Monday, March 9, 2009

The Standings, 3/9/09

With only 18 games left in the season, this day off seems like a super duper time to take a look around the east and see what's likely to be on the menu come April. I've even been kind enough to show off my crazy MS Paint skills as well, circling everything you should care about. There's really only five things.
  1. From the Flyers perspective, the biggest number is that 64 games played. It's two or three games fewer than each of the seven teams below the Flyers have played, which makes for a pretty nice cushion. It's pretty clear that the Flyers are coming in fourth. Not much chance of getting any higher, and not too much chance of falling.
  2. As much fun as it was to see the Penguins floundering around in 10th a month or so ago, it's equally as unfun to see them with a good shot to make the playoffs. Especially with them winning six in a row, and having only one regulation loss under whoever that guy is that replaced Therrien.
  3. This means that the Penguins could easily make it all the way up to #5 and see the Flyers in the first round. And I don't think anybody wants that. The whole 5th-9th race (Buffalo isn't looking great at 10th) is crazy close, including a three way tie at 6th-8th. Flyers could easily face any of Montreal, Florida, the Rangers, Pittsburgh or Carolina in the first round. Let's hope it's Carolina or the Rangers.
  4. If Carolina and Florida both join Washington in the playoffs, it would be the first time that three Southeast Division teams would have made it in the same year. That's exactly what the league needs, playoff games with thousands of empty seats...
  5. There's a not terrible chance that things could break really well for the Flyers in the first round. With the top three all struggling this weekend, and the Capitals and Bruins struggling for some time now, it's entirely possible that the top three seeds could all go down in the first round, leaving the Flyers with home ice advantage until the finals. That's exactly what allowed Washington to make the finals in 1998, when they really had no business getting past the second round. I'd have absolutely no problem with the Flyers winning a Stanley Cup they probably didn't deserve. Give me the Rangers, Hurricanes, Canadiens, and Predators on the road to Stanley Cup III anytime.

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