense, this should increase their chances to get points (especially if Laine continues to help them like he did on Sunday).
Vancouver has an even schedule between first and second night games, so they don’t gain or lose anything.
Altogether, we can say that the Flames have the worst/tougher compared to their Western Canadian rivals by this metric, but it’s still fairly close.
This should put to bed the fans who banter about who has tired out teams the most, as the Flames play the rested team more than Edmonton and Vancouver combined. It’s Calgary by a good margin while Edmonton gets to play the tired team the most by a decent amount.
Will this actually impact the season that much? Probably not. At the end of the day it’s up to the players to perform on a nightly basis, regardless of how tired their opponent is, but it just might be a smidgen easier for Edmonton this year, and a smidgen tougher for the Flames.