The Race for #1 Has 3 Horses
With roughly just under 20 games remaining for most Eastern Conference teams the division races are still largely undecided. Carolina is expected to hold their division lead from Tampa, but the Rangers are closely tailed by Philly, and Buffalo is a mere 2 pts behind Ottawa for the Northeast.
For that matter, Ottawa trails Carolina by only 1 pt and Buffalo also is only 3 pts back, both teams hold a game in hand on the Canes. I predict fairly safely that the race for the top seed in the East will be won by one of these 3 teams.
Without Erik Cole it is possible that Ottawa will catch Carolina and take over the top spot. However, don’t discount the Sabres especially with 4 games against Ottawa and 2 with Carolina left on their schedule. The destiny of the Northeast division and perhaps the Conference champion lies in who wins more of those 4 games remaining between Ottawa and Buffalo. If the Sabres can win 3 of the 4 or even split with the Sens it is still very possible they could surpass Ottawa and Carolina with them. The last game of the regular season for the Sabres is against Carolina, that game could determine who wins the East. All 3 teams are strong in all aspects of their game, it’s going to be a very exciting finish.
It is still a strong possibility to see this year’s President’s Trophy go to a Eastern team, and these 3 are the likely candidates. Detroit, Calgary, and Dallas are the 3 Western teams that will challenge for the President’s Trophy, but which team gets it will be fun to watch. What are your thoughts?