By: Thomas Isbister
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It’s almost playoff time, which means there are battles throughout the league as teams jockey for the spots they want. With only a handful of games remaining, there’s little time left for teams to make up ground. Here are some of the best to watch.
Don’t look now but the Buffalo Sabres have closed the gap they had on last. Both the Devils and Ducks have out tanked the Sabres and are now both within two points. The Devils have the best shot at taking over last and have only two wins in their last 16 games, including a current nine game losing streak. After coming off their own historic losing streak, the Sabres are climbing out of the basement with five wins in their last 10. Don’t sleep on the Ducks either, who finish the year facing teams fighting for playoff spots. Will the Sabres cap off this disaster of a season by losing the best odds at 1st overall? It would be quite Sabres of them.
Presidents Trophy Race
Currently, the league lead belongs to Vegas. Carolina and Colorado are the two other teams in the race. At this point, the trophy will probably be decided in the two games between the Avs and Golden Knights. Carolina won’t get any help as they face Dallas, Nashville and Chicago who are all clawing for that final spot in the Central. Considering the curse of the President’s Trophy, does anyone really want to win it?
Eastern Division Seeding
Every other division is pretty much set, with only one, maybe two extra teams who have a shot at making it. The Canadian is all but set, with only Edmonton and Winnipeg fighting for home ice against each other. The East takes the Canadian Division up a notch. Capitals, Penguins, Islanders and Bruins all have a shot for tops in the division. Boston has played the least amount of games and currently sits in 4th, 46GP, 60PTS. The other three teams have all played 48 games, with Washington holding a one-point lead on Pittsburgh and the Islanders. To make the race better, most of the remaining games are against each other, which will make for a very interesting finish where teams will have to decide between resting their stars or battling for home ice.
Predators and Stars
A week ago this race was between Nashville and Chicago, who both didn’t seem to want to make the playoffs. Chicago has since fallen out and Nashville is close to also. Dallas on the other hand has made a surprising push, just two points back of Nashville with games in hand, they look to overtake the Preds for the final spot. With the top three in this division locked up, Dallas is making their push for the right to likely play Carolina in the first round. Despite all the injuries, to top players, the reigning champs from the West are forcing themselves into the playoffs. To add an element of fun, the Twitter battle between these two has been hilarious.
Coyotes and Blues
This battle is oddly similar to the Preds and Stars, neither team wants to make it, but one of them has to qualify. Currently, Arizona has the spot. However, they’re only one point up on St. Louis with three more games played. The only reason this is a battle is because St. Louis needs to win their extra games against Vegas and Colorado, which will be a very difficult task. Arizona has the easier schedule but will need to string together a few big wins. It is possible we see both teams stumble down the stretch before one inevitably makes it and quickly gets bounced by one of the juggernauts at the top of the division.