It is trade deadline day which is going to make predictions on tonights 11 games kind of difficult as we don’t know which teams will make trades and some teams may end up having to play a little short handed as the the they wait for the players they traded for to show up. But there are some big games with big impacts on the playoff race.
Montreal/Boston – This is a must win for Boston if they want to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They currently trail Montreal by 7 points and Montreal also has a game in hand. If they fall to 9 points back it might be all but over for the Bruins. Making matters worse is that the Bruins might be trading off some of their players. Samsonov is a likely candidate to be traded and Brian Leetch could be out the door too. This isn’t good news for Toronto, NY Islanders and Atlanta as they desperately want Boston to win.
Buffalo/Tampa – Buffalo has nothing to worry about regarding a playoff spot as they are pretty much guaranteed to finish in the top 5 in the east but they will still be playing for position and still have a cahnce to catch Ottawa for top spot in the Northeast. They current trail Ottawa by just 4 points but have a game in hand. But all the teams from New Jersey down to Boston will be cheering for Buffalo to beat Tampa as Tampa is still a playoff bubble team.
Chicago/Colorado – This will be the first test for Colorado’s interim goaltending tandem of Budaj and Kolesnik. That’s a pretty scary goaltending tandem for Avalanche fans to have to live with for the next 3-5 weeks until Theodore can heal his heel. Because of this I think I would drop Colorado from a strong favourite to win over Chicago to a ‘some’ confidence favourite to win.
Nashville/Vancouver – The struggling Vancouver Canucks all of a sudden are becoming a playoff bubble team just 5 points ahead of 9th place Anaheim with Anaheim having 2 games in hand. They have to start winning some games or else what started as a season of high hopes will turn into a season of massive dissapoitment. That said, they are also only 2 points behind Calgary for the division lead so it could go either way for Vancouver. They could finish the 3rd seed in the playoffs or 9th and out of the playoffs. Look for Vancouver to add a defenseman or two to their roster before the 3:00pm trade deadline but that won’t likely help them for tonights game.
San Jose/Edmonton – Like Boston, a loss here might be the final nail in the coffin for the Sharks as they trail Edmonton by 8 points. It wouldn’t put them in a very good situation if they fell 10 points back though they do still have 2 games in hand over the Oilers.
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