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A Quick Look at Today’s Math: 11/28/09 November 28, 2009

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Lots and lots of numbers changed on the Magic Numbers chart last night, so I think it might behoove me to try to make some sense of what might happen in the baker’s dozen of tilts today.

New York Islanders at New Jersey Devils. Matinee. Season Series: First meeting (of six). New Jersey is staying put at the top of the Magic Numbers list no matter what happens. They can’t move any higher than first place, and they have 3 top-line points on the second-place team, so even a regulation loss won’t move them down. It would, however, make their top-line lead on the East a bit more tenuous. The Islanders cannot move up, but with any loss, would have a magic number against idle San Jose for President’s Trophy elimination.

Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins. Early. Season Series: Game 2; BOS leads by 1. Both teams are taking preliminary aim at Carolina for the 14 spot. Ottawa has played two fewer games, and because of that, they have the 4th best top-line score in the East. There’s no way for them to move up on their own, but they can definitely take a major step back if they lose. Boston can’t move up, either, but a loss would not by itself take them down any slots.

Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres. Early. Season Series: First meeting (of 4). Mathematically, this game will be a serious setback for whoever loses. If Carolina loses, they will be either 90 or 89 points away from President’s Trophy elimination. A Carolina loss would also mean a lot more action further up the Eastern standings, as a lot of higher teams would get a step or two closer to clinching the 14 spot. Buffalo, meanwhile, can’t really afford to lose this one, either. A regulation loss here would knock them down three spots. Losing in overtime wouldn’t be as big a disaster, but it would make the immediate future a bit more competitive for the Sabres.

Washington Capitals at Montreal Canadiens. Early. Season Series: Game 2; MTL leads by 2. The Caps head into Centre Bell looking to square the series against the Habs, who have been struggling this year. The Caps inherited first place in the Eastern Conference when Pittsburgh got upset by the Islanders Friday night. Washington can take the conference lead outright with a point or (preferably!) two against Montreal. An overtime loss wouldn’t be a disaster; a regulation loss would, as it would set the Caps back 4 spots. The Habs could move up past the Islanders with a win and some help from New Jersey; they would not move down if they lost, as they have a 4-point cushion against the Leafs.

Philadelphia Flyers at Atlanta Thrashers. Early. Season series: First meeting (of 4). The Flyers cannot move up on their own here, but they can drop two spots with a regulation loss. Atlanta has been a bit of an early surprise, but most of their success has come on the road: their 4-5-2 home record indicates some vulnerability at home. Their top line score is due to games in hand, and they need to win this one to hang on to their standing.

Calgary Flames at Columbus Blue Jackets. Early. Season Series: Game 3, currently tied. Columbus is looking to snap a 3-game skid; Calgary is trying to extend a 2-game streak. Calgary can afford to lose this; Columbus cannot. I would look for a spirited effort from the Jackets.

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins. Early. Season Series: Game 2; PIT leads by 2 points. I don’t root for the Rangers that often, but tonight is one of those nights. Neither team can move itself up, but the Rangers would be in worse trouble if they lost. It’s a division game, so who knows how it’ll turn out. Let’s go Rangers! (Can’t believe I’m saying that after last year’s playoffs, but hey…the team that’s playing Pittsburgh is automatically my second-favorite NHL team.)

Detroit Red Wings at St. Louis Blues. Late. Season Series: Game 3; STL leads by 4 points. St. Louis can put this season series all but out of reach with a win at home. Both teams have been struggling early, and this result will have to hurt one team more than the other. St. Louis would actually move up on the official standings with a regulation win, and it’s a division game, so this one could be worth a look-in.

Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators. Late. Season Series: First meeting (of 2). This will be either a milk run for the Preds or a heck of an upset for the Panthers. Nashville has some spots to give and still remain in the top 8, but Florida is trying to avoid getting relegated to the same Eastern cellar as the Hurricanes. Last 10: NSH 8-2-0, FLA 5-2-3. Nashville is doing very well at home, but the Panthers have been doing remarkably well away from the Litter Box. Looks like anybody’s game coming in, and my calculator is already grumbling.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars. Late. Season Series: Only meeting. In terms of top-line score, Dallas is standing quite well in the West, but barely. A loss to the Bolts tonight, and that could change by several positions. Tampa Bay doesn’t have as much to lose, but would certainly love to move up past Philadelphia with a win and some help from division rival Atlanta. Both teams should want this one badly, and it could be an interesting contest despite it being the teams’ only meeting this season.

Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche. Late. Season Series: Game 3; MIN leads by 3 points. The ‘Lanche can’t take the series lead tonight, and they have some points to give. But fans at the Pepsi Center are not going to want to see their early-season conference lead be forgotten for the year, so expect a loud rink in Denver. Minnesota, meanwhile, will be happy to know that they’re out of the Magic Number cellar in the West, and a regulation win against Colorado will keep them out. And with two wins against Colorado already this season, it’s not as if they haven’t beaten them before.

Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks. Nightcap. Season Series: Game 3, even. Another Northwest rivalry takes the stage tonight, as Vancouver tries to stay away from the Western basement, and Edmonton tries to quit digging deeper into it. All-Canada games are always fun to watch.

Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings. Nightcap. Season Series: Game 2; CHI leads by 2 points. A regulation loss by the Kings would lead to a huge gap in official-vs-magic number standings. Only idle San Jose has more games played than Los Angeles, and the Kings’ top-line score has taken a bit of a beating due to several regulation losses. The Kings can’t afford to keep trending down (4-6-0 in their last ten). Chicago, meanwhile, can hang on to the top magic number spot in the West with a win.



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