2) We'll look at those teams their remaining schedules and predict who will be 'in the money' come April 8th, and who will have an early start to hone their golf game:
- N.Y. Islanders: Games Remaining:12. 6 Home 6 Road. Other than 2 more with Philly, who is playing better of late the Isles remaining games don't bode well, especially with their seeming lack of chemistry since the Smyth trade. However, they do play the Rangers twice more and Toronto, so they do still have their destiny in their own hands. They will probably need to win 7 perhaps 8 of their final 12.
- Carolina: Games remaining:10 5 Home 5 Road. Have yet to put it together all season. Their remaining schedule would seem to be favorable, but the Hurricane have not shown us anything so far. Perhaps they can finally step up, but they will need to win a minimum of 6 and probably 7 of their remaining 10 games.
- Toronto: Games Remaining: 12 6 Home 6 Road. Right now a point out. A must win tonight against the hapless Caps. After that the schedule not easy with 2 games each with Buffalo and rival Habs. They will need to win 8 of their final 12 to have a chance
- N.Y. Rangers: Games remaining: 12 5 Home 7 Road. However 2 of those road games are at their cross town rival's Islander building where they seem to play well, as well as a game in Philly. Taken as dead as recently as a week ago, have somehow been revitalized despite a spate of injuries to key players. Being carried by Ludqvist's goaltending and Jagr's scoring. Would realistically need to win 8 of their final 12 to have a shot at the post season.
- Montreal: Games Remaining: 11 6 Home 5 Road. With 3 against Boston, 2 with the Rangers and Toronto the Habs play the teams they have to beat. So if they fail to qualify for the post season they will have no one to blame but themselves. That said with the loss of Huet its amazing that they have any shot at all. Will probably need to win 8 of the remaining 11
- Boston: Games remaining: 12 5 Home 7 Road. Have the most unlikely road to get into the post season. Blew a opportunity when they had a ton of games in hand. Now they are 5 points on the outside with a tough remaining schedule. They would probably need to win 10 of their 12 remaining games, not a likely feat
3) So what does this all mean? Basically it appears who will get into the playoffs will be determined who does best in their head to head match ups the last 2 weeks. Which makes for good drama, and no one will be 'backing into' the post season! If you get in, you have clearly earned it!