Rational minds will tell you that there is little hope remaining for the Devils to make the playoffs for a 14th consecutive season. Rabid fans will tell you that they will keep hope alive until the moment the Devils have been statistically eliminated from the playoffs. With the Devils finally turning their season around, and by around I mean a complete 180 degrees, the flames of our hope have been reignited and burn brighter than ever. To help keep the hope alive I will be compiling a daily projection of the final standings of the Eastern Conference based on every teams L10 (Last 10) game results.
Today is a very special projection. After the win against the Rangers tonight the Devils have not only moved from 15th place in the conference to 14th place, but their 8-1-1 performance in their L10 now has them projected to finish in 8th place! To make things even more sweet, the Rangers 4-5-1 L10 has them finishing in 9th place. Full standings and more fun facts after the jump.
Disclaimer: I am not delusional. I understand that the L10 performance is a poor gauge of how a team will perform over the next 30 games. Still, the information is interesting and serves a purpose. That purpose is to keep fueling the hopes of Devils fans all over that Jersey's Team can mount the NHL's (sports?) greatest season comeback.
Projected Eastern Conference Standings
1. Philadelphia Flyers* (115)
2. Tampa Bay Lightning* (111)
3. Boston Bruins* (108)
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (112)
5. Montreal Canadiens (105)
6. Buffalo Sabres (97)
7. Washington Capitals (94)
8. New Jersey Devils (91)
9. New York Rangers (87)
10. Florida Panthers (81)
11. Carolina Hurricanes (80)
12. Atlanta Thrashers (77)
13. Toronto Maple Leafs (75)
14. New York Islanders (58)
15. Ottawa Senators (54)
That's right, folks. The Devils are projecting a 91 point finish putting them into the 8th and final spot in the playoffs. The best part about this pretend scenario is that they could have 87 points on April 9th going into their second-to-last game of the season against Our Hated Rivals who would also have 87 points. A regulation win would guarantee the Rangers a post-season birth and eliminate the Devils. What would transpire shocks the hockey world as the Devils beat the Rangers, getting points 88 and 89, locking up the final spot in the playoffs. Gary Bettman is on-hand to award Jacques Lemaire the Jack Adams trophy on the spot.
Other fun facts for today's projection:
- Division rivals would square off in three of the four opening playoff rounds
- The final opening round would be a re-match of 2010's Conference Semifinals between Pittsburgh and Montreal
- Tampa Bay would return to the post-season for the first time since 2007
- Ottawa would finish with 40 less points than last season, Tampa Bay would finish with 31 more