Last night was … interesting, to say the least. Plenty of teams previously on Vulture Circle Watch are now showing some surprising signs of life while once-hot teams are crashing down to Earth.
Both the Sharks and the Coyotes dropped games to Western foes while the Blackhawks defeated the hapless Wild convincingly with a 4-0 win. In the East, the Penguins couldn’t improve their slim Atlantic division lead while the Sabres jumped to second place in the conference.
After the jump, I’ll share updated standings for playoff relevant teams, including a few sneaky teams who might be in for a miracle run to the playoffs.
First, the Western Conference (click to enlarge, teams who clinched a playoff berth are highlighted.)
Flames 2, Coyotes 1
All of a sudden, things are looking quite a bit more optimistic for the fledgling Flames. While the Colorado Avalanche are in sinking ship mode, the Flames are only two points back (although the Avs have a game in hand). You think Friday’s game in Colorado might mean a little bit?
Ducks 5, Avalanche 2
I doubt that the Ducks should cancel their country club memberships just yet, but they are on a three game winning streak right now and aren’t mathematically eliminated yet. The team sure seems to excel at being fashionably late.
Stars 5, Sharks 1
Something tells me that the Sharks are glad that the Stars are more or less hopeless when it comes to a playoff run. Their longtime divisional foes are a constant headache for San Jose.
Blackhawks 4, Wild 0
Beating up on the lowly Wild doesn’t wash all the stink off Chicago, but it never hurts to win big every now and then.
Now, the Eastern Conference picture.
Sabres 6, Panthers 2
Buffalo is quietly rounding into a serious contender in the East.
Lightning 2, Penguins 0
This is one of those games the Penguins will rue if they fail to win the Atlantic division.
Hurricanes 2, Canadiens 1
It would almost certainly require Carolina to win all five of their remaining games (not to mention for other teams to fail quite a bit) for this to be anything more than a nice run that hurts their draft status. Still, the Canes are the ultimate spoiler right now. For Montreal, it could be time to worry.