2010 NHL playoffs: Eastern Conference seedings update

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


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)

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


2. New Jersey Devils (99 points)

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

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

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

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (99 points)

@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.

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

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)

@Philadelphia Flyers, Sunday @ 3 p.m. EDT

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

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    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan

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    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?

    Hellebuyck debuts with victory as Jets best Wild

    Connor Hellebuyck
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    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and assist, Connor Hellebuyck made 14 saves to win his NHL debut and the Winnipeg Jets spoiled left winger Zach Parise‘s return from a knee injury by beating the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Friday.

    Mathieu Perreault added his second goal in two games and Nikolaj Ehlers‘ goal late in the third put the game away.

    The Jets won on the road for the first time in their last seven tries and for just the third time in their last 11 games.

    Ryan Carter scored for Minnesota, finally getting a shot past Hellebuyck that made it 2-1 midway through the third period.

    Hellebuyck was college hockey’s top goalie in 2013-14 and the goaltender on the U.S. team that won a bronze medal in the 2015 world championships.

    Minnesota finished with a season-low 15 shots, which was also a season low in shots allowed for the Jets.

    Wild fans at the Xcel Energy Center let out a roar when it was announced before the game that Parise would start, but not even his return could spark Minnesota.

    After Jason Zucker was whistled for an elbowing penalty behind the net, Perreault took a pass from Byfuglien and zipped it past Devan Dubnyk to give Winnipeg a 1-0 lead with 3:34 left in the second period.

    Byfuglien made it 2-0 early in the third when his odd-angle shot hit Dubnyk in the back of the skate and went in for his seventh goal.

    Carter’s goal bounced off of Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart and past Hellebuyck to give Minnesota some momentum.

    The rookie didn’t get rattled, however, stopping a big shot from Jason Pominville with 3:11 to play.

    Just 11 seconds later, Ehlers got loose on a breakaway and put the game away.

    Winnipeg’s defense came into the game ranked 29th in goals allowed, but had little problem preventing Minnesota from generating quality scoring chances.

    The Wild have just one win in their last six games. Parise was Minnesota’s leading scorer when he sprained a knee ligament on Nov. 5.

    NOTES: Wild F Justin Fontaine missed his 11th game with a sprained MCL, but has a chance to return for Saturday’s game against Dallas according to coach Mike Yeo. … The Wild went 4-3-1 without Parise. … Jets RW Blake Wheeler had an assist and now has points in 18 of 24 games.

    Blackhawks baffle Ducks with late magic; Kane’s streak at 18 games


    The Chicago Blackhawks may not be at peak-level right now, but they’re still a tough team to finish off.

    For most of Friday’s game, it seemed like the story would be about John Gibson possibly elbowing into the Anaheim Ducks’ No. 1 role, continuing that franchise carousel.

    Instead, it was about yet another tremendous comeback for Chicago, as the Blackhawks scored two goals in the final two minutes of the third period to erase a 2-0 deficit. Artem Anisimov than scored the OT GWG.

    Stunning stuff … though definitely not unprecedented.

    With less than 30 seconds remaining, Patrick Kane grabbed an assist on Duncan Keith‘s 2-2 goal. Kane extended his point streak to 18 games, tying a record for America-born players.

    For the Ducks, it’s yet another gut punch, one that makes you wonder how they’d fare in another playoff series against Chicago (if they can even get there … a big if).

    Bruce Boudreau is bummed:

    Tyler Johnson’s injury: One of several ominous signs for Tampa Bay

    Carl Gunnarsson, Tyler Johnson
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    The gloom only seems to lift from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s cloudy season in small drizzles.

    Sure, they’re on a three-game winning streak, but the Washington Capitals seem to be on the verge of ending that with a thud (they’re currently up 3-0 going into the third period).

    Update: Washington managed a 4-2 win, giving the Capitals a four-game winning streak.

    That’s the least of the Bolts’ concerns right now, really, as Tyler Johnson left Friday’s game seemingly injured.

    The word seemingly comes into play because details are scarce, as reporters note.

    /ominous music plays

    If you look at Tampa Bay’s upcoming schedule, things could get downright stormy.

    They face the Islanders at home, but they do so tomorrow so they won’t be well-rested. It gets worse from there.

    Dec. 2 – 6: Three-game road trip against the California teams

    Dec. 10 – 12: Two home games (one vs. Ottawa, one vs. Washington)

    Dec. 14-18: Another three-game road trip

    Long story short, they close up a back-to-back set at home tomorrow and then play six of eight on the road.

    /even more ominous music

    The end of 2015 looks friendlier, but for a team that seems to be cratering here and there … things look a bit morbid.

    We’ll see if they can keep fighting, perhaps with a comeback tonight?