To put it in familiar terms, the 2020-21 regular-season schedule is day-to-day. It's incredibly subject to change - in fact, it's likely to change.
The Carolina Hurricanes played three games before having to press the pause button and are now on track to resume their schedule following a temporary shutdown.
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With still 95% of the schedule to be played, let's dive back into some (new) highlights and trends found within the remaining 53 games …
… and hopefully this time around it doesn't change again, however hopelessly optimistic that may be.
Do the Shuffle
The Canes had four games postponed during their temporary shutdown, but in total, the league had to reshuffle six games on the schedule. With multi-day gaps between games already built into the schedule in some instances, the NHL was able to squeeze in the four make-up games without having to push back the end of the regular season.
Pack it Up, Pack it In
An already compact schedule just got tighter. The Canes are still playing a 56-game regular season in 116 days, but the remaining 53 games are now going to be played in just 101 days. What was a schedule with one game for every 2.07 days on the calendar is now a schedule with one game for every 1.91 days on the calendar.
The Canes were supposed to open at PNC Arena with a six-game homestand beginning Thursday, Jan. 21. Now, their home opener - typically a tentpole event of the regular season - will be Thursday, Jan. 28 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, followed by a two-game set against the Dallas Stars.
While there might not be any fans in attendance to begin the season, the team will have the support of fan cutouts in the south end of the lower bowl.
Challenging the Champs
The Canes will face off when the defending Stanley Cup champions eight times in the next 53 games, beginning with the home opener on Jan. 28. Carolina then hosts Tampa Bay on Feb. 22 before heading south for a two-game, back-to-back set at Amalie Arena Feb. 24-25.
Comforts of Home
The longest homestand of the season remains: eight straight games at PNC Arena from April 3-17 when the Stars, Panthers, Red Wings and Predators come through Raleigh in a 15-day stretch.
The team's second longest homestand of the season was going to be their first (six games in 11 days to end January), but it's now a five-game set from Feb. 15-22 when Columbus, Florida, Chicago and Tampa Bay swing by.
Going Back to Back
The Canes were in the middle of their first of 10 sets of back-to-back games when their 2020-21 season was paused. Now, the team will play 11 sets of back-to-back games, accounting for 22 of their next 53 games (41.5%).
Ten of the 11 back-to-backs feature the same opponent either at home or on the road; there is no travel in between games, and the second game is simply a rematch of the first. The one exception is in early March when the Canes are in South Florida on March 1 and Nashville on March 2.
It's no surprise that rescheduling postponed games would make an already tightly packed schedule even more compact. The four games wiped from January were evenly redistributed to February and March. April remains the team's busiest month with 16 games on the docket. It's also one of the densest months, with those 16 games being played in a 29-day stretch, equaling one game for every 1.81 days on the calendar. February is now also pretty dense, with 14 games in a 26-day stretch, equaling one game for every 1.86 days on the calendar. The Canes finish the season with a frantic five games in eight days in early May.
|January ||3 ||3 ||6 |
|February ||5 ||9 ||14 |
|March ||8 ||7 ||15 |
|April ||9 ||7 ||16 |
|May ||3 ||2 ||5 |
|MONTH ||HOME ||ROAD ||TOTAL |
Thursday remains the busiest day of the week for the Canes, who play on every Thursday of the season except three (Jan. 21, Feb. 18 and May 6). Monday is typically a lighter day on the schedule, but the team is now slated to play 10 games (four at home, seven on the road) this season on the first day of the traditional workweek.
The original iteration of the Canes' schedule was quirky in that Wednesdays were completely void of games. The team will now play twice on Wednesday in back-to-back weeks: Feb. 17 against the Panthers at home, and Feb. 24 against the Lightning on the road.
|Monday ||4 ||6 ||10 |
|Tuesday ||3 ||6 ||9 |
|Wednesday ||1 ||1 ||2 |
|Thursday ||7 ||7 ||14 |
|Friday ||1 ||1 ||2 |
|Saturday ||8 ||5 ||13 |
|Sunday ||4 ||2 ||6 |
|DAY ||HOME ||ROAD ||TOTAL |