Monday, March 26, 2012

NHL Games of the Week

It's crunch time in the NHL with teams ranging from 5-8 games left in the season which finishes Saturday, April 7th with all 30 teams playing.  The playoffs then begin Wednesday, April 11th!  That means only 1 MORE games of the week preview on the ice before we start preparing for Lord Stanley!
As you can see here, 3 teams have clinched a playoff spot.  The Rangers, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are all in, who also all happen to be in the same division, which is why Pitt and Philly are seeded 4-5.  However, the Pens are within 1 POINT of taking the overall lead in the East which would guarantee them home ice throughout the playoffs in their conference.  Here's hoping that happens because I do not want to see them play the Flyers in the first round, eventually, yes, but not right away!

About a month ago I said the top 7 seeds would all be locks, and 6 of them seem to be.  Ottawa has really struggled of late but they beat down my Pens Saturday night 8-4 so who knows.  I also picked Buffalo to grab the 8th seed and right now they are tied with Washington.  Speaking of which, Ovie is really stepping up in recent weeks but I just don't think it will be enough in the end.  

Final note of the week:  Columbus we know is already eliminated along with Minnesota, Edmonton, and Montreal.  However, yesterday Edmonton beat down the CBJ in the battle for worst team in the league.  It clinched for CBJ the worst record in the NHL.  They now have the highest odds of winning the overall #1 draft pick in this year's draft (June 2012).  And just so you all know, it's nothing like the NBA where other teams have legit chances to win the top pick.  Columbus and the 2nd worst team really are the only 2 teams with actual hopes of landing #1.  Here's hoping the Blue Jackets don't get screwed as a franchise yet again!


Here are the games to keep your eye on this upcoming week because it's going to be intense:
Ottawa @ Winnipeg 8:30pm - most likely the game that will keep the Jets playoff chances alive. Luckily for them, it's at home where they are TNT dynamite.

Buffalo @ Washington 7pm - Probably the actual game of the week! Both teams are tied for the final playoff spot.  Enough said, it's a huge game especially if there's a tie-breaker scenario at year's end.

Detroit @ Columbus 7:30pm on NBC Sports
I picked this game because it's literally the only nationally televised Blue Jackets game this year.  It would be nice for us to beat that state up north just for kicks.

Washington @ Boston 7pm on NHL Network
Boston is by no means a lock for the 2 seed.  They have been up and down recently and need a strong finish to hold off Florida and/or Ottawa.  Every game for the Caps is a game they need points.

Pittsburgh @ Buffalo 7:30pm
The Pens start the week with a home and home Tues/Thurs series against the NY Islanders where you'd like to get at least 3 points.  They then get a chance to destroy the hopes and dreams of entire city.

Ottawa @ Philadelphia 1pm on NHL Network
Philly just won't go away.  They are only 4 points behind the Pens and 5 behind the Rangers.  Ottawa needs to stay afloat but winning in Philly is never easy.

April Fool's Day - Pens @ Flyers on NBC at 12:30pm
This game is big time.  A must win for both sides as they try to get as high of a seed as possible.  Flyers G Bryzgalov seemingly has turned his season around just in time. Can he stop Malkin, Crosby, and Staal?