Breaking down the playoff race

As we all know, there are no less than 5 teams in contention for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and there is a constant power struggle within the top 8 teams. Let’s finally make sense of the muddled picture and figure out where each team will land:

Philadelphia Flyers: Philly sits at the top of the Conference right now, but are only 1 point ahead of Toronto and only 3 ahead of division rivals New Jersey. Without consistent goaltending, it’s hard to imagine the Flyers holding off all this competition. Prediction: 4th seed

Toronto: The Leafs are currently in the #2 spot and are charging at injured Philly. With good goaltending, a good offense and solid defense, it’s hard to imagine the Maple Leafs finishing behind the Flyers this season unless somebody goes down. Prediction: 1st seed

Tampa Bay: The top team in the weak southeast, Tampa is in a battle with Atlanta in which they seem to be in the drivers seat. Tortorella may use questionable tactics and make questionable decisons, but the division race is over for them. Prediction: 3rd seed

New Jersey: Currently 3 points behind Philly with 3 games in hand. The defending cup champions are again the real deal, because teams can’t score on Brodeur and the Devils defense. This teams methodical style of play can drive any team up the wall, and they always come through in the clutch. Prediction: 2nd seed

Boston: The B’s have enough talent to take the cup this year, but they might not have the drive. When it comes down to it, they’re probably the 3rd best team in their division, which is a problem with the new format where you have to play division teams more often. They should still be able to finish strong, though, and Raycroft can make some noise in the playoffs. Prediction: 6th seed

Ottawa: A team bedeviled by inconsistency and have something to prove this season. They have an overload of talent, good coaching, and have proven their ability to win against their rivals. This team is going to give a lot of people a lot of headaches come playoff time, especially if they pick up Peter Bondra. Prediction: 5th seed

Montreal: A real overachieving team currently in the 7th seed, but with the pontential to move up or down rapidly. They are in the dreaded northeast, and also have a harder time keeping momentum then the Islanders, who are on their tails for the 7th seed. The upcoming head to head matchup with the Isles will be very telling. Prediction: 8th seed

New York Islanders: Another team plagued by inconsistancy, but they have proven the most important trait of a playoff team, which is to beat their rivals. They cleaned out the devils and bedeviled the sens, and have also effectively knocked Carolina and Florida out of the race. They will outlast the Canadiens because they have a lot of matchups with Pittsburgh left, as opposed to matchups with Boston. A real good playoff sleeper pick. Prediction: 7th seed.

Buffalo: A team on the edge, they trail the Isles for the 8th and final playoff spot by 7 points. They are yet another team from the Northeast in playoff contention, but the Isles have too big a head start for the Sabres to get in this season. Maybe next year. Prediction: Miss the playoffs

Atlanta: Rapidly dissapearing in the race for the Southeast, they are just as desperate in the race against the Isles. Masterful job by Hartley, but aside from Kovalchuk and Heatley this team just doesn’t have quite enough firepower to get them in this season. Prediction: Miss the playoffs

New York Rangers: A desperate team if I’ve ever seen one, they are way too far behind to make an impact much longer. The window has closed on the ranger$, get ready for a few more summers off. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

While there are still some other teams left in contention, none of them can make a big enough impact in 30 games unless they go on a big run. My playoff teams: Islanders, Senators, Maple Leafs, Habs should all be interesting to watch and should make an impact.

Questions, comments?

57 Responses to Breaking down the playoff race

  1. LeafsFan_1710 says:

    You know what everyone fails to realize, the Leafs have a much easier schedule than the Sens do after the All-Star break. They still have to go on the Western swing playing tough games against Vancouver (Leafs beat them twice), Calgary, and Edmonton who are know push-overs. The Leafs are at home a hell of a lot more than the Sens and the Leafs have shown that they can play through injuries. You know what no one mentions about the Leafs, after the break were getting are best offensive weapon back. The leafs did this all without Almo, his return is like a good trade, but they don’t give anyone up. I’m not saying the Sens have no chance of overtaking the Leafs, I”m saying it will be difficult. Lalime has proven that he is not a number one goalie that can carry the Sens when they are injured (last night and against Dallas perfect examples). Now the Sens probably have the best line-up in the league, however, they are very in-consistent and have shown they can’t play through adversity. I think the Leafs only have to keep playing strong hockey and they will maintain first in their division. I would like to see what they do against the Flyers next time we play them, it will be a good barometer if we are healthy and playing to form.

    Nonetheless, the race should stay tight and be very exciting.

    My predictions:









    Go Leafs Go!!!

  2. EmptyNetter says:

    Hackett in the playoffs. . .eesh! I’m having flashbacks of last year when the Bruins fell apart. End of regular season, first he let in soft goals because his new goalie pads weren’t broken in. Then he was out because he sprained his pinkie finger. . .

  3. Jack_Laviolette says:

    I hate to say it, but you are right.

    …but they still have a pretty decent record in their own division and I can’t see Buffalo bumping them off 8th place.

  4. chanman says:

    No doubt, the NE is the toughest in the league. having each division represented in the top three spots is unfair. Tampa will win the 3rd spot this year, and they are a lousy club. it is a disadvantage to either Tor/ott or phi/NJ,as two of these good tems will be in 4 or 5, when they are diserving of better. all 5 clubs from the NE could be in, and at least 4 are for certain. Buffalo has gotten a bad hand with the tough teams in thier division, while all tampa has to do is keep ahead of florida.

  5. LondonK says:

    Don’t look too much into the leafs injuries. They have picked up the pace lately 6 of 8 wins. And they are getting healthier. Fitzgerald will most likely be back after the all-star break. Mogilny will be getting ready to come back. Tucker and Nolan have already come back, Eddie most likely will be ready after the break. Joe N. may be ready soon. Belak will be ready soon too, so the leafs are going to be getting close to getting everyone else back.

  6. kidhenry1 says:

    They have played the ranger$ and the Bruins recently on ESPN, and I know that they played another one early in the season…

  7. dgodlike says:

    The eastern conference isnt that tight right now and i think the 8 teams that r in the playoffs right now rstill gonna be at the end of the season



    3.Tampa Bay

    4.New Jersey







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