Eastern playoff picture….

What it’s shaping up to be in the standings. Here’s a view of what the playoff pairings should look like.

Eastern Conference:

Ney Jersey
Tampa Bay
NY Islanders

Prediction come playoffs:
#1 Buffalo vs #8 NY Rangers (buffalo in 6)
#2 New Jersey vs #7 Atlanta (NJ in 5)
#3 Tampa vs #6 NY Islanders (Isles in 6)
#4Pittsburgh vs #5 Ottawa (Ottawa in 7)

Note I have the Rangers in the final slot. It really is anyones guess how this will pan out in this. I think the old adage that “defence wins” is what I’m basing this on….look at the stats. The Rangers have had 20+ fewer goals scored on them then any of the other teams.(185, next lowest 209, Carolina)
Not the best of defences, but a great goaltender in Lundquist.
Carolina, Montreal, Toronto and Boston are all valid contenders, but like I said, defence wins. I see Montreal and Toronto taking 9th & 10th with Carolina freefalling and Boston just runnning out of steam.

I can’t see NJ catching Buffalo for the top slot, especially with the Sabres getting a few of their top guns back soon in Drury, perhaps Connolly, and Kotalik, Paille, & Afinogenov due back soon. Defence wins for the Devils; and Broduer has been at his best the entire season. Thank Marty for once again carrying this team to the elite in the conference.

With Lecaviler and St Louis ripping through goaltenders the way they are, they will keep Atlanta at bay for rights to the Southeast. Atlanta needs another year of development and building chemistry and team defence to become a reconized force in the playoffs. Hossa, Kovalchuk & Letoneh will make it interesting whoever they play.

The Isles have a new leader to give the team face and toughness, and coupled with Dipietro and his stunningness of late, I see them pushing up a spot to the 6th.
Pittsburgh/Ottawa. These two seem destined to meet. I think it will be one of the most entertaining matches in the 1sst round if it happens. Pittsburgh has the lead in gunners, but Ottawa retains a large edge in defence. I think it looks be a 7 game series.

It’s all debatable. please share.