Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Prepare to Be Confused

With only a couple games left on most teams schedules there is still a lot up for grabs in the Eastern Conference. Two of the Division leads are being contested, with 10 teams in the running for the 8 playoff positions.

The Buffalo Sabres have locked up the Northeast Division lead and the top seed in the East with Tuesday nights victory in Pittsburgh.

The New Jersey Devils need only a win or a Penguins loss to guarantee them the Atlantic Division and the second overall seed in the East.

Last years Stanley Cup Champions, the Carolina Hurricanes, have been eliminated from playoff contention, leaving the Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning vying for the Southeast Division and third seed in the East. The Thrasher's could lock up the division with a win and a Lightning regulation loss.

The Ottawa Senators are currently sitting in the fourth seed, and are preparing for a first round match up with the second place finisher in the Atlantic, either the Penguins or Devils. They could pick up home ice advantage with in win against the Penguins on Thursday night.

Seeds 6, 7, and 8 are still highly contested, with the Lightning in the most unique situation. With them not out of the running for the Southeast, they could finish with the third seed. However, it is also possible for them to miss out on the playoffs entirely. They could guarantee themselves a spot by picking up a point, with either a win or an overtime or shootout loss against the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

The New York Ranger's are in a similar situation, a win on Thursday against the Canadiens, and they are in. A loss, and they would drop to the 8th spot in the East. The Montreal Canadiens are battling with their northern counterparts, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who find themselves a point out of the playoffs.

While the New York Islander's have not been mathematically eliminated, they find themselves on a narrow path. They could max out their points at 92 by winning their last 3 games, and still be eliminated with a Montreal win.

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