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?


81 Responses to The Race for #1 Has 3 Horses

  1. my_sphincter says:

    I wouldn’t say that they have no chance. I hate the Leafs, but the only ugly games between OTT and the Leafs were the 3 blowouts. The rest have been really close. If Buffalo can keep it close, they have alot more talent than the Leafs to seal the deal and win.

  2. my_sphincter says:

    Alfredsson is one of the best leaders in the league. Redden is also a good leader. Chara is a guy that any team in the league would LOVE to have. Add to that the youth and talent of Spezza and Heatly and a great core roster, this team is pretty great. Havlat is a great young player, but he is not likely to be back this year.

    You just don’t win cups with guys like Alfredsson, Chara, and Havlat.

    That is a really stupid statement. Alfredsson, Chara, and Havlat are 3 of the best players in the NHL (at least Havlat will be in the next couple of years). If these players were Leafs, the’d be the second coming of Gretzky or Orr.

    If you can name one player on the Leafs better than any of these three, I’d be surprised (or you’d be diluted).

    The Sens do have both leadership and experience — most have playoff experience/International tournament experience. Have they all been to a cup final? No… But think of the Tampa team. How many players on the Lightning had won a cup/been in a final? How good was the Tampa goaltender (I think we are seeing how good he is in Chicago)? Also, how much did experience help Team Canada at the Olympics?

  3. my_sphincter says:

    Watch for the Wings to be beat in the first round. Looks like they may have to face Edmonton or Vancouver. Either way, they’re gone.

  4. my_sphincter says:

    That was a really stupid post. oh yea, really really stupid post. Oh yea, really really annoyingly stupid post.. OH YEAH!!!

    Emery is good enough for Sens to win without Hasek.

    And oh yea, Hasek is back to skating with the team this week. Oh yea, He’ll be back really soon. Oh yea, even if he isn’t, OTT will be a cup contender.

  5. cecilturtle says:

    Put it up for me… I’m good for it.

  6. cecilturtle says:

    I sure hope the Devils play Buffalo in the 1st round. Getting rid of one of those teams early makes the Rangers cup chances much higher.

  7. habs_punk says:

    It can go both ways though. Maybe the only reason Columbus, St. Louis, and Chicago are 13th, 14th, and 15th is because they have to play Detroit and Nashville more than anyone else.

  8. habs_punk says:

    Calgary is not in the race for the Western Conference championship. It’s goign to be Detroit or Dallas. If you insist on throwing a third team in the mix, why didn’t you mention Nashville who is ahead of Calgary?

  9. Flyers4Ever says:

    Don’t forget that Niitty was also the MVP and Best Goaltender of the Olympics. Sure they lost to get Silver, but he was phenomenal in every game he played.

  10. habs_punk says:

    What? You don’t place odds on teams winning based on thinking a player is going to get injured! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. That’s like me giving the Leafs 500-1 odds because I’m counting on McCabe getting injured. That’s just plain retarded.

  11. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    northwest division. vancouver and edmonton are tied for third at 76 points. 5 behind calgary and 4 behind colorado. heck minnesota is at 69.

    81

    80

    76

    76

    69

    more points then any division in the nhl.

    here is the toughest division in the league ladies and gentlemen.

  12. gohabs73 says:

    no it’s not retarded!

    some players are more injury prone and you have to take it into consideration!

    if I think Hasek has 5:1 odds of being injured more than 5 games in the playoffs and that Ottawa has 10:1 chances of winning the Cup with Dominator but 100:1 if he misses 5 games or more, then it obviously reduces their overall winning odds… right?

  13. mtrakker85 says:

    lol

    i hate that stupid AD on this page

  14. gohabs73 says:

    that’s a total of 382 pts…

    exactly the same as the Northeast.

    and Northeast has 9 less games played!

  15. NjDEVSFN says:

    you would not care if it was Toronto winning all the cups now would you?

  16. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    I once saw this clip of Alfredsson at practise on TSN, he was swearing and trashing hiw own players, he told Ray Emery he couldn’t stop a beachball? WTF is that about?

    Redden, cool guy, no problem with him.

    Havlat has a bad temper, and so does Chara, they’ll cause a team problems.

    And no, I wouldn’t like a guy just because they’re Leafs. I hate Bryan McCabe… ALOT! I hate Jason Allison… ALOT! I don’t like a guy just because they’re a Leaf.

  17. detY192003 says:

    an upset is always in the making bud. But Look at Edmonton, had a great trade deadline and theyve lost 2 of three i believe. vancouver is steady. Edmontonwill get the 8th seed and could very well upset the Wings. But I think they will be the team to beat come Playoff time. Their Chemistry has my phoenominal as of late.

  18. gemini_the_drunk says:

    Neither Edmonton or Vancouver could beat Detroit in a seven game series. It will be Detorit and Dallas in the Western finals. Dallas will win the cup.

  19. gemini_the_drunk says:

    The Northwest is loaded with the most overrated teams. I would say that the Pacific division is the toughest. Anaheim, San Jose, L.A., and Dallas are all better teams then Calgary, Vancouver, Colorado, and Edmonton.

  20. almelo95 says:

    I wouldn’t go that far… only to 1967:1. 🙂

  21. almelo95 says:

    Just to add to your comments, I live in South Buffalo and have not missed very many games this year either. Another factor that helped A LOT in terms of the young guys like Roy, Pominville, Gaustad, Paille, Novotny, etc coming up and doing a solid job is that during the lockout, Ruff spent much of his time working with Rochester in the AHL. Not just for games, but also for practices as well. I have to believe that his doing so helped these players fit into the lineup seemlessly and add to a group that was starting to grow up late in 2003-2004.

    Lindy was always a hard-working player during his time in the league and he seems to have instilled that attitude into this team. I think they are a reflection of his work ethic and it has made for a very entertaining team to watch this year.

  22. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    I live far away from the rest of the world, the closest bus stop is a 25 minute walk away, I really don’t get out much just because of distance from… everything…

  23. mtrakker85 says:

    Out of all the teams that are heading to the playoffs right now, which is the most experienced?

    Red Wings?

  24. habs_punk says:

    Maybe in your mind, but you’re NEVER going to find anyone seriously giving odds based on speculation whether someone is going to get hurt. Once he actually gets hurt, THEN the odds can go down. I know he’s hurt right now, but all indications are that he’ll be back before the playoffs.

  25. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    Bud, there’s no team in the west worse then those three.

  26. Flyers70 says:

    Know what the difference is between “experienced” and “old”? When you lose, you’re old. When you win, you’re experienced. We’ll see which one Detroit is come playoff time.

  27. my_sphincter says:

    Edmonton will come together and be a force in the playoffs. Everyone thought that Nasville would get swept by the Wings in 2004 and it didn’t happen. This years Edmonton is better than Nashville in 2004 and Detroit is weaker than they were.

    I am no Edmonton fan, but I think, if they gell as a team, they may shock everyone. I wouldn’t consider it an upset for this team to win.

  28. my_sphincter says:

    Chara has never caused team problems. He gets the team fired up and protects his goaltender and other players very well. Havlat is young, but can be reigned in by the vets. I never saw Alfredsson do anything like that, but maybe it was a wakeup call to his team. I’ve seen great coaches ream their team publically (including Pat Quinn) to get results and sometimes it works.

    As for you hating McCabe and Allison… Neither of them have nearly the talent of Alfredsson, Chara or Havlat. They don’t skate hard most of the time… Allison is a floater… McCabe is a pilon.

    What I was insinuating is IF your team had these GREAT players (Alfredsson, Chara, Havlat), and they were helping your team win (as Alfredsson and Chara are doing and Havlat will do), you would LOVE them.

  29. Aetherial says:

    As a Leafs fan, I am loathe to cheer for any Buffalo team…

    but I will be cheering for Carolina and Buffalo in the playoffs. I really like the team speed and discipline on these teams. I also like that they were both HUGE surprises this year.

    It gives me something to look forward to when the Leafs have zero chance of winning anything and almost zero chance of even making the playoffs.

  30. habs_punk says:

    And there’s no team in the West better than Detroit.

  31. SabresFan220 says:

    I appreciate the compliment if you were talking to me, but I am 20 years old.

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