Who Is Going To Win The President's Trophy?

With the trade deadline past us, the NHL excitement now turns to the playoff races that are evolving. This year, the major race is not who is going to make the playoffs, rather, who is going to finish first overall in the league and win not only the President’s trophy, but home ice advantage throughout the entire playoffs as well.

The intention of this article is to break down the remaining schedules for the 7 teams that still have a legitimate shot at #1.Tampa Bay Lightning

Current Position – 1st in The East (91 Pts)

Games Remaining – 13

Home Games – 7 (19-7-4-2)

Road Games – 6 (20-10-4-3)

Division Games – 4 (10-6-3-0)

Games against Non Playoff Teams – 7

Conference Games – 13 (31-14-5-1)

Non Conference Games – 0

Outlook

The Tampa Bay Lightning are by far the hottest team in the NHL right now, having only lost once in regulation in their past 24 games. By not making any major deals on deadline day, the Tampa management is showing their confidence in the group of players which they have. Expect Tampa Bay to continue to roll throughout the remainder of the regular season as long as St. Louis, Richards, Stillman and Lecalvier continue to produce at their torent pace.

Detroit Red Wings

Current Position – 1st in The West (90 Pts)

Games Remaining – 14

Home Games – 6 (26-5-4-0)

Road Games – 8 (13-12-6-2)

Division Games – 5 (11-6-1-1)

Games against Non Playoff Teams – 7

Conference Games – 14 (30-11-8-1)

Non Conference Games – 0

Outlook

The Red Wings have recently been bitten by the injury bug with several players injured in the last week, particularly Robert Lang who is expected to miss upto a month with cracked ribs. On a positive note however, Derian Hatcher has returned from his knee injury and should improve the Detroit defence dramatically and add some size and toughness. The major problem for Detroit is the fact that they have 8 more road games this year, and they barely are above .500 away from Joe Louis Arena.

Philadelphia Flyers

Current Position – 2nd in The East (90 Pts)

Games Remaining – 11

Home Games – 6 (22-7-2-3)

Road Games – 5 (14-10-10-3)

Division Games – 6 (11-4-3-0)

Games against Non Playoff Teams – 4

Conference Games – 10 (29-13-9-3)

Non Conference Games – 1

Outlook

The Philadelphia Flyers are one of the biggest teams in the league and can play a great physical game, but can also put the puck into the net. Bobby Clarke did some major renovations with this team in the last month by bringing in key players such as Zhamnov from Chicago, Burke from Phoenix, and Malakov from the Rangers. With Burke and Esche, Philly has a solid one, two goalie combination. Look for Philadelphia to continue to use their size and their grit to work down their opponents for the rest of the regular season. Roenick returning this season looks doubtful, however, should he be able to, he would just add to the fire power of this team.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Current Position – 3rd in The East (88 Pts)

Games Remaining – 12

Home Games – 6 (20-11-2-2)

Road Games – 6(18-9-7-1)

Division Games – 7 (9-7-1-0)

Games against Non Playoff Teams – 4

Conference Games – 11 (28-17-7-1)

Non Conference Games – 1

Outlook

How well the Toronto Maple Leafs do for the remainder of the season rests on the back of Ed Belfour. As long as Belfour stays healthy, the Leafs have a good shot at first in the division, and possibly first in the conference. The aquisitions of veterens Brian Leetch and Ron Francis should add more character to the Leaf dressing room and add jump to the Leaf’s Power Play. First place in the Northeast could come down to the final game of the season, April 4, between the Leafs and Sens.

Ottawa Senators

Current Position – 4th in The East (88 Pts)

Games Remaining – 13

Home Games – 3 (22-7-5-4)

Road Games – 10 (15-11-4-1)

Division Games – 4 (8-8-3-1)

Games against Non Playoff Teams – 5

Conference Games – 8 (29-16-8-3)

Non Conference Games – 5

Outlook

The Ottawa Senators do not have the friendliest schedule remaining; only 3 home games, and two long road trips ahead of them. The Senators have improved their defence with the addition of Greg deVries from the Rangers at the deadline. deVries will compliment the blue line well along side Chara, Redden and Phillips. In order for Ottawa to be successful the remainder of the season, they must keep their heads in the game and stay away from the penalty box. The Sens only have 4 division games remaining, which could play into their favour because they are in the toughest division in the league.

Colorado Avalanche

Current Position – 2nd in The West (87 Pts)

Games Remaining – 13

Home Games – 4 (17-13-5-1)

Road Games – 9 (18-4-7-4)

Division Games – 2 (11-7-4-0)

Games against Non Playoff Teams – 7

Conference Games – 10 (27-13-9-5)

Non Conference Games – 3

Outlook

Watch out for the Avalanche! The addition of Gratton and Salo improve Colorado greatly. Colorado was looking for a 3rd line power forward and they found that in Gratton, and Salo should compliment Aebecheir well. The Colorado offence finally came alive the other night against Vancouver producing 9 goals. Kudos goes to Lacroix who was able to pull the trigger on both trades yesterday despite all the distractions of the Bertuzzi – Moore incident. Colorado is set up for a long run into the playoffs and although they have 9 road games left this season, surprisingly the Avalanche play better away from the Pepsi Center.

Bostin Bruins

Current Position – 5th in The West (87 Pts)

Games Remaining – 12

Home Games – 8 (14-9-8-2)

Road Games – 4 (19-7-6-5)

Division Games – 6 (8-5-2-3)

Games against Non Playoff Teams – 5

Conference Games – 11 (29-16-8-3)

Non Conference Games – 1

Outlook

The Bruin’s powerplay will be improved greatly with the aquisition of Sergei Gonchar from the Washington Capitals firesale. The Bruins have been playing mediocore as of late, but should improve now that Thornton is scoring goals again. The Bruins have a pretty strong team, however the question of goaltending arises. Andrew Raycroft has been solid for the B’s, however, Potvin, brought in as a free agent to be a number one goalie has been streaky; either bad or horrible. Raycrofts inexperience could be his only downfall as the playoff’s approach. Look for Potvin to start playing more down the stretch and hopefully get into a groove for the playoffs. If Potvin can turn his game around, look for him to be the goto guy come first round of the playoffs.

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And now my picks as to who will finish #1

1. Tampa Bay

2. Toronto

3. Ottawa

4. Detroit

5. Philly

6. Colorado

7. Boston

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