On the Forecheck (via Puckdaddy) has some updated numbers regarding Strength of Schedule for the balance of the season, and adds some additional angles to consider.
Caps looking goooooood here. Relatively few back-to-back sets, bad opponents, and fewer road games than the rest of the contenders for the top seed in the East.
Looking at it another way, if the Devils put it in gear and play, say, .700 hockey the rest of the way (note that their current
win points pct is .667), they end up with 111.2 points. Let's be generous and round them up to 112 points.
The Caps would only need to play .611 hockey for the balance of the schedule to end up with 113 points.
Of course, the one club with an "easier" schedule than the Caps is those very same NJD. But they have two more sets of back-to-back games, and their opponents, while they have a lower points percentage, have a slightly higher 5 v. 5 goal ratio. In rough terms, a wash (?).
By one metric, at least, the Caps are a 70% favorite to take the top seed in the East. Their schedule, which gets particularly east after the Olympic break, has got to be a major factor in that number.