Sunday, February 22, 2009

T-Minus Seven Weeks

With the regular season ending seven weeks from today, it's time to take a look at how the Eastern playoff chase breaks down, and how the teams stack up - and take a shot at how the teams will finish up.

1) Boston (40-12-8, 88 points, 22 games remaining): Things are getting a bit more interesting in race for the top spot in the East, as the Bruins go down to Florida and come up empty. Now, the Capitals trail the B's by seven points with the the final head-to-head meeting coming Saturday in Boston. Prediction: First

2) Washington: (38-17-5, 81 points, 22 games remaining): Despite a setback against the Avalanche, the Caps win three out of four games over the week and start to gain ground on the Bruins and move past the Devils into second spot. The Caps need to keep pushing now, as the just five of the last 15 games will be at home where the Caps are 19-1-1 against Eastern foes. Prediction: Third

3) New Jersey (38-19-3, 79 points, 22 games remaining): New Jersey is expected to get Martin Brodeur back in the lineup Thursday, and now the big question is how the Devils will do down the stretch with their future Hall of Famer back in net. They definitely will be another team that will put pressure on Boston for the top overall seed. Prediction: Second

4) Philadelphia (31-17-9, 71 points, 25 games remaining): With three games in hand over New Jersey, the Flyers aren't quite out of the Atlantic Division yet, although Philadelphia looks like they're tracking towards at least the fourth seed in the East with the other teams below them struggling. Prediction: Fourth

5) Montreal (31-22-7, 69 points, 22 games remaining): The Habs get more bad news with the benching of Alexei Kovalev and the Kostitsyn brothers' ties to an accused cocaine dealer. However, despite the team's struggles, the good news is the other teams around them also have some major issues as well. Prediction: Seventh

6) Florida (30-21-8, 68 points, 23 games remaining): The Panthers are in a prime position now to end a seven-year playoff drought with the teams around them not seemingly interested in landing a playoff spot. Now, a key five-game road trip looms with stops in Boston, Manhattan, New Jersey, Washington and Atlanta will go a long way towards deciding their fate. Prediction: Fifth

7) Buffalo (31-23-6, 68 points, 22 games remaining): Ryan Miller's injury puts the Sabres squarely on the playoff bubble, as without their No. 1 netminder and Thomas Vanek still out for most of March, Buffalo will have a tough time getting back into the postseason. Prediction: Ninth

8) Rangers (31-23-6, 68 points, 22 games remaining): The Rangers continue to struggle, so it's just a matter of when New York decides to kick Tom Renney to the curb. But the longer the team waits, the team puts its playoff hopes more in jeopardy. Prediction: Tenth

9) Carolina (31-25-5, 67 points, 21 games remaining): The 'Canes get hot and are putting the pressure on the teams above them, sitting just one point out of a playoff spot with less than two months to play in the season. Prediction: Sixth

10) Pittsburgh (29-26-6, 64 points, 21 games remaining): After a coaching change, rumors of a shakeup in personnel abound in Pittsburgh. Now, while the Penguins have enough talent to make up the four-point gap, will the team actually get its act together before it's too late? Prediction: Eighth

2 comments:

  1. Great work, Ted! Good to see you in the box yesterday. I've added you to my blog roll too at stormingthecrease.com.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rob-

    Many thanks - added you as well!

    Ted

    ReplyDelete