|2013 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: Third Round||After Three Hour Rain Delay, Red Sox Complete Sweep of Twins||2013 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: Second Round Results||Dempster Struggles, Ortiz Smacks Two Home Runs in 12-5 Red Sox Win Over Minnesota Twins|
Another week in, and the Maple Leafs are going strong. The Blackhawks are back on top out West, though their three closest competitors all have three games in hand, down by three points. That’s 333, which when doubled, means the Devils are currently in last place in the entire NHL. They’re followed by Ottawa and San Jose, which none of us saw coming. But it’s still early. And the Bruins still have a game in hand to move close to Toronto, and two in hand to move into 4th place. But exactly how convoluted are the standings after two weeks? Let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, October 21, before the day’s games:
Chicago has been the busiest team thus far, playing eight games, but they’ve gotten 11 points out of it, including four straight victories. Calgary is just squeaking in, and while their defense is better than Chicago’s, their offense has only scored nine times. That’s not enough to beat Chicago, even after shedding salary cap space.
Columbus is back in the picture, but the Kings’ have allowed just nine goals, and are perfect at home, 3-0-0. After breaching 100 points last season, and with some decent pieces people have heard of, the Kings are too good to fall here.
Colorado has one more point, but one more game out of hand. They’ve scored and given up 19 goals, with the Red Wings sacrificing some offense for more defense, comparatively. The Red Wings are still the Red Wings, and Colorado hasn’t been that good for a while.
The Stars have one more win, but lose out on the tiebreaker because two of their wins were in shootouts. They’ve also scored 20 goals. Nashville has better defense, but two OT home losses. Plus, those two shootout wins means Dallas is better early on in close games.
Aside from Nashville, Toronto is the only team yet to lose in regulation. It makes you wonder whether Toronto is happy they gave away Seguin for Kessel. Carolina has only played one game at home so far, but at 2-3 on the road, Toronto has got to be liking their chances.
One more win, assuming it’s not in a shootout, will make Boston a better team than Tampa, but #4 because of Toronto. Boston’s defense has been great again, giving up seven goals, though five of those are Tuukka Rask’s fault. The best defense in the league, behind only Florida, should have no problem with this one. It’s a good thing Tim Thomas realized not trying gets you booted from the starting job.
Who saw the Islanders coming? Montreal has won their last two, and has a decent defense, but without Halak? The Islanders are another one of those teams with 20 goals, and that’s what they’ve been using to win. For the Canadiens to make the upset, Carey Price will need to step up to a level he hasn’t done so far.
At 2-3 at home, Pittsburgh was out of the playoff picture not too long ago. They do have 23 goals, behind only Chicago’s 25, but the Caps have Ovechkin, and home rink advantage. Pittsburgh will need that unbeaten road mojo going for them to have a shot this time around.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, NHL Playoffs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals