The Penguins did finally have their 15-game winning streak snapped in their first game in April. They didn't get their first win until their third game in April. But it's more than OK. They are a virtual lock for the playoffs and with a 16 point lead with ten games to go, they are all but set to take the Atlantic Division crown for 2013. I'm pretty sure the Penguins will win a few games to secure it in short order.
As for the Devils, well, this last week really was a punch to the stomach.
|Potential Points||Last Week||Conf. Position||SCS Playoff Prob.|
The Devils lost all three games. In addition, the two closest teams behind them in the standings to start the week, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders, had great weeks. The New York teams each picked up seven out of a potential eight points. Therefore, they're not only sitting in seventh and eighth but they each have a three point lead over the Devils. That other team in the Atlantic, the Philadelphia Flyers, actually had a positive week in results too. So while the Devils are rightly looking up in the standings, the Flyers are actually very close to them. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the Devils could end up last in the Atlantic and further down the Eastern Conference standings.
Letting up six over three games isn't the problem, it's only scoring two over those same games. You're not going to win games that way and the Devils didn't. Therefore, their playoff chances per Sports Club Stats have spiraled all the way down from 70% to just under 20% in a matter of a week. If you want that shoot that back up - and we all do - the Devils need to start winning now. And that means they need to score more goals now. And I don't care if you're sick of reading that; it's the harsh reality of the situation.
Making that reality harsher is the upcoming schedule for this week:
|PIT||@ CAR||@ TBL||@ FLA|
|NYR||@ TOR||vs. TOR||@ NYI|
|NYI||vs. PHI||@ BOS||vs. NYR|
|NJD||@ BUF||vs. BOS||vs. OTT|
|PHI||@ NYI||vs. OTT||@ BUF|
First and foremost, the Devils need to win games. Scoreboard watching is useless if the Devils aren't going to win games anytime soon. They absolutely need to beat Buffalo tonight because Boston and Ottawa, while at home, are going to be mighty challenges. Second, the Devils need the Rangers and Islanders to falter. While the Devils can safely hope Toronto gets the job done against the Rangers and the same for Boston against the Islanders, the inter-division games make it tricky. Given that Philly is right on New Jersey's tail, the Devils need a result against Buffalo tonight because a Philly win against the Isles on Tuesday would push them up past the Devils. That would under cut the whole point. Unfortunately, Saturday night game doesn't have a good result for New Jersey right now and it'll be even worse if it's a three-point game. But it's all moot if the Devils can't get back to winning ways right away.
What do you think will happen in this coming week in the Atlantic? Will the Devils start winning games? Given that Pittsburgh plays three Southeastern teams this week, how much of a bounce back will they get? Can the Flyers stay out of the basement? Will the New York teams slip? 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.