Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Down The Stretch We Come!

1) The seemingly never-ending NHL season is winding downward fast. The end of the regular season is April 6th, a mere 11 days away. Most teams have 5 or so games remaining. Playoff spot battle will probably come down to the final buzzer of the final games on Sunday 4/6, but at this juncture its probably safe to say that 11 teams are 'out of it', while the other 19 teams battle for the 16 playoff slots.

2) In the East the interesting battles that seem to be shaping up are:

  • Fight for the final 2 slots. 3 teams: Philadelphia, Boston and Washington are fighting it out for the 7th and 8th slots. with 88, 86, and 84 points each respectively. Ordinarily we'd say that Philly is a safe bet to get in, however their remaining schedule against other Atlantic teams is going to make it tough, while Washington holding up the rear of these 3 only plays relatively weak SE division foes, 3 of those at home. While Boston is playing the poorest of the 3 and has tough games against the NE division and Devils remaining. This race is the reason we don't bet on sports!

  • Battle for tops in the East- With all 3 divisions apparently all but settled, the remaining interest will be with who wins the conference regular season title, giving themselves home ice for the first 3 rounds of the playoffs. Carolina will win the SE, Pittsburgh the Atlantic, and Montreal the NE (for the first time in over a decade!) Only 1 point separates the pens from the Habs. On paper at least the Canadiens seem to have a slight edge in schedule, with 2 games each remaining with the Maple Leafs and Sabres, but those games are never gimmes so it is likely to go down to the final game when the pens visit the Flyers (who may be fighting fr their playoff lives!)

3) Here are the races of interest in the West:

  • Battle for the bottom spots: Four teams, Vancouver, Colorado, Nashville and Edmonton are fighting for the final 2 slots, with a mere 3 points separating the 4 teams. (The Canucks have a game in hand on the other 3) Of the 4 we'd say the Canucks have an inside track on one of the slots with that game in hand AND 4 home games left. While the Oilers would be the long shot with 3 points out and only one of their remaining games at the Rexall Center. That leaves the Preds and Avs fighting for the last spot. Colorado has a 2 point edge right now, but the Predator schedule seems much friendlier, with games left against weak Central opponents Columbus, St. Louis(2) and Chicago, but only 1 is at home. If forced to guess we'd say the Canucks and Preds get in, but its NOT going to be an easy road to get there!

  • Battle for the NW division. Calgary-90, and The Wild-89 are battling to see who will finish 3rd or 6th in the tough Western Conference. With 4 of their 5 games remaining(including one with the Flames) we'd give the slight edge to the Wild, but as with the other races, its gonna be a fun finish!


T. Lloyd said...

I'm forced to agree that we seem like we don't want to get into the playoffs. However I think we'll get ourselves turned around enough to slip in. I do't think it matters if we're 7th or 8th. We have a game on hand against the other teams too.

Off the Post said...

You beat me to what i was gonna say loyd. The B's have a game in hand and I think we can turn it up a notch to get in. I just hope we don't see the Canadians. We have lost every game to those jerks this year.

Dr. George Varga said...

I find myself having to disagree with the good blog administrator with regard to how the West will play out. I have seen my team fight through much adversity this season. It seems almost every valuable player has been lost to injury at some point or other this season. Colorado has had numerous reasons to quit, yet we are right in the thick of the race. For this reason I believe that we will find a way. I realize that the predators might have an easier road ahead, but in the end I can see my Av's still on their collective feet come April 7th! Thanks for your time gentlemen.


1) Post and Lloyd: For some reason the Bruins game in hand info was omitted from the piece. Thanks for straitening this issue.
2) Dr.: Well, your assessment looks even better in light of how your Avalanche handled the Canucks last night. However there are a few more games left to be played. We never said they had no chance, just that Nashville's remaining schedule appeared more friendly.

Ron said...

I like the penguins chances at finishing first. We're getting Sid back tonight and Therrian can now roll out 2 impressive lines. How many teams can send out a player like Crosby or Malkin as their top centers? I bet we score 10 tonight!


The boys put up a hell of a fight, but I think we're about done. Only 4 games and 3 points to make up. I only hope that the canucks stink up the joint the rest of the way like they did at the end last night. Playoffs or not, I'm proud of our guys for not giving up when many thought they would.

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