Sunday, March 7, 2010

Morning playoff check-up

A big two points in last night’s 4-2 win in L.A. allows the Habs to leapfrog both the Thrashers and Rangers into eighth spot in the East, while Tampa’s 6-2 thumping of the Thrashers brings the Lightning to the brink of playoff contention. Otherwise, the Rangers still can’t score, whether Marian Gaborik plays or not, and the Bruins won the opener of their epic seven-game road trip with a victory on Long Island.

I’m going to quickly sum up my thoughts on last night’s Habs win here, simply because I don’t have the energy to write a full blog post this morning. Montreal’s big line was clearly the Scott Gomez-Brian Gionta-Benoit Pouliot trio, which combined for two goals, four assists, 10 shots on goal and a plus-6 rating. They were dangerous on the majority of their shifts and gave the Canadiens defence some much-needed mental rest at times with sustained pressure in the Kings end.

At times in the third period last night it appeared the Canadiens were content to play cautious and sit on a two-goal lead, so when the Kings scored to make it 3-2, it was more than predictable. It was deserved.

What was also deserved was Tomas Plekanec scoring the empty net goal, because even though he has not been producing offensively and clearly looks tired following an Olympic tournament where he started strong but faded toward the end, I thought he played a strong game. Once again, he showed why he is such a complicated case heading into free agency, because he is a top penalty killer AND offensive weapon. Pierre Gauthier has his hands full with him.

Finally, just a note that Roman Hamrlik led the team in ice time with 24:05, Jaroslav Spacek was a plus-3 and Hal Gill, despite getting danced around on the Kings second goal, is playing some of his best hockey of the season.

And now, your morning playoff check-up.

Philadelphia Flyers – Sixth place, 33-26-4, 70 points
Last night: Did not play
Next game: v. Toronto tonight
19 games remaining, 8 against teams in playoff spot
Home (10) – Tor March 7, NYI March 9, Bos March 11, Chi March 13, Atl March 21, Min March 25, NJ March 28, Mtl Apr 2, Det April 4, NYR April 11
Away (10) – NYR Mar 14, Nash March 16, Dal March 18, Atl March 20, Ott March 23, Pgh March 27, NYI April 1, Tor April 6, NYR April 9

Boston Bruins – Seventh place, 29-23-11, 69 points
Last night: 3-2 win over New York Islanders
Next game: @ Pittsburgh tonight
19 games remaining, 10 against teams in playoff spot
Home (8) – Pgh March 18, NYR March 21, TB March 25, Cgy March 27, Buf March 29, Fla April 1, Buf April 8, Car April 10 
Road (11) – Pgh March 7, Tor March 9, Pha March 11, Mtl March 13, NJ March 15, Car March 16, Atl March 23, NJ March 30, Tor April 3, Was April 5, Was April 11

Montreal Canadiens – Eighth place, 31-29-6, 68 points
Last night – 4-2 win over Los Angeles
Next game: @ Anaheim tonight
16 games remaining, 6 against teams in playoff spot
Home (9) – TB March 9, Edm March 11, Bos March 13, Ott March 22, Fla March 25, NJ March 27, Car March 31, Buf April 3, Tor April 10
Road (7) – Ana March 7, NYR March 16, Tor March 20, Buf March 24, Pha April 2, NYI April 6, Car April 8

Atlanta Thrashers – Ninth place, 28-25-10, 66 points
Last night: 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay
Next game: v. Carolina tonight
19 games remaining, 12 against teams in playoff spot
Home (12) – Car March 7, Nash March 9, NYR March 12, Phx March 15, Buf March 16, Ott March 18, Pha March 20, Bos March 23, Tor March 25, Car March 29, NJ April 6, Pgh April 10
Road (7) – CBJ March 11, Pha March 21, Car March 27, Tor March 30, Was April 1, Pgh April 3, Was April 9

New York Rangers – 10th place, 29-28-8, 66 points
Last night: 2-0 loss to Washington
Next game: v. Buffalo tonight
17 games remaining, 9 against teams in playoff spot
Home (7) – Buf March 7, Pha March 14, Mtl March 16, StL March 18, NYI March 24, Tor April 7, Pha April 9
Road (10) – NJ March 10, Atl March 12, Bos March 21, NJ March 25, Tor March 27, NYI March 30, TB April 2, Fla April 3, Buf April 6, Pha April 11

Tampa Bay Lightning – 11th place, 27-26-11, 65 points
Last night – 6-2 win over Atlanta
Next game – @ Montreal Tuesday night
18 games remaining, 10 against teams in playoff spot
Home (9) – Pgh March 14, Phx March 16, Buf March 18, Was March 20, Car March 23, NYR April 2, Car April 6, Ott April 8, Fla April 10
Road (9) – Mtl March 9, Tor March 11, Was March 12, Fla March 21, Bos March 25, Buf March 27, CBJ March 30, Pgh March 31, Fla April 11


Arjun said...

I always like this math bit this year more than ever, there seem to be so many bubble teams perhaps "fighting for a playoff spot" might be a better indicator of each teams' opponents. Yes, I'm a nerd.

TK said...

Thanks for the updates Arpun and I hear what yoou are saying Arjun.

The teams fighting for a playoff spot may battle a little harder than one with a berth firmly in hand. Also, those teams without a playoff hope always seem to play with an added intensity this time of year. Pick your cliche for why that is- a) monkey off our back b) Pride c) playing for our jobs d) relish playing the spoiler

Anonymous said...

Any truth to the rumor that Eric Daze is thinking of signing with the Habs?