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A Look At the Math: 2/10/10 February 10, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Since I’ve been snowed in again–spring needs to hurry up and get here fast–I can be a little more in-depth today. What exactly am I going to do today, go outside?

WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT, SERIES: Boston now leads Buffalo by 2 with 2 games remaining. Any Bruins win in their next meeting–March 29th at Boston–would clinch the series.

New York Islanders won their only meeting with Nashville this season, and the series win and loss have both been logged.

Carolina finally got some good news, taking a 2-point series lead against the Panthers with one game remaining. This might be the first bit of green that the Hurricanes have seen in their Lead column all season–it certainly seems like it, at least–and the Canes can clinch a series win with any point at the Litter Box on March 6.

The Senators kept on rolling against other Canadian teams, opening their 2-game set against Calgary with a regulation win. Calgary now has to win in regulation at home to force a tie. Of note, Ottawa has been doing extremely well against its Canadian rivals: the Senators have already clinched their series with Montreal, and are in the lead in three others. The only series they trail is against Toronto, and even THAT is because of a tie break.

Tampa Bay must have had some old notes around about Roberto Luongo from his days with the Panthers. They got three pucks past him, and Niitty was nifty, stopping 39 of 40 for First Star honors. Only meeting of the season between these two, win and loss have been logged.

St. Louis and Detroit had nothing left to play for in the series–the Blues have clinched–but they still put on a show, with the Blues actually winning a home game for once. Blues fans, I know how you feel: the Caps only won 17 of 41 home games three years ago, in my first full season as a season ticket holder. (Caps fans, a perspective check: we’ve already won 23 at home this year, with a dozen home games left.) Only one game left in this series.

Chicago and Dallas went into overtime, so the Hawks’ shootout win was too little, too late. Dallas clinched the series on the consolation point. It’s Chicago’s first series loss in the Western Conference, and the Stars pulled it off with a game to spare. The Stars might not make the playoffs, but if they do, I would hate to be their first-round opponent.

WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT, MAGIC NUMBERS: Not much that was really headline-grabbing. Carolina bought itself some breathing room in the Eastern Conference cellar, dragging Florida a little closer to them in the process. Tampa Bay–currently the last dragon the Caps would need to slay for a Southeast three-peat–beat Vancouver in regulation, so that didn’t help Washington much. The loss also knocked the ‘Nucks down a couple of slots on the Magic Numbers table, although they are still the Northwest Division leader. Detroit slipped a spot along the top line with their loss to the Blues. Biggest news of the night was probably Chicago lowering their first magic number to 7 against Edmonton.

Now, on to tonight, and whaddaya know, we finally have some C’s and E’s to talk about!

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS. Game 5 of 6. PHI leads by 4. Newark is under a blizzard warning until tomorrow morning, but it’s game on nonetheless at The Rock. Once again, I’m rooting for the Flyers tonight, and in good conscience: a regulation loss by New Jersey would lower the Caps’ magic number for the conference to 32, notwithstanding the results of the Caps-Habs game. NJD is +19 against Toronto for 14 East. Series: PHI can clinch series with any point.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS AT NEW YORK RANGERS. Game 1 of 1. And the weather’s not much better in Manhattan, either. Still, as of 11:18 AM, it was The Show Must Go On on Broadway. The Blueshirts are at home, and they really need the points, so look for some fire from the Rangers. Smallest magic number is NYR -17 against Washington for President’s Trophy and 1 East.

SAN JOSE SHARKS AT COLUMBUS BLUEJACKETS. Game 3 of 4. SJS lead by 3. Well, this is interesting. The Caps are hoping for some help from Columbus here, as a Sharks loss would give the Caps a little bit of breathing room at the top of the standings. But Columbus isn’t exactly a powerhouse team, and the Sharks have a ridiculous record this season in the first games of back-to-backs. Series: SJS can clinch series with any win. PLAYOFF CLINCH: SHARKS can clinch 14 West with BOTH a win AND a regulation loss by Edmonton.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS AT MONTREAL CANADIENS. Game 4 of 4. WSH leads by 1. Parting shots tonight at the Bell Centre, where the Caps hope to extend their winning streak. Montreal currently has the 7th-most points in the East, but has a much lower top line because they’ve already played 60 games. Caps overlook this team at their peril. WSH is +5 against Toronto for 14 East. Series: WSH wins with any win; WSH O, series tied; MTL W, MTL wins. PLAYOFF ELIMINATION: OILERS would be eliminated from President’s Trophy consideration with a Washington win.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS AT PITTSBURGH PENGUINS. Game 4 of 6. PIT leads by 1. This season series has been surprisingly competitive for two teams so far removed in the standings. Divisional rivalries are like that sometimes: just ask a Minnesota fan how they did against Colorado this year, and they might just buy you a Grain Belt. But back to Pens-Isles: if I were predicting this one solely on who’s playing for what, I’d actually have to give the Islanders the edge. Pittsburgh is +21 for the 14 East spot: ho-hum. The Islanders are -14 for the President’s Trophy and 1 East: not quite so ho-hum, you think? New York does have a shot–a long one, but a shot no less–of sneaking into the playoffs. They would not do themselves any favors by losing this one. Despite the standings, this one could go either way: don’t be surprised if the Islanders pull the upset.

PHOENIX COYOTES AT MINNESOTA WILD. Game 4 of 4. Off game; PHX has clinched series. Speaking of Grain Belt, and outside playoff shots, Minnesota hosts the Coyotes tonight in a decided season series. Phoenix is lights-out at home: their home record is actually better than the Sharks’. But their road record is mediocre, and Minnesota is also no slouch at home. The Wild could surprise tonight. PHX is +13 against Edmonton for 14 West.

ATLANTA THRASHERS AT COLORADO AVALANCHE. Game 1 of 1. Colorado could take the Northwest lead with a win at home against the Thrashers, who seem to be in “sell” mode at this point. Atlanta still has a shot at a playoff berth: they’re only 3 points behind the Flyers, who currently hold the 8 spot. But with so many recent roster changes in Blueland, you have to wonder a bit. Caps fans will no doubt hope for a win by the ‘Lanche. ATL is -20 against Washington for President’s Trophy, 1 Southeast, and 1 East; COL is +18 against Edmonton for 14 West and 4 Northwest.

EDMONTON OILERS AT ANAHEIM DUCKS. Game 1 of 4. New series. (And yeah, I did a double take at that one, too.) The Oilers’ goose is pretty much cooked as far as the playoffs go: if you want to look that far ahead, they’re currently -27 for 8 West and Playoffs. Mathematically, they still have a shot; practically, they can book their tee times at Beaumont right now. But never underestimate a spoiler: these guys are going to be playing for their professional futures, even if not their playoff ones, so this won’t be an automatic win for the Ducks. PLAYOFF ELIMINATIONS: OILERS: Would be eliminated from President’s Trophy consideration with any of the following: a regulation loss; a Washington win; or an overtime loss AND a Washington overtime loss. Would be eliminated from 1 West with a regulation loss AND a San Jose win.




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