Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In this past week, the Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division for the 2013 regular season. They did it the same way they have been for much of the second half of this season: winning as many games as possible. Therefore, they have an insurmountable hold on first place and in the driver's seat to win the Eastern Conference.
As for the rest of the division, it's the same story as last week only slightly different. The New York Islanders and New York Rangers had great weeks and established themselves further in the top eight in the East. The New Jersey Devils continued their streak of not winning games. The Philadelphia Flyers also extended their run of futility with no wins in the prior week. Therefore, the two NY teams have something to play for in the final two weeks while New Jersey and Philly only have pride and a draft position.
|Potential Points||Last Week||Conf. Position||SCS Playoff Prob.|
The probability at Sports Club Stats says it all. The Flyers are all but out and the Devils are just about to be totally out too. Even if either team starts winning everything, the Rangers, Islanders, and Winnipeg can simply do their jobs to stay ahead. It's not enough to get points, but help is necessary. With only two weeks left in the 2013 season, there's not a lot of room for help. Incidentally, I think the Islanders' rate is only smaller because they've played one additional game but I could be wrong. It's moot since they're so close it would take an epic slide for them to blow it now.
Speaking of blowing it, well, think back to the other winless streak, this current nine game winless streak, and all of those times they didn't score and made mistakes that led to goals against. The Devils were in control of their own destiny weeks ago. When things out of their control spiral out of control, then this is what happens.
Nevertheless, here's the upcoming schedule. Everyone in the Atlantic gets today off and will play three games in the penultimate week of the season.
|PIT||vs. MTL||@ BOS||vs. BUF|
|NYI||vs. FLA||@ TOR||@ WPG|
|NYR||@ PHI||vs. FLA||@ BUF|
|NJD||@ TOR||@ PHI||vs. FLA|
|PHI||@ MTL||vs. NYR||vs. NJD||@ CAR|
There are two inter-division games this week and they both involve the Flyers. Winnipeg fans will be cheering really hard for Philly on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Devils and Flyers will face off in what could be the decider for last in the Atlantic. Elsewhere, it's just games against the rest of the East. Since Pittsburgh probably wants first in the East, their next two games would help them out greatly as only Montreal and Boston can catch them. While the Isles and Rangers have been playing very well as of late, the Rangers have an easier on-paper schedule than the Islanders in this coming week. So don't be surprised if you see the two switch at some point. Both teams could come down to the wire with respect to who gets the seventh seed. The Jets are the only team that has a not unreasonable chance of getting in, which makes that Saturday game against the Isles particularly huge.
What do you think will happen in this coming week in the Atlantic? Will Pittsburgh clinch the East? Who will pull ahead between the Rangers and Islanders? Who will win first, the Devils or the Flyers? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about week that happened and the upcoming week within the Atlantic Division in the comments. Thank you for reading.