NHL: Friday Picks and Tidbits
We don’t only have some exciting playoff races/playoff position battles right now in the NHL, but also currently as of this writing, six teams are tied for the most points in the league with 91. While at the end of the day the President’s Trophy awarded to the club who finishes with the most regular season points means little compared of course to a Stanley Cup Championship, it is still a fantastic accomplishment as well as would provide home ice throughout the playoffs.
In the West, there are still spots up for grabs as the Pacific division is very tight right now with spots 2-5 all within three points of each other. Of course only the top three teams in each division as well as two wild card clubs per conference make the playoffs so this will come down to the wire. Also in regards to the wild card spots in the West, especially with how bunched up the Pacific is, one of these clubs who miss out on getting a top three division spot has a nice chance to get one of the two wild card spots. As of this writing the Minnesota Wild hold the 1st wild card spot and Los Angeles Kings hold the 2nd spot.
In the East, last week it appeared we would see a nice race for the 2nd and final wild card spot, however the Boston Bruins are beginning to pull away as they have won four straight. In fact the Bruins are now only two points behind the Washington Capitals for the 1st wild card spot and they have a game in hand on the Caps. So with that being said, it is very likely that the teams you see now in a playoff spot, will be the eight clubs that make it in.(Likely in different seedings with how bunched up some of these clubs are).
Here’s what we have going on Friday night.
1) Ottawa Senators at New York Islanders
The Sens look to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Islanders are battling for not only the top spot in the East, but also the entire NHL.
Predicted Winner: Senators
2) Dallas Stars at Washington Capitals
The Stars are long shots to sneak into a playoff spot, but they are winners of two straight as they look to put a nice streak together. The Caps are struggling as they are 5-5-0 in their last ten games and also now in danger of falling to the 2nd wild card spot.
Predicted Winner: Stars
3) Edmonton Oilers at Columbus Blue Jackets
The Oilers have lost three straight. The Jackets are winners of their last two, however have had a rough season dealing with numerous injuries to key players. The Oilers are already mathematically eliminated from the playoff race and the Jackets will be shortly.
Predicted Winner: Blue Jackets
4) Anaheim Ducks at Minnesota Wild
The Pacific Division leading Ducks have lost three straight, while the Wild have been the hottest team in the league since the all-star break. A win on Friday would start to give the Wild a little cushion in their hold of a wild card spot and would also put them only three points back of the Chicago Blackhawks, for the third seed in the Central Division.
Predicted Winner: Wild
5) Toronto Maple Leafs at Calgary Flames
The Leafs are coming off a victory but have had a terrible season filled with drama. The Flames are one of the feel good stories of the league. They are playing terrific team hockey (exact opposite of the Leafs) and have not missed a beat since team captain and premier defenseman Mark Giordano went down to injury. How long can the Flames keep up this play though, as their defense core may not be able to play at this level much longer. The Flames are currently tied with the Kings for the third seed in the Pacific Division with 79 points, however the Flames currently hold the tie breaker with more Regulation-Overtime Wins (ROW).
Predicted Winner: Flames