On average there is 20 games left for each team in the regular season. Lets take a look at my predictions as to where teams will finish and how the playoffs will look.
1. Washington Capitals - No surprise here, team is 11 points up on its closest competitor in the East. Will be status-quo for the Capitals as the season goes on.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins - Solid pick-ups by the Penguins on the trade deadline. Will just inch out the New Jersey Devils for the Atlantic division title.
3. Buffalo Sabres - This will be a stretch but the Sabres will just beat out the Ottawa Senators. Ryan Miller has had a very solid season and Olympics, but will he run out of steam?
4. New Jersey Devils - Like the Devils of old? Same aging goalie. Same system. Different offense than we're used to. The Devils have not been solid in the playoffs since the lockout. Regular season will put them with home ice. But don't count on them getting past the first round.
5. Ottawa Senators - A surprise season to most, but to those who follow the team knew the depth that was coming through the system. Cory Clouston deserves a lot of credit for this team turning it around. Needs one of the two goalies to come through big time if this is going to be the season for Ottawa.
6. Philadelphia Flyers - Didn't pick up the goalie this team needs for the stretch run and playoffs. The offense will carry them, along with a solid defensive core. Success will revolve around a hot/cold goalie.
7. Boston Bruins - A team in some kind of turmoil. Tuuka Rask will help them get to the playoffs but this team will not make it past that. It will be a tight race for them to get in this spot. But they'll find a way.
8. Montreal Canadiens - It will be very tight with the New York Rangers but Montreal will find a way. They have two solid goalies to get them here. But who will start?
Recap: (1)WSH v MON(8) (2)PIT v BOS(7) (3)BUF v PHI(6) (4)NJ v OTT(5)
1. Chicago Blackhawks - Only one point behind the San Jose Sharks right now. They will ride the momentum of great Olympic performances by all involved to take first in the Western Conference.
2. San Jose Sharks - A great regular season team will be great once again. There is no way this team will not win the division.
3. Colorado Avalanche - A team going the right direction will not earn this spot but inherit it from the what seems to be a defenseless Vancouver Canucks team.
4. Los Angeles Kings - This is some kind of team. A lot of youth, lots of energy. It is a team that will not be afraid to take chances.
5. Phoenix Coyotes - Who would have thought that the Coyotes would even be in the playoffs? This team has surprised everyone. Another team that shouldn't be afraid and just take chances moving forward. Looks like an exciting series is in the making.
6. Vancouver Canucks - Hopefully for them Luongo can carry a team. Don't know how far he can carry them.
7. Detroit Red Wings - How can it even be the playoffs without the Red Wings? Mike Babcock will coach these guys into the playoffs. Can't ask for a better matchup for them either.
8. Nashville Predators - This is tight between Detroit, Nashville and Calgary for the last spots. Nashville will be the lucky one and get in. Although Calgary has made some of the right moves to be here.
Recap: (1)CHI v NSH(8) (2)SJ v DET(7) (3)COL v VAN(6) (4)LA v PHO(5)
Who will make it out of the East is wide-open. But out of the West, the Chicago Blackhawks will make it to the cup final.
Disagree with me? let me know.