Analyzing the Devils 2015-16 Schedule

The NHL released the 2015-16 season schedule on Thursday morning. Below is the full schedule for the New Jersey Devils, as per the team’s website.

The Devils start their season with three of their first four games at home, and also end the season with their last three games on home ice. The Devils also have a home game scheduled for March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day), so presumably they will be wearing their red and green retro jerseys that night. New Jersey has five afternoon games scheduled this season (10/18 @ NYR, 10/31 vs Islanders, 2/6 vs Capitals, 2/13 @ Flyers, 2/14 vs Kings).

It seems like the Devils are going to have some tough first few games, facing the Capitals, Predators, Sharks, and Rangers before finally catching some slack against the Coyotes, Senators, Sabres, Blue Jackets, and Flyers in October. It seems like a pretty balanced month, and if New Jersey can find ways to weather the storm in the first 6 games of the season and get points in maybe half of those games, they have an opportunity to climb the standings and have a strong foothold at the end of the first month of action.

November sees the Devils with a lot of tough competition, facing largely Western Conference teams and some strong teams in the East as well, including the Islanders, Penguins and Canadiens. This will be a tough month for New Jersey, which is why getting off to a strong start in October is critical for this season’s success.

December returns New Jersey to a fairly balanced schedule, facing some relatively light competition in the first five games including the Avalanche, Hurricanes, Flyers, Panthers, and Maple Leafs. The only tough competition that I foresee as of now in December are the Ducks, Islanders, Red Wings, and Bruins. New Jersey has another good opportunity here to end 2015 on a high note, much like October, it is critical that they take advantage if they want to keep their playoff hopes high.

The New Year will prove to be difficult for New Jersey, as the Devils face largely West Coast teams in January. There are only a select few games in the first month of the year that I would say the odds favor New Jersey in, but I would love to be proven wrong. If the Devils can hang on and earn some points against some very good Western teams, their playoff chances may look good. If they falter and lose a lot of ground, well… you know how it goes.

February is the same story as January, a lot of tough teams in both the East and the West that the Devils are going to need to be on their A-game for. Racking up the points in this month will be tough, no doubt.

The last full month of the regular season shows the Devils some mercy, as they play light competition in the East for about half of the games in March. However, the Devils go back on the road and play on the West Coast for a good chunk of this month, which will be tough. They will need to put together a strong thread of games out west if they want to improve their playoff chances.

The season ends in April with the Devils facing the Lightning twice, and also the Sabres and Maple Leafs. At least three of those games should be victories, depending where the Devils are at in the standings and how much motivation they have. Three games I consider to be winnable this month out of the four, which could be helpful if the Devils are on the edge of the playoff bubble.

As you can tell, the first three months are the best chance for the Devils to gain some points this season. They MUST take advantage of as many games as they can early in the season if they want to have a shot at the playoffs. The later it gets in the season, the more difficult the games will get, especially when New Jersey is playing tough teams in the West. If John Hynes can get his troops prepared early in the season and get them in a good rhythm, I think based on this schedule there is a better chance than the last few seasons of the Devils making the playoffs.

Cheers to a great season, folks. Below is the full schedule.

October 2015

Date Visitor Home Time (ET)
Fri Oct 9, 2015 Jets Devils 7:00 PM
Sat Oct 10, 2015 Devils Capitals 7:00 PM
Tue Oct 13, 2015 Predators Devils 7:00 PM
Fri Oct 16, 2015 Sharks Devils 7:00 PM
Sun Oct 18, 2015 Devils Rangers 1:00 PM
Tue Oct 20, 2015 Coyotes Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Oct 22, 2015 Devils Senators 7:30 PM
Sat Oct 24, 2015 Devils Sabres 7:00 PM
Tue Oct 27, 2015 Blue Jackets Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Oct 29, 2015 Devils Flyers 7:00 PM
Sat Oct 31, 2015 Islanders Devils 1:00 PM
November 2015

Date Visitor Home Time (ET)
Tue Nov 3, 2015 Devils Islanders 7:00 PM
Fri Nov 6, 2015 Blackhawks Devils 7:00 PM
Sun Nov 8, 2015 Canucks Devils 5:00 PM
Tue Nov 10, 2015 Blues Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Nov 12, 2015 Devils Blackhawks 8:30 PM
Sat Nov 14, 2015 Penguins Devils 7:00 PM
Tue Nov 17, 2015 Devils Flames 9:00 PM
Fri Nov 20, 2015 Devils Oilers 9:00 PM
Sun Nov 22, 2015 Devils Canucks 10:00 PM
Wed Nov 25, 2015 Blue Jackets Devils 7:00 PM
Fri Nov 27, 2015 Canadiens Devils 7:00 PM
Sat Nov 28, 2015 Devils Canadiens 7:00 PM
December 2015

Date Visitor Home Time (ET)
Tue Dec 1, 2015 Avalanche Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Dec 3, 2015 Devils Hurricanes 7:00 PM
Fri Dec 4, 2015 Flyers Devils 7:00 PM
Sun Dec 6, 2015 Panthers Devils 7:00 PM
Tue Dec 8, 2015 Devils Maple Leafs 7:30 PM
Fri Dec 11, 2015 Red Wings Devils 7:00 PM
Sun Dec 13, 2015 Devils Islanders 5:00 PM
Tue Dec 15, 2015 Devils Sabres 7:00 PM
Thu Dec 17, 2015 Panthers Devils 7:00 PM
Sat Dec 19, 2015 Ducks Devils 7:00 PM
Sun Dec 20, 2015 Devils Bruins 5:00 PM
Tue Dec 22, 2015 Devils Red Wings 7:30 PM
Sat Dec 26, 2015 Devils Hurricanes 7:00 PM
Tue Dec 29, 2015 Hurricanes Devils 7:00 PM
Wed Dec 30, 2015 Devils Senators 7:30 PM
January 2016

Date Visitor Home Time (ET)
Sat Jan 2, 2016 Stars Devils 7:00 PM
Mon Jan 4, 2016 Red Wings Devils 7:00 PM
Wed Jan 6, 2016 Devils Canadiens 7:00 PM
Fri Jan 8, 2016 Bruins Devils 7:00 PM
Sun Jan 10, 2016 Devils Wild 8:00 PM
Tue Jan 12, 2016 Devils Blues 8:00 PM
Thu Jan 14, 2016 Devils Avalanche 9:00 PM
Sat Jan 16, 2016 Devils Coyotes 9:00 PM
Tue Jan 19, 2016 Flames Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Jan 21, 2016 Senators Devils 7:00 PM
Sat Jan 23, 2016 Devils Jets 7:00 PM
Tue Jan 26, 2016 Devils Penguins 7:00 PM
February 2016

Date Visitor Home Time (ET)
Tue Feb 2, 2016 Rangers Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Feb 4, 2016 Devils Maple Leafs 7:30 PM
Sat Feb 6, 2016 Capitals Devils 1:00 PM
Mon Feb 8, 2016 Devils Rangers 7:00 PM
Tue Feb 9, 2016 Oilers Devils 7:00 PM
Sat Feb 13, 2016 Devils Flyers 1:00 PM
Sun Feb 14, 2016 Kings Devils 12:30 PM
Tue Feb 16, 2016 Flyers Devils 7:00 PM
Fri Feb 19, 2016 Islanders Devils 7:00 PM
Sat Feb 20, 2016 Devils Capitals 7:00 PM
Tue Feb 23, 2016 Rangers Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Feb 25, 2016 Devils Blue Jackets 7:00 PM
Fri Feb 26, 2016 Lightning Devils 7:00 PM
March 2016

Date Visitor Home Time (ET)
Tue Mar 1, 2016 Hurricanes Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Mar 3, 2016 Devils Predators 8:00 PM
Fri Mar 4, 2016 Devils Stars 8:30 PM
Sun Mar 6, 2016 Penguins Devils 5:00 PM
Thu Mar 10, 2016 Devils Sharks 10:30 PM
Sat Mar 12, 2016 Devils Kings 10:30 PM
Mon Mar 14, 2016 Devils Ducks 10:00 PM
Thu Mar 17, 2016 Wild Devils 7:00 PM
Sat Mar 19, 2016 Devils Blue Jackets 7:00 PM
Sun Mar 20, 2016 Blue Jackets Devils 5:00 PM
Thu Mar 24, 2016 Devils Penguins 7:00 PM
Fri Mar 25, 2016 Capitals Devils 7:00 PM
Sun Mar 27, 2016 Devils Hurricanes 5:00 PM
Tue Mar 29, 2016 Bruins Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Mar 31, 2016 Devils Panthers 7:30 PM
April 2016

Date Visitor Home Time (ET)
Sat Apr 2, 2016 Devils Lightning 7:00 PM
Tue Apr 5, 2016 Sabres Devils 7:00 PM
Thu Apr 7, 2016 Lightning Devils 7:00 PM
Sat Apr 9, 2016 Maple Leafs Devils 7:00 PM
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