|Red Sox – Dodgers Trade Rumor: Jon Lester for Matt Kemp?||Patriots Training Camp Notes: Tom Brady Sees Fewer Reps||Red Sox Trade Rumors: AJ Pierzynski to Cardinals, Jon Lester to…||Celtics Should Forget About Love, Try to Move Rondo|
It’s almost time for the playoffs, and five of the spots have been locked up so far. But only Vancouver has clinched a division, and they’ve even clinched their conference, and their magic number is down to four points to clinch the President’s Trophy. It’s still pretty packed out West otherwise, though Chicago and the rest are trying to build a bit of room for themselves so they can sort out seeding. Boston has two games in hand and seven points on Montreal, so that division is all but wrapped up. Things may be shaping up, but there’s still a long way to go, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, March 30 at 10:15pm:
Vancouver has clinched an entire conference, and Chicago was shut out against Boston in Boston, which has has been an embarrassment for teams this year. Chicago is just not in any shape to damage the best team in the NHL right now.
Detroit is quickly losing its hold on #2, currently just one game ahead of San Jose and having just been throttled 10-3 at home against St. Louis. Anaheim is doing well for themselves lately, but not good enough to rocket their way up the standings, which wouldn’t take much in the West. Despite some rough patches, Detroit is still good enough to fight off Anaheim.
This match is looking to be a lot like Detroit/Anaheim, record-wise. In addition, Nashville has a better defense, while San Jose is more offense orientated. That’ll make it a longer series, but with the home/away records even more tipped towards San Jose, the Sharks should pull it out, Game 7 or otherwise.
Phoenix may have one more point, but the Kings still have two games in hand, huge at the end of the season. Plus, the Kings have one of the better defenses in the league. Phoenix’s defense should grant L.A. opportunities now and then. And with five less one-point losses, L.A. is better in close games.
A 5-2 win in Pittsburgh Tuesday helped the Flyers start their climb out of their recent slump, but it’ll still be difficult for them to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. The Flyers still have a very good offense, and with New York’s home problems, such as losing to Ottawa and only scoring once in a shutout victory over Florida, Philadelphia should still advance.
It’s looking like if things stay the way they are, Washington will win without too much trouble. As Alex Ovechkin is coming back, Ryan Miller is going out with upper body issues. Told you things weren’t looking good for Buffalo.
Boston has racked up five good performances in a row, while Montreal‘s once proud defense has been lessening, and their pitiful offense got them shut out three times in a row last week. If Montreal laid such an egg last time out against Boston when they were supposed to be getting revenge for Pacioretty, they’ll have an even harder time winning, which considering how the season overall went, Montreal might have won. Now, it’s not certain by any means.
Before losing to Philly, Pittsburgh won four games in a row, all of them in a shootout. The Lightning are decent in their own right, but they just give up way too many goals to beat an offensively minded team like Pittsburgh.
Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, NHL Playoffs, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals