With most teams having about a handful of games remaining, there are some serious playoff battles brewing. Five teams in the Western Conference are battling for the final two spots, while Washington and Buffalo are tied for the eighth and final spot in the East.
Let’s start in the West. St. Louis (103 points) and Vancouver (101) are in a battle for the top seed. Detroit (97) and Nashville (96) have an outside shot. Dallas and Phoenix have 87 points and are tied for seventh. The Stars hold the tiebreaker because of having more non-shootout wins. If the season ended today, those teams would hold the final two spots. Los Angeles and Colorado, both with 86 points, and Calgary with 85, are currently on the outside looking in.
I’m a fan of the Avalanche, so I hope they can find a way to get in. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. The Avs have the least number of games remaining, which means they have the least number of chances to earn points. I do think Colorado and LA are the best teams of those five, but I believe only the Kings will get it, mostly because they are only two points behind San Jose for the division lead, which guarantees you a top 3 seed.
In the East, the New York Rangers hold a one-point lead over Pittsburgh, which just got Sidney Crosby back (for now), for the top seed. Both teams have seven games remaining, so that is clearly up for grabs. Ottawa, currently in seventh, is only three points behind Boston for the Northeast Division lead, which could jump the Senators up to the second seed and home-ice in the first round.
The Capitals and Sabres are tied for eighth, and the Caps are just three points behind Florida (87) for the lead in the Southeast Division, which could earn Alex Ovechkin and Washing home-ice in the first round and another division crown
This is going to be an exciting final couple weeks of the regular season, as many of these teams will be playing each other, trying to earn every last point. Thanks to the NBC Sports Network, hockey fans can watch more games than ever before.