Division Snapshot: 2/19 - 2/25

The Devils had their streaks broken last night; but because of the streaks being made prior to last night, the Devils remain with a currently strong lead in the Atlantic Division.


Atlantic Standings

GP W L OTL PT
New Jersey 58 37 18 3 77
Philadelphia 55 30 16 9 69
New York Rangers 58 30 22 6 66
Pittsburgh 58 27 25 6 60
New York Islanders 56 17 33 6 40

(updated 2.18.2009 at 9:35 AM EST)


UPDATE: Now, add 2 points for the Rangers along as they won 3-1 against the Islanders. Nuts, Our Hated Rivals get a brief respite from playoff elimination for now.

This week is a little more of a trap door than you may think.  The Flyers are 8 points behind the Devils, they have 3 games in hand, and most relevant to this week, the Flyers will play 4 games through next Wednesday whereas the Devils only play 2.  Mathematically, should the Devils lose all their games and the Flyers win their next 4, Philadelphia will end up in first place before midnight on the 25th.

Team

GP This Week (H, A)

Potential Pts. Last 5 Games Conference Position
NJ 2 (0,2) 4 4-1-0 3rd
PHI
4 (3,1) 8 4-1-0 4th
NYR
3 (1,2) 6 1-3-1 8th
PIT 4 (2,2) 8 2-2-1 10th
NYI 3 (2,1) 6 1-3-1 15th

Now, the Devils have the benefit of playing the two of the worst teams in the conference: Tampa Bay and the Islanders.  If they win one of those, they secure first all to themselves for another week.  Ideally, they should win both.  Still, the lack of games (and therefore, points) for New Jersey hurts them this week.

The Flyers have done well recently and they may start pulling themselves the rest of the pack in the East.  Three home games - against Buffalo, their hated rivals Pittsburgh, and LA - will help them out in that regard.  After all, the Flyers are 16-7-3 at home this season.  Though, they visit Washington the night before the LA game.  I don't see the Flyers sweeping unless they get hot.  Check out Broad Street Hockey to learn more about the team most likely to challenge New Jersey for first in the Atlantic Division this season.

Now, let's laugh at the Rangers.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  Oh, you Rangers were in first for such a long time to begin the season!  Poor Blueshirts!  Not enough goals, too many given up, and not even the shootout is automatic anymore. Now they're staring at 8th place in the East!  The Rangers visit Buffalo on Saturday, host Toronto on Sunday, and then go to Toronto on Wednesday.  While they aren't out of it, they need to up their game to try and contend for the division.  Given how things are, they should worry about securing the playoffs first!

The Penguins are another team that has fallen, though the fall is in comparison to last season.  Now, they are with a new interim coach and they are on the outside looking in and looking for help to help themselves.  I'm sorry Frank, I wish the Devils won last night too.  Ah, well.  The Penguins have it tough this week: they host Montreal tomorrow, play Philly and Washington on the road back-to-back, and they have the Islanders next Wednesday.  I fear the Penguins really need to win those games for their own sake, much less to make a statement.  Go to Pensburgh for your Penguins coverage.

As far as the Islanders go, well, what can you say? They are 7 points behind Atlanta for 29th in the league.  And their official site has a front page featuring their game against Carolina with a big picture of Eric Staal and...Richard Park.  Yep.  These are your Islanders!  They play the Carolina Staals Hurricanes on Thursday night, the Devils on Saturday, and the Penguins on Wednesday.  Ideally, we'd like them to lose one of those games (hint: Saturday). Here's to hoping and if you're looking to hope, you might as well do it at Lighthouse Hockey.

The Devils are in the driver's seat in the division and that's the best place they can be right now.  They should rebound nicely against Tampa Bay and the Islanders and with a little help of some Philadelphia failure, their lead can be strengthend.  Still, expect Philly to get closer by next Wednesday.

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