Handicapping Avs, Flames race for 8th place

flamesavs.jpgIt’s pretty obvious that barring another crazy occurrence, the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche are in a two-horse race for the Western Conference’s eighth seed. The two teams are going in completely different directions right now, with the Flames on a three game winning streak while the Avs are on a four game skid. On the bright side for Avs fans, the team has a game in hand and more wins (the first tiebreaker).

 

So which club holds the advantage? I think the best way to guess is to compare the two team’s remaining schedules.

Colorado’s last few games: home against San Jose, on the road against Vancouver and Edmonton, then two games at home against Chicago and Los Angeles.

Calgary’s last few games: on the road against Chicago, at home against San Jose and Minnesota, then a game on the road against Vancouver.

The two team’s schedules are remarkably similar. Both play against the three Western Conference division winners in San Jose, Chicago and Vancouver. Each team has one cream puff matchup (Edmonton for Colorado, Minnesota for Calgary). If things go beyond the simple wins tiebreaker, the Avs also hold the head-to-head series tiebreaker with a 3-2-1 record against Calgary. So, basically, the Flames need to finish the year with at least one more point than the Avs if they want to make the playoffs.

So, ultimately, the question is: will the Avs get it together or will the red-hot Flames take advantage of Colorado’s struggles?

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    Video: Devils honor Martin Brodeur, retire his No. 30

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    As the all-time leader in an array of categories, numbers mean a lot when you talk about Martin Brodeur.

    Still, Tuesday represented another important chapter … one that provides some sense of closure, as the New Jersey Devils retired his No. 30.

    You can see some of the most important moments in the video above.

    There are some other great sensory details captured by the Devils’ Twitter (not to mention the NHL’s) feed, so here are some additional highlights:

    Still not enough Marty for you? Check this out:

    WATCH LIVE: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild

    Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza (90) and Minnesota Wild right wing Justin Fontaine (14) chase the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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    The Minnesota Wild hope to turn things around, yet facing the Dallas Stars certainly ratchets up the degree of difficulty.

    On the other hand, sometimes that’s the best way to regain confidence: overcome an especially formidable obstacle.

    Whether the Wild flounder or rebound, you can watch the action on NBCSN and stream it via the link below.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    After 8-1 loss to Isles, Oilers send Reinhart to AHL, make Schultz healthy scratch

    Edmonton Oilers' Justin Schultz (19) and New York Rangers' Dominic Moore (28) fight for control of the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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    Not surprisingly, Edmonton’s 8-1 loss to the Islanders on Sunday didn’t pass without consequences.

    The Oilers announced this morning that defenseman Griffin Reinhart had been sent down to the AHL. Additionally, defenseman Justin Schultz is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight in New Jersey.

    Reinhart was a team-worst minus-4 versus the Isles.

    Schultz, whose name has been coming up in trade rumors…

    …was a minus-2.

    “He needs to watch a game and reflect on his play and what his impact is offensively and defensively,” coach Todd McLellan told reporters of the decision to sit Schultz against the Devils.

    Darnell Nurse and Adam Clendening, scratches in Brooklyn, will replace Reinhart and Schultz in the lineup.

    Turris understands Drouin’s situation, says requesting trade out of Phoenix ‘saved’ him

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    Kyle Turris was far from an accomplished NHLer when he requested a trade out of the Coyotes organization. In fact, when he was dealt to the Senators in 2011, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft had just 46 points in 137 NHL games.

    Since then, Turris has emerged as Ottawa’s top center, with the promise of a big payday in the summer of 2018 when his current $17.5 million deal expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

    It’s for that very reason that he can understand Jonathan Drouin‘s position with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    “It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.”

    Though Turris, now 26, took a “lot of heat from the media…and people within the organization” and recalls the time after his trade request was made public as a “tough, tough go,” he believes the opportunity he received with the Sens “saved” him.

    As we’ve written in the past, you don’t have to agree with how Drouin is handling things — maybe it ends up hurting him; he still has a lot to prove — but there have been young players who have chosen similar paths, and it’s worked out well for them.

    Drouin, by the way, has 40 points in 89 NHL games.