Mar 232007
 

Here are the predicted NHL standings after last nights games.

Eastern Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Points Schedule
Strength
Future
GP
Future
SchedStr
Pred.
Points
Total
Points
1 Buffalo 73 101 0.479 9 0.438 13 114
2 Ottawa 75 96 0.478 7 0.456 9 105
3 New Jersey 74 94 0.461 8 0.438 10 104
4 Pittsburgh 74 92 0.463 8 0.478 9 101
5 Atlanta 75 88 0.474 7 0.445 8 96
6 NY Rangers 74 83 0.472 8 0.420 10 93
7 Tampa Bay 75 86 0.473 7 0.498 7 93
8 Carolina 74 82 0.471 8 0.455 9 91
9 NY Islanders 73 81 0.467 9 0.467 9 90
10 Montreal 75 82 0.484 7 0.485 7 89
11 Toronto 73 80 0.486 9 0.484 9 89
12 Florida 74 75 0.477 8 0.460 8 83
13 Boston 73 73 0.487 9 0.507 8 81
14 Washington 75 65 0.482 7 0.475 6 71
15 Philadelphia 74 51 0.478 8 0.517 5 56

The race is still extremely tight in the east with 6 teams predicted to finish with between 89 and 93 points. Looking at each teams remaining schedules we find that those 6 teams play each other an awful lot.

Toronto(9): at Buf, vs Buf, vs Car, at Atl, vs Pit, at NYR, vs Phi, at NYI, vs Mtl
Montreal(7): vs Was, vs NYR, at Ott, vs Buf, vs Bos, at NYR, vs Tor
Islanders(9): at Phi, vs NYR, vs NJ, at Buf, vs Ott, vs NYR, vs Tor, at Phi, at NJ
Rangers(7): at Bos, at NYI, at MTL, at Phi, vs Tor, vs Mtl, at Pit
Carolina(8): vs SJ, at Tor, at Phi, vs TB, at Fla, at TB, vs Atl, vs Fla
Tampa(7): vs Ott, vs Fla, at Car, vs Was, vs Car, vs Fla, at Atl

If I had to handicap the race I would say that the Rangers are in the best shape as they have a fairly easy schedule but more importantly Henrik Lundqvist has been playing awsome in goal for them and Shanahan has returned from his concussion. I am fairly confident the Rangers make the playoffs. Tampa is in pretty good shape too but with their goaltending you can never get too comfortable. With DiPietro back I like the Islanders as a team but with 2 games against New Jersey and one each against Buffalo and Ottawa it won’t be easy for them to make up the ground lost while he was out. And then we have the Hurricanes, Canadiens and Leafs who need something to go right for them make the playoffs. For the Hurricanes they need someone to really step up and take control. Last year Staal was that guy but he has been pretty ordinary this year. If he can step up his game for the final two weeks then the Hurricanes have a chance to move into a playoff spot. For Montreal it is all about goaltending. They aren’t that good of a team so need top tier goaltending to be competitive. Halak has provided that the past few games and because of that they have remained in the playoff race but can he, or a soon to return Huet keep that pace up? If they can, they have a chance. For the Leafs it is all about smart, hard working team play and getting some secondary scoring after the top line. Kaberle returning should certainly help but O’Neill, Stajan, Steen, Battaglia, Devereaux, Pohl and Kilger have combined for 3 goals and 8 points in March and that is not going to cut it. They need to pick up their game for the Leafs to be able to grab a playoff spot.

Western Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Points Schedule
Strength
Future
GP
Future
SchedStr
Pred.
Points
Total
Points
1 Detroit 74 100 0.510 8 0.513 10 110
2 Nashville 75 101 0.511 7 0.534 9 110
3 Anaheim 74 98 0.513 8 0.498 10 108
4 Vancouver 74 96 0.529 8 0.506 10 106
5 Dallas 73 93 0.515 9 0.504 11 104
6 San Jose 75 96 0.512 7 0.525 8 104
7 Minnesota 75 95 0.528 7 0.537 8 103
8 Calgary 74 88 0.530 8 0.525 9 97
9 Colorado 73 82 0.530 9 0.562 9 91
10 St. Louis 73 72 0.530 9 0.516 9 81
11 Edmonton 74 67 0.543 8 0.526 7 74
12 Columbus 74 67 0.525 8 0.567 6 73
13 Los Angeles 74 64 0.537 8 0.507 7 71
14 Chicago 73 63 0.526 9 0.573 7 70
15 Phoenix 74 62 0.533 8 0.540 6 68

With a pair of wins against Detroit and Nashville the Calgary Flames are now in pretty good shape to hold on to the last playoff spot as Colorado has a tough schedule and a lot of ground to make up. The one positive for the Avalanche though is that they still have 2 games to play against the Flames. But they also play Vancouver 3 times, Nashville and a hot Minnesota team which is bad news for the Avalanche.

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