Friday, April 4, 2008

Western Conference Picture Solidified, More Teams Clinch in East

The playoff picture has become much clearer thanks to the past two nights.

In the West...

Vancouver lost last night after watching the Predators win, so the Nucks are eliminated from playoff contention. I guess they just couldn't ride Luongo down the stretch. We can all thank Colorado for taking 6/8 this season.

That means the eight playoff teams are Detroit, San Jose, Minnesota, Anaheim, Dallas, Colorado, Calgary, and Nashville. The top three teams have already clinched their divisions and if Calgary wins on Saturday, the Avs must win on Sunday to clinch the sixth seed. If the Flames lose, Colorado will play Minnesota in the first round.

In the East

Updated Standings

1. Pittsburgh - 102 Points - 1 Game Remaining (Clinches 1st seed with Win or Habs Loss)
2. Montreal - 102 Points - 1 Game Remaining (Clinches 1st seed with Win/Penguins Loss)
3. Washington - 92 Points - 1 Game Remaining (Clinches Division with Win/OTL)
4. New Jersey - 97 Points - 1 Game Remaining (Clinches homes ice with Win/OTL)
5. New York - 96 Points - 1 Game Remaining (Clinches home ice with Regulation Win)
6. Ottawa - 94 Points - 0 Games Remaining (Clinches sixth seed with Bruins/Flyers Loss)
7. Boston - 94 Points - 1 Game Remaining (Clinches sixth seed with Win/OTL)
8. Philadelphia - 93 Points - 1 Game Remaining (Clinches sixth seed with Win/Boston Loss)
9. Carolina - 92 Points - 0 Games Remaining (Clinches division with Washington Regulation Loss)

A lot can still happen but what you need to know is this:

Either Carolina or Washington will miss the playoffs. The other will be the third seed. If Washington can earn one point in their finale, they will be in and the Canes will be out. If the Capitals lose in regulation, the Hurricanes will be third seed.

Everyone else has clinched a spot and is now just playing for position.

Tomorrow's Key Games

The second-to-last day of the regular season is a huge one!

Boston vs Buffalo

If Boston can grab a point, they'll take the sixth seed from Ottawa and play either Carolina or Washington in the first round. (That's a big difference from Pittsburgh and Montreal)

Montreal vs Toronto

If the Habs lose in regulation, the Penguins clinch the conference title. Whatever the Canadiens do, the Penguins have to match in order to win the conference.

Washington vs Florida

In the biggest Capitals game since the 1998 Stanley Cup, all Washington needs is a point against the team that beat the Canes tonight. The game is in Washington and the crowd is going to be wild.

Calgary vs Vancouver

If the Flames lose, the Avs clinch the sixth seed in the conference. If they win, the Avs would have to get at least a point to clinch the sixth seed.

Two more days folks! - Best Sports Blogs, Sports Blogger Rankings

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