2010 NHL playoffs: Eastern Conference seedings update

Here’s the latest Eastern Conference standings, as three teams fight
for two playoff spots.

East4-10_medium

There is still some very important seeding to be figured, on top of
the battle for the bottom two playoff spots. The New Jersey Devils and
Pittsburgh Penguins are locked in a fight for the Atlantic division
title, and while the Canadians, Flyers, Rangers and Bruins all want to
just get into the playoffs, finishing anywhere other than 8th in the
conference would be ideal as well.

After the jump, remaining games and seeding possibilities for the
Eastern teams.

1. Washington Capitals (120 points)

Remaining
game:
vs. Boston Bruins, Sunday @ 12:30 p.m. EDT

Seeding
possibilities:
None.

2. New Jersey Devils (99 points)

Remaining
games:
vs. NY Islanders, tonight @ 7 p.m. EDT; vs. Buffalo Sabres,
Sunday @ 3 p.m. EDT

Seeding possibilites: The Devils are
deadlocked with the Penguins in points and record, but hold the
tiebreakers over Pittsburgh. Win out, and New Jersey is assured of the
division title and the #2 seed.

3. Buffalo Sabres (98
points)

Remaining games: @Ottawa Senators, tonight @
7 p.m. EDT; @New Jersey Devils, Sunday @ 3 p.m. EDT

Seeding
possibilities:
The Sabres can finish no lower than 3rd in the East,
and could be playing for the 2nd seed tomorrow afternoon against the
Devils.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (99 points)

Remaining
games:
@Atlanta Thrashers, tonight @ 7 p.m. EDT; @NY Islanders,
Sunday @ 5 p.m. EDT

Seeding possibilities: The Penguins
need the New Jersey Devils to lose of their remaining games, since if
both teams win out then New Jersey will win the division title. The
Penguins can finish no lower than 4th in the East.

5. Ottawa
Senators: (94 points)

Remaining game: vs. Buffalo
Sabres, tonight @ 7 p.m. EDT

Seeding possibilities: None.
The Senators are locked in the 5th seed.

6. Boston Bruins:
(89 points)

Remaining game: @Washington Capitals,
Sunday @ 12:30 p.m. EDT

Seeding possibilities: The Bruins
are assured a playoff spot, but could finish either in 6th or 7th.
Tomorrow’s game against the Capitals will not be a first-round preview,
as neither the Flyers nor the Rangers can overtake the Bruins. One point
against the Caps, and the Bruins get the 6th seed.

7.
Montreal Canadiens (87 points)

Remaining game: vs.
Toronto Maple Leafs, tonight @ 7 p.m. EDT

Playoff implications:
The Canadiens desperately need just one point, and they are assured
a playoff spot. They can finish no higher than 7th, but lose tonight
and the Habs face the possibility of missing the playoffs. How? If the
Rangers win over the Flyers in overtime or the shootout, with a Habs
regulation loss, then the Habs will be the odd team out with 87 points
and losing on tiebreakers.

8. Philadelphia Flyers (86
points)

Remaining game: vs. NY Rangers, Sunday @ 3
p.m. EDT

Playoff implications: Simple, win and the Rangers
are in the playoffs. As stated above, the Flyers could back into the
playoffs with an overtime or shootout loss if the Habs lose tonight. If
Montreal gets just one point against Toronto, then tomorrow’s game
becomes a win-and-in scenario.

9. NY Rangers (86 points)

Remaining
game:
@Philadelphia Flyers, Sunday @ 3 p.m. EDT

Playoff
implications:
Win and the Rangers are in the playoffs. Even an
overtime or shootout loss does them no favors.

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    Habs sign Mark Streit — is he Markov’s replacement?

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    The Montreal Canadiens have signed 39-year-old defenseman Mark Streit to a one-year contract worth a reported $700,000.

    This will actually be Streit’s second stint with the Habs. He started his NHL career in Montreal, all the way back in 2005.

    Streit split last season between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the playoffs, he only appeared in three games for the Penguins, all of them in the Eastern Conference Final against Ottawa when Justin Schultz was hurt.

    What the Streit signing means for Andrei Markov remains to be seen. Streit, like Markov, can run a power play, so it’s tempting to conclude that Streit is Markov’s replacement.

    That being said, almost all of Streit’s contract could be buried in the AHL if necessary, so that conclusion may be premature. This could even be a move by GM Marc Bergevin to gain leverage and convince Markov to sign.

    Markov, 38, remains an unrestricted free agent. The Canadiens want him back, but only at a certain price.

    Devils give Mirco Mueller two-year extension

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    The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman Mirco Mueller to a two-year contract extension with a cap hit of $850,000.

    Mueller, a first-round draft pick of the Sharks in 2013, has only played 54 NHL games, scoring two goals with four assists. In June, after spending most of 2016-17 in the AHL, San Jose traded the 22-year-old to the Devils.

    In New Jersey, Mueller should get a good chance to crack a rebuilding roster.

    “Mirco is adding another piece to what we’re trying to build here,” Devils coach John Hynes said, per NJ.com. “He’s a young player, he can play with pace. He’s a very good skater. He’s got size, which is something we need on the back end. He makes a good first pass. He allows you to get out of your own zone because he can break out, he can end plays defensively, get possession, make the pass to be able to transition yourself out of defensive situations.”

    The Devils have also re-signed goalie Scott Wedgewood and forward Joseph Blandisi.

    Rangers lock up Zibanejad for next five years

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    The New York Rangers have locked up a key piece of their future, signing center Mika Zibanejad to a five-year deal with a cap hit of $5.35 million.

    Zibanejad had an arbitration hearing scheduled for today, but that won’t be required anymore.

    The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 23 assists in 56 games last season. It was his first year in New York after getting traded from Ottawa for Derick Brassard.

    With Derek Stepan in Arizona now, Zibanejad is arguably the Rangers’ No. 1 center. Kevin Hayes is in that conversation as well, and perhaps Lias Andersson will be soon.

    But getting Zibanejad signed long term was a top priority for GM Jeff Gorton this offseason. Hayes can become a restricted free agent next summer, but that’s a bridge to cross at a later date.

    Related: Andersson to get ‘every opportunity’ to make Rangers next season

    Avalanche reportedly settle with Nieto, avoiding arbitration

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    Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.

    According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

    Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.

    In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.

    Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.