FanPost

Devils Standings Snapshot: 2/3 - 2/9


Tonight the Devils have an opportunity to do something special.  No, I am not just talking about defeating Our Hated Rivals in Madison Square Garden.  A win (or an overtime loss) tonight will mean that for 24 hours the Devils will no longer be the 30th place team in the NHL.  In fact, two points from a win would tie them in points with the New York Islanders with 39 points apiece, and put them ahead of the Edmonton Oilers' 38 points.  Both the Islanders and Oilers are idle tonight.

At this point it is hard to think that climbing out of the NHL basement is anything other than a foregone conclusion.  The question truly becomes, can the Devils not only climb out of the basement but avoid a return trip?  Let's take a look at the NHL standings for the bottom five teams in the league and see what could happen over the next seven days as February begins.

 

Rank

Team

GP

W

L

OT

P

26

Toronto Maple Leafs

50

20

25

5

45

27

Ottawa Senators

52

17

27

8

42

28

New York Islanders

51

16

28

7

39

29

Edmonton Oilers

50

15

27

8

38

30

New Jersey Devils

50

17

30

3

37

 

Toronto Maple Leafs
2/3 vs CAR, 2/5 @BUF, 2/7 vs ATL, 2/8 @NYI

The Leafs have a huge opportunity this week to make some headway in the standings by playing three teams that sit between them and the last spot in the playoffs.  Atlanta, Carolina and Buffalo hold the 9th, 10th and 11th places in the conference respectively.  These will be tough matches for Toronto because each of those teams is fighting even harder for that eighth spot (since they have a more realistic chance of holding it at the end of the season).

Ottawa Senators
2/5 @NYI, 2/7 @VAN, 2/9 @CGY

Ottawa is on an awful stretch right now and opened up with two losses (to New Jersey and Detroit) after the break.  It's hard to imagine them picking up wins against the Canucks, who are one of the best teams in the league, and the Flames who are on an impressive winning streak.  It isn't a stretch to think that by the end of the week the Senators could find themselves in 28th or 29th place.

New York Islanders
2/5 OTT, 2/8 TOR

The Isles will have a lot of say this week in holding onto their position in the league.  They've had a very rough go of it this year with injuries (as usual) and it would mean a lot for them to finish a little higher.  They ended last season in 26th place and should try to aim for that finish again.  Wins this week against the Leafs and Senators would be a big step towards achieving that goal.

Edmonton Oilers
2/4 @STL, 2/5 @CLB, 2/7 @NSH, 2/9 CHI

Edmonton has dropped two games in a row and is on the road this week against some stiff competition.  Like the Devils, everyone is stiff competition for the Oilers.  If they want to hold onto their one point lead over the Devils, which is the only thing keeping them out of 30th place (where the Senators probably belong) then they'll need to keep pace with New Jersey this week.  Which brings us to...

New Jersey Devils
2/3 @NYR, 2/4 FLA, 2/6 @MON, 2/8 CAR

The Devils will try to break out of the bottom of the NHL this week, and if their recent performance is any indication they should be able to do it.  The only thing they need to do to get out of 30th place is earn one more point than Edmonton does this week in the same number of games.  As an added bonus, the Devils will have an opportunity to give the Hurricanes a loss.  While it isn't a goal for the players, as a fan every loss for Carolina and Atlanta is one step closer for the Devils.

It's going to be an exciting week with games against Our Hated Rivals and the Canadians in Montreal (where Marty always seems to play well).  If the Senators and Oilers continue to skid, and the Islanders split their two games, then it's not an unrealistic goal for the Devils to climb all the way up to 27th place by the end of the week.  Even though it is technically possible, I don't want to see them overtake Toronto because that would mean wins for Carolina, Buffalo and Atlanta, all teams we need to catch to make the playoffs.

As a final note, we all know that the Devils are on a 7-1-1 stretch, going back to the January 9th win over Tampa Bay.  At the end of this week it will have been a month since that fateful game.  7-1-1 is 15 out of a possible 18 points, or a 0.833 percentage.  Tonight is the 51st game of the season and we have 32 remaining altogether.  At this rate, of 0.833, we would claim an astounding 53 of a possible 64 points (26-5-1) over the rest of the season.  This would give us exactly 90 points.  Atlanta is on pace to have an 88 point season and Carolina is on pace to have a 90 point season.  Just something to think about.

How far do you think the Devils can climb?  Are you still holding onto hope that we can make a real run at eighth place in the conference?  Or is this recent streak just a fluke and the Devils are doomed to remain in the basement?

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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