With Washington’s win over division rival Tampa Bay last night, the playoff picture is starting to come into focus.
Your top-3 seeds in the East are
1 – Boston
2 – Washington
3 – New Jersey
Seeds 4, 5, and 6 will be determined this weekend but will include Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Carolina
Seeds 7 and 8 will go to either New York or Montreal.
So who’s ready to play the playoff picture game?
If the season ended today, your match-ups would be
Bruins vs. Canadiens
Capitals vs. Rangers
Devils vs. Penguins
Flyers vs. Hurricanes
Caps fans will be pleased to see this, because it means there is a chance they may not have to face either Philly or Pittsburgh in the playoffs.
Now here’s the rub.
Philly technically has the fourth seed right now because they are a game up on Pittsburgh and Carolina (even though all three are tied in points and Philly has fewer wins). That extra game comes tomorrow in New York versus the Islanders.
Carolina technically has the fifth seed over Pittsburgh because they have one more win than the Penguins do (even though they are tied in points) and they face the third seeded Devils tomorrow.
The Rangers technically have the seventh seed because they have one more win than Montreal (even though they are also tied in points), and they face Philly on Sunday. The Rangers 2-1 win over Philly last night was huge, and when they face Philly on Sunday, it will be the Flyers third game in four days.
Pittsburgh and Montreal square off tomorrow.
So, each of the bottom five teams are facing a playoff opponent this weekend!
Games I’ll be Watching:
4/11 – 1:00pm – Carolina at New Jersey
Carolina needs the points more than New Jersey and after a humiliating loss to Buffalo ended their nine-game winning streak they’ll be spoiling for a fight. For Carolina this could mean the difference between the sixth and fourth seeds. New Jersey is already locked in as the third seed, but shouldn’t want to take their foot off the gas now when they are one game away from the playoffs.
4/11 – 2:00pm – Philadelphia at New York Islanders
The Isles have nothing to play for. They lost their pride a few nights ago when they dropped one to Carolina in a 9-0 shutout. Sure, they’ll be in front of their hometown fans (what’s left of them) but I don’t see that slowing down the Flyers at all. I won’t be watching this one as much as keeping an eye on it. The only chance New York has here is if the Flyers overlook them and forget what time the game starts. The Flyers may not want to leave it all on the ice in this game as they play again the very next day. Of course, the Islanders are in the same boat as they have to turn around and face Boston the next day.
4/11 – 7:00pm – Washington at Florida
No playoff implications here, I just enjoy watching the Capitals. Much like New Jersey, the Caps playoff spot is secure. The Caps are one game away from a franchise record for most wins in a single season, and Boudreau is going to want them to finish the season strong. Florida is playing in front of their hometown fans, and may just like to play spoiler.
4/11 – 7:00 – Pittsburgh at Montreal
This will be a good matchup as Montreal will be at home in front of their home fans and *ahem* their home officials. Both teams need the points. For Montreal it means the difference between seventh or eighth seed, For Pittsburgh it could mean the difference between sixth and fourth.
4/12 – 5:00pm – New York Rangers at Philadelphia
If Carolina and Pittsburgh both lose in regulation, the Flyers may not need this game, but New York will to secure the seventh seed. If Montreal loses in regulation, the Rangers won’t need this game, but Philly might (depending on whether or not they beat the Islanders) to secure the fourth seed.
There are far too many playoff scenarios to determine what the actual picture will be, but rest assured it’ll be fun to watch!