Tag: bubble updates

Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal

Coyotes boot Wild out of West’s top eight

Thursday’s busy night of action shuffled things up in both conferences.* The West’s bubble situation was even more active than the East’s today, so to keep you up to date, let’s look at what happened in order of each team’s position as of this very moment.

7. Los Angeles Kings: 62 points in 55 games (26 wins)

The Kings remain in sixth place but lost a 3-1 game to the Florida Panthers and face a harrowing stretch run schedule. It might seem like they’re above the fray, but it turns out that might be a naive assumption.

8. Phoenix Coyotes: 60 points in 55 games (26 wins)

The Phoenix Coyotes continue to heat up with a 2-1 overtime victory against the Calgary Flames, which amounted to a battle for a temporary hold on the West’s eighth seed. The ‘Yotes are currently on a four-game winning streak.

9. Dallas Stars: 58 points in 53 games (28 wins)

The Stars bested the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 to put themselves in a great position. They aren’t in the top eight right now but they hold edges against the two teams ahead of them when it comes to games in hand (two more) and wins (two more as well). The one mark against the Stars is that they’ve played three more home contests than road ones.

10. Minnesota Wild: 58 points in 54 games (25 wins)

The Wild began Thursday in eighth place but a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks made them take quite the tumble. They’ve lost three consecutive games and hold a 3-5-2 record in their last 10, so things are just getting ugly right now. The one silver lining is pretty promising, though: the strong home team has 17 games left in Minnesota vs. just 11 contests remaining on the road.

11. Calgary Flames: 58 points in 55 games (25 wins)

The Flames could’ve been in eighth place if they notched a win against Phoenix. Instead, Calgary watched its stock drop all the way to 11th, which shows just how close this race is right now. They don’t really hold any significant advantages over the other bubble teams, though, so they’ll just need to play great hockey – or cut bait.

Inactive: 12. Colorado Avalanche: 57 points in 55 games (27 wins)

The Avs aren’t totally out of the picture, especially with a solid 27 wins. Still, they’ll need to make up some ground to top the other contenders for one of the final two spots.

* – Click here to read about how the Southeast Division shuffles made a significant impact on the East’s picture.

Tonight in the Eastern Conference bubble: Thrashers win, Devils and Leafs fall

Brian Little, Brian Boucher

With a busy St. Patrick Day’s slate of 11 games tonight, it might be easier to follow the action if we break the results down into digestible chunks (especially if you’re also ingesting plenty of green beer). With that in mind, let’s take a look at the three games that affected the Eastern Conference playoff bubble tonight.

Atlanta 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT)

Luckily for the still-alive-but-barely Thrashers, “style points” are not yet a playoffs tie-breaker. Atlanta coughed up three one-goal leads against the East’s best team, but ultimately managed to squeeze out two crucial points.

The best part for the Thrashers is that they gave up that one “charity point” to a team so far ahead of them it won’t matter.

Ron Hainsey collected two assists for Atlanta while Daniel Briere scored two goals and one assist for the Chris Pronger-less Flyers. If the Thrashers make the playoffs, it won’t be on the strength of their regulation play (their goal differential is -30). It will be on the strength of the charity point, as they have 12 points from overtime or shootout losses and four shootout wins.

Florida 4, Toronto 0

While the Thrashers were opportunistic with their shootout win, the two other major bubble teams couldn’t earn a single point against struggling teams.

The Maple Leafs showed how much they need James Reimer’s above average netminding, as they just couldn’t get it done against the Panthers with Jean-Sebastien Giguere getting the start.

Sergei Samsonov and Stephen Weiss scored a goal and an assist each while Scott Clemmensen earned a 24-save shutout to win the game for Florida. Whether this win fuels delusions of a playoff run or counts as a satisfying moment as a “spoiler” is up to the Panthers.

Ottawa 3, New Jersey 1

On paper, this looked like an easy win for the ludicrously hot Devils.

After all, the Senators are one of the East’s cellar dwellers and they weren’t even able to start their possible goalie of the future Craig Anderson tonight. Instead, it was Curtis McElhinney between the pipes.

McElhinney ended up being up to the task, as he stopped 33 out of 34 New Jersey shots, only allowing a Brian Rolston slapper to beat him during this game. Chris Neil scored twice (one being an empty netter) in the third period while Ryan Shannon provided Ottawa’s other goal.


So with those three games, the Eastern Conference bubble looks like this (via NBC’s NHL standings page).

(click to enlarge)

So, as you can see, the Devils really missed an opportunity tonight. They still might have a better chance than the Thrashers and Maple Leafs because of total wins and games remaining, though. Overall, the current playoff teams (New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres) are clearly the favorites to earn the last two spots in the East while the Devils and Buffalo Sabres probably have the best chance to usurp them.