Your weekly shot of hockey to go with your afternoon coffee
We’ve reached the final week. The final 16 are getting closer and closer to locking up but seeding is another story entirely.
Hottest Team: Pittsburgh Penguins (100 Pts, #3 Metropolitan, 9-1 in Last 10 Games)
The Penguins are white hot. The Caps have the Overall #1 Seed locked up by mile but the Penguins will probably find someway to steal that as well. Interestingly enough, with the amount of goals they’ve been scoring recently, Pittsburgh has become the #3 offense in the NHL
Runner Up: Florida Panthers (99 Points) – The Panthers seem to be the only team in the Atlantic Division with a legitimate shot on the Eastern Conference crown. 7-3 over their last ten is helping Florida pull away for the division crown.
OTHER: The Blues and Stars going back-and-forth for 1st in the Central. Dallas’ 3-game advantage in ROW is the tiebreaker.
Coldest Team: Boston Bruins (88 Pts, #3 Atlantic, 4-4-2 in Last 10 Games)
“The Bruins could potentially miss the playoffs.” Last week when I wrote that it was a possibility; now it’s seeming more than likely. The saving grace is their final three games are in Boston, including Thursday night against the Red Wings.
Runner Up: Minnesota Wild (87) and Colorado Avalanche (82) – Minnesota pretty much has WC2 in the West locked up but they can’t put it away. You’d think Colorado would try to capitalize right? No! Both teams have lost three-straight.
What to Watch For This Week:
Everything! Every game matters, it’s the final week of the season after all. Between playoff seeding and lottery seeding, a lot of the placement of teams is still up in the air. At the bottom of the league, Edmonton and Toronto are tied with 67 points. The Oilers have more wins so Edmonton has to have fewer points than Toronto. I referenced the Minnesota/Colorado race but that should be wrapped up before the weekend as should most of the seeding in the West. The East is where it gets fun. We’ll get to the Flyers’ impact in a moment but the aforementioned Boston/Detroit game on Thursday has probably the greatest implications, probably the finishing blow to one of the teams. Detroit could be playing for more depending on how tomorrow’s game goes against…
“The 2015-16 Philadelphia Flyers will leave me with a heart attack by the time this season ends.” I’m quoting last week again but now I’m certain I’ll have a heart attack. Last week was going well until Sunday’s debacle. I loved how physical the Flyers were against the Capitals last Wednesday. They grinded out a victory in a “show-me” game. I’m still in disbelief that they won it in a shootout. The game against the Sens could have felt less claustrophobic but they still pulled it out. The PECO Power Play seemed to be coming into form just time (3-for-4 against Ottawa) until everything unraveled on Sunday against the Penguins. The good news is that Detroit and Boston have been lackluster down the stretch so the Fly Guys actually hold the second wild card all by themselves. The bad news is that the Flyers finish the season with four games in five days. Tomorrow night, they’ll face the Red Wings in Detroit on NBCSN only to return home Thursday against the Maple Leafs. After a day off they’ll host the white hot Penguins in hopes to avoid the season sweep, and will finish up Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn to make up a snow-delayed game against the Islanders.
Come Friday morning, it will be apparent who is going to be in position for that second wild card. If Carolina beats Boston tonight and the Flyers win Wednesday, our Fly Guys should be a great position against a weak Toronto team.
Disagree? Let me know in the comments