Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Road To the 2nd Seed

There's currently a dog fight of Mike Vick proportion's going on at the 2nd tier of the Eastern conference. With 4 games to play in 6 nights; the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres are all vying for the shot to play the Flyers or Bruins. Let's take a look at the scenarios, the probabilities, and who each team's constituents should be pulling for.

2. New Joisey Devils (45-26-7 97 Pts)

The Devils currently sit atop the Atlantic, and in the 2nd seed, by virtue of the 3rd tiebreaker, their 6-0-0 record against the Penguins. Of their 4 remaining games, they play 1 playoff team, 1 fighting for their lives, and 2 others playing for pride.

Remaining Opponents Combined Record: 141-127-45
Devils Record Against Remaining Opp: 8-5-1

3. Buffalo Sabres (43-25-10 96 Pts)

Since they can clinch the Northeast division tonight, the Sabres sit in 3rd in the East. They're upcoming schedule has the Rangers, who are 2 points out of 8th, Boston, struggling to stay afloat at 7th, Ottawa, firmly entrenched in 5th, and then the season finale in Newark.

Remaining Opponents Combined Record: 160-119-35
Sabres Record Against Remaining Opp: 6-7-3

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (45-26-7 97 Pts)

By virtue of sucking against the Devils, the Penguins currently sit in 4th in the East. Of their 4 left, they play the Caps, the Easts powerhouse supreme, the Isles twice, and Atlanta, when they'll be playing some rather inspired hockey.

Remaining Opponents Combined Record: 152-117-45
Pens Record Against Remaining Opp: 11-3-2


At this point; looking at these schedules, how can you not assume the Penguins are going to be grabbing the 2nd seed? But look a little closer. I could easily see both Pittsburgh and New Jersey having identical 2-1 records going into Sunday, or even really, New Jersey could be ahead by 2 points, having their most difficult game in their finale, while Pittsburgh plays Washington tonight.

As a Sabres fan, I don't hold any hope for 2nd, I think at this point (and by virtue of a 0-3-2 record against Ottawa this year) they are written in for 3rd.

Gut feeling? It plays out 2. New Jersey (on tiebreaker) 103 pts. 3. Buffalo 101 pts. 4. Pittsburgh 103 pts.

I don't think anybody wants that 4 seed, with a first rounder against Ottawa, then most likely heading to Washington in the 2nd. Yikes.


Stevens8204 said...

The problem is the Devils at times have a hard time getting up for lesser teams. You never know what you are going to get in New Jersey. Pittsburgh should be able to win this division but who knows as they have thrown some points away themselves lately.

Vance said...

All 3 teams have been throwing points away lately, it wouldn't surprise me to see all 3 of em stumble 2-2 through it all.

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, the Devils might prefer to play Ottawa over Philly, who seems to have their number. And they've played almost as well against the Caps as they have against the Pens.

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Fact: BanginPanger is not meant as an insult to the one and only Darren Pang, nor do I claim to be him. The views and opinions presented on BanginPanger are of my own, and no other namesake of the site, the NHL, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, or anyone else.