The push

Two weeks.  That’s how long we’ve got until the most exciting time of the year.  And with that in mind, there are teams making that final push for a spot in the top eight.

Most teams have about six games left, and the race is shaped up like this:

6 Ottawa 41 21 14 6 17 48 101 89 13-3-3 8-11-3 5-5-0 Won 2
7 NY Islanders 42 21 16 5 18 47 119 122 9-11-3 12-5-2 7-1-2 OT 1
8 NY Rangers 41 21 16 4 17 46 100 96 13-6-2 8-10-2 6-3-1 Won 2
9 Winnipeg 42 21 19 2 20 44 109 123 11-9-0 10-10-2 5-5-0 Won 3

Sitting in the ninth spot, the Jets are the only Canadian team in the East looking in from the outside.  With three of their last six games against non-playoff teams, they hold the key to their success.  Not to mention a game against the streaking Caps, who hold the division lead, and one against the Islanders, who are just sitting three points ahead.

And for the first time in forever, the Leafs are headed towards the playoffs, ending the longest playoff drought for all 30 teams.  With a game tonight, the Leafs look to stop Ovechkin and the surging Caps, — who have won seven straight, and Ovi has taken back his goal scoring crown from Stamkos– at the Verzion Centre where they will definitely be in a sea of red.

The biggest surprise right now has to be the fact that the Rangers are holding on for dear life at the eighth seed.  Everyone thought that with the offseason acquisition of Rick Nash that the Nashty fever would put them over the top.  But the shortened season has proved that depth is everything, and with the unloading of Gaborik at the deadline, they’ve seemed to get back on track.  After a 1-0 W against the Isles, the Rangers finish off their season with seven straight games against non-playoff teams, so the playoffs are definitely looking to be in the picture for Tortorella and the boys.

6 Minnesota 42 23 16 3 19 49 109 106 13-6-2 10-10-1 3-6-1 Won 1
7 St. Louis 41 23 16 2 20 48 110 104 9-8-1 14-8-1 6-4-0 Lost 2
8 Detroit 42 20 15 7 18 47 106 107 10-7-4 10-8-3 4-4-2 Won 1
9 Columbus 43 20 16 7 15 47 106 110 13-5-5 7-11-2 7-3-0 Won 4
10 Dallas 42 21 18 3 19 45 118 126 10-9-2 11-9-1 6-4-0 Lost 1

The Yotes were right in the thick of things, but are now sitting with 43 points, which is four behind the eighth place Red Wings, with only six games left.

Speaking of the Wings, they sit on 21 straight years of playoff hockey, and they definitely don’t want that to end just yet.  The schedule doesn’t look too taxing for Wings though, as they close it off with a four game home stand after they visit Vancouver on Saturday.

The two teams that are eyeing up the last spot are Dallas and Columbus, and with Bobrovsky having a Vezina calibre season, the playoffs ain’t out of reach.  It may be tough though, as they only have five more games, four of which are on the road against the Pacific division, which concludes in Dallas.  Although the Jackets do have some luck considering the Stars don’t have the easiest schedule to close off the season.  All six of their games that they’ve got left are against legit teams.  Vancouver, St. Louis, San Jose, LA, Detroit and Columbus are all teams that are in the thick of things in the West.  But if they can take out Detroit and Columbus, and maybe split with the other four, their playoff hopes can become a reality.

Lets just hope the Leafs and Nucks can keep it going tonight against the Caps and Blues.

But for now listen to this beauty to get ya fired up for some puck.

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