Here is how I see the playoff picture in the Eastern and Western Conferences right now:
The bubble teams in the east are the Winnipeg Jets (9th seed), New York Rangers (8), Ottawa Senators (7) and New York Islanders (6). The New Jersey Devils started hot, but a tough April has cost them a shot. On the other hand, the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers have won recently, but it’s too little too late.
I don’t see Winnipeg making it into the playoffs. Look at the point differential out East: All of the playoff teams have scored more goals than they have let in, where all the teams on the outside are in the red. The Jets currently sit at minus-13. Not only that, but they essentially have to beat the Caps in D.C. and Montreal at home to make the postseason.
That’s not going to happen.
In the west, San Jose looks like its going to make it in (the Sharks have the same amount of points as the Kings, a team that’s in for sure), which makes St. Louis (6), Minnesota (7), Columbus (8), Detroit (9), Dallas (10) and Phoenix (11) the bubble teams.
The Blues have played well recently and despite a loss to the Avalanche, have convinced me that they will make it.
On the other hand, the Wild has not won in St. Paul this month and went from possibly winning the division to risking missing the postseason altogether. With all the talent on the team, however, and strong leadership from Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Minnesota will pull it together and hold on to the No. 7 seed.
That last spot is tough. I don’t think Phoenix has enough offense, and Dallas has a history of petering out at the end of the year.
That leaves Columbus and Detroit. Here’s what I’ll tell you: When it comes to playoffs and the Red Wings, never bet against Motown. Detroit is your No. 8 seed out west.
All scores and record include Sunday's results.