Thursday, March 11, 2010
Backing In To The Playoffs
The Bruins could be a bad hockey team down the stretch and still make the playoffs. Just look at the teams behind them. King Henrik got yanked last night against a Devils team that has been playing bad hockey lately. The Atlanta Thrashers traded away Kovalchuk. The Tampa Bay Lightning also were sellers at the deadline, though on a much smaller scale. The 'Canes may be playing the best hockey of all of them, but they are in a hole thanks to their early season swoon. The Isles and Leafs are just too far back now.
My theory is that 86 points will be enough to make the playoffs which would easily be the lowest total to make the postseason since the current system was installed post-lockout. The Bruins could get to 86 by going just 8-9 over the final 17 games. The Leafs would have to go undefeated in their final 16 games to get to 86 points and the Isles would have to go 13-3 so you can cross both of them off. The Canes would have to go 12-4 which is a tall task for a team that just traded away 6 players and has Manny Legace starting in net so let's cross them off as well.
Byron Bitz and the Panthers would have to go 11-6-0 to get to 86 points - this is possible, but not likely.
The 'Ning would have to finish 10-6-1 to get to 86. The Thrash 10-7-0. The Rangers 9-5-1.
All of these are possible, but how likely are any of them? These are not good teams. And I didn't even mention the Habs, currently ahead of the B's, could easily finish at or below 86 points. If they play .500 hockey in their final 14 games, they will have only 86 points.
I am projecting the Bruins will back into the playoffs on the strength of their defense and goaltending and am hoping they end up with the #7 seed and Pittsburgh ends up with the #2 seed. The Bruins will not win the series, but it will make for some very interesting hockey after Matt Cooke's "legal" hit a few days back.