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A Look at the Math, 3/5/10 March 5, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Whew! Last night was a thriller at the Phone Booth, and I’m glad the Caps snuck out with a win. Now that the new guys have gotten a game at home, here’s hoping Coach Boudreau can juggle the lines correctly before Saturday night’s game. Elsewhere, Atlanta beat the Islanders in regulation–not great for the Caps’ number in the Southeast, but it does mean the Caps can officially clinch the 13 spot with a win on Saturday night.

While I’m thinking about it, how ’bout them Canes? What’s up with this 7 in a row business? Evidently, Jim Rutherford never got the memo that he was supposed to be playing for ping pong balls. The Hurricanes are 7 points out of contention, and it is March, so anything can happen. But with only 97 top-end points, the Canes would need to pull a 2008 Capitals-esque run, and get a whole lot of help along the way. While you have to applaud that kind of never-say-die mentality, you also have to wonder what kind of damage the Canes could do next year with a high draft pick. Do the Hurricanes go all-in on a shot at this year’s playoffs, and get stuck with a mid-round choice, or do they use what’s left of the regular season to position themselves for a stronger run with a young star next year?

But that’s not what you’re reading this for, so let me break down the math for tonight.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS AT BUFFALO SABRES. Game 4 of 4. BUF leads by 2. Ryan Miller is still looking for redemption. After surrendering the gold-medal goal to Sidney Crosby (*gag*) in the Olympics, he came home to a standing ovation…and then promptly got the “Ryan who?” treatment from the Capitals, who got two pucks past him and added an empty-netter for good measure. Between Kaleta and Rivet, the Sabres do have enough snarl to get allergic to their gloves against rough-and-tumble Philadelphia. Raffi Torres will get his first game as a Sabre, against a Flyers team that opted to stand pat at the deadline.
SMALLEST NUMBER: BUF is +13 against TOR for 14 East and 4 Northeast.
SERIES: PHI must win in regulation to tie, or BUF wins.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS AT DETROIT RED WINGS. Game 4 of 6. DET leads by 1. The Red Wings have had a surprising amount of trouble in the Central Division this year. They’re already assured of a season series loss to St. Louis, and Chicago might not go their way, either. They’ve done okay against Columbus. But they’re only one point up in the series with Nashville, after three games. This team is a very long way from the Western Conference champs of a year ago, and now they’re taking on Nashville, the team just ahead of them in the playoff chase. So this is one of those proverbial four-point nights at the Joe, and the last time the Preds played here, there were 20 thousand would-be octopus chuckers they had to contend with. Could be the hockey game of the night, even if it isn’t the best math game of the night.
SMALLEST NUMBER: NSH is +7 against EDM for 14 West.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS AT CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS. Game 4 of 4. VAN leads by 2. Well, then again…two division leaders duking it out on a Friday night isn’t exactly boring hockey, either. Chicago is playing to square the series and re-take the lead out West, while Vancouver needs this one to keep Colorado at bay. Lots on the line tonight at United Center for both teams, so it might be worth a look, as well.
SERIES: CHI must win in regulation to tie, or VAN wins.
PLAYOFF CLINCH CANUCKS: Can clinch 14 West and 4 Northwest with: a win; an Edmonton regulation loss; or an overtime loss and an Edmonton overtime loss.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT CALGARY FLAMES. Game 1 of 1. The Devils continue their Western Conference sojourn, hoping to repeat their success from San Jose, as well as re-take the Atlantic Division lead. Meanwhile, the homestanding Flames are currently in the 9 spot out West, and embroiled in a five-team fight for the 8 spot. (Six, if you count Minnesota.) So Devils and Flames could be one hell of a game. Yes, I know that’s bad, but it could have been worse: I could have said that “Gladiator” was that movie where Russell Crowe got hair in his teeth. I’d better stop…
SMALLEST NUMBER: NJD are +9 against TOR for 14 East.

MINNESOTA WILD AT EDMONTON OILERS. Game 4 of 6. MIN leads by 2. Elsewhere in the Northwest, we have a battle of who could care less. Minnesota does have an outside shot at the playoffs, but it will have to work to claim it. The Wild has played the fewest games of any team in the NHL, and that is a boon to their top-end score. But they have to defend it, and there’s no better way to do that than by picking on the worst team in the West. Derek Boogaard versus Zack Stortini might be one potential bout to watch for, if fisticuffs are your cup of tea.
PLAYOFF ELIMINATION OILERS: Would be eliminated from 3 West and 1 Northwest with a Vancouver win. Would be eliminated from 3 West with an overtime loss and a Vancouver regulation loss. Would be eliminated from 4 West and 1 Northwest with an overtime loss and a Vancouver overtime loss. Would be eliminated from 5 West and 1 Northwest with a regulation loss.




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