First, I hope everyone had a pleasant St. Patrick’s day. It’s a wonderful holiday celebrating a proud people with a long and distinguished history. I’m sure everyone made good choices and didn’t do anything silly just to draw attention to themselves.
Stalking The Standings
Anyway...Mixed results on Sunday for the Canes. Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh in overtime. The Islanders won and pulled even with Washington. The PHI/PIT game is not an ideal result, as you really don’t want to see three points handed out in any Metro vs. Metro games at this point. However, this probably is a net benefit to the Canes.
There are two reasons why. First, the Canes have a solid lead on the Flyers in the standings. If the Canes slip, it’s unlikely Philly will be the team that keeps them out of the playoffs. Second, as we ever-so-carefully begin to look towards a return to the playoffs for the Canes, we can begin to start considering seeding. This is critical due to who you’ll play in the first round (please not Tampa) but also for determining home ice advantage. Given the inter-divisional games that are coming, it’s not outside the realm of possibility for the Canes to secure one of the top three Metro division spots or even the division title.
Also, with so few games left, games in hand start to take on a new level of importance. Carolina now trails the Penguins by three points but will play two more games than the Pens before the season wraps up. You can see this reflected in the point pace numbers below, where Carolina and Pittsburgh are showing an almost identical pace.
Metro 1: New York Islanders: 72 GP, 91 points, 104 pt pace, 38 ROW
Metro 2: Washington Capitals: 72 GP, 91 points, 104 pt pace, 38 ROW
Metro 3: Pittsburgh Penguins: 73 GP, 88 points, 99 pt pace, 38 ROW
WC 1: Carolina Hurricanes: 71 GP, 85 points, 98 pt pace, 38 ROW
WC 2: Columbus Blue Jackets: 72 GP, 84 points, 96 pt pace, 39 ROW
9th: Montreal Canadiens: 72 GP, 81 points, 92 pt pace, 35 ROW
10th: Philadelphia Flyers: 72 GP, 78 points, 89 pt pace, 33 ROW
Tonight’s Rooting Guide
The only Eastern Conference team in action is Tampa Bay, so...you’re safe to spend the evening filling out your brackets.
- NHL has new look: Arizona and Carolina both in the playoffs. [USA Today]
whinesraises concerns about the NHL playoff format. [NBC Sports]
- Which players have a shot at 100 point seasons? [The Hockey News]
- Why Auston Matthews is good at hockey. [TSN]
- NHL must eradicate refereeing oversights before playoffs. [SportsNet]