The New Jersey Devils welcomed the return of Martin Brodeur last week and had 4 games in 7 days. The Devils earned all 8 potential points, the first three in very impressive fashion. The Devils entered the week with some concern, as the Flyers could have got into striking distance. Yet, the Devils passed every test and so instead of Philadelphia catching up the Devils have...
...a wonderful 9 point lead in the Atlantic! On this NHL Trade Deadline Day, the standings will stay this way as the division has no games tonight. The Devils won't have too many by next Wednesday. They go back to Long Island for their final game this season with the Islanders this Saturday. Hopefully, the Devils can exact some revenge given the last Devils-Islanders game. On Tuesday, the Devils will have to face off against a very good (and now with more offensive talent!) Calgary Flames team at the Rock. Regardless of how those games will go, the Devils will remain in first.
GP This Week (H, A)
|Potential Pts.||Last 5 Games||Conference Position|
Philadelphia can make up ground this week, but that's really it. They do benefit from having 3 games at home: Calgary, Nashville, and Buffalo. Not at all an easy stretch, but they are coming off a win over Boston and the potential is there to make the most of each game. Flyers fans should still feel good relative to the rest of the division. The Flyers are starting to break away from the conference and settle into that #4 spot in the conference. For more, check out Broad St. Hockey.
Hey! The Rangers won a game last week! It has been the only one in their last 5 games. So the Blueshirts are slipping in the conference. Given that the team is 15 points behind New Jersey, the goal for New York really should be to secure the playoffs. Right now, every team from fifth to ninth in the East has won more than 1 game in a row except for the Rangers and Carolina. Basically, they need to pick it up to keep pace. This week, they don't have it easy. The Rangers go to Long Island on Thursday; but Sunday and Monday are big. Boston comes to MSG on Sunday, which won't be easy; and a matchup that could help seal the Rangers' playoff fate on Monday: a game in Carolina.
Pittsburgh is currently on fire. Which is exactly what they needed. They won their last 4 games and have climbed back into playoff contention. They've beaten the Islanders, Chicago, Dallas, and Tampa Bay - the last three on the road. The Penguins will continue their road trip through fellow-playoff-hopefuls Florida on Thursday and the Southeast-leading Washington on Sunday. They finish up the week by hosting Florida. It would be massive for the Pens' chances if they beat on Florida in both games! Who knows how Bill Guerin will contribute, though. For more, check out Pensburgh.
The Islanders are still chilling at the bottom of the conference. But they have done well as of late. They beat on Buffalo and Colorado in their most recent games, and they get to play spoiler again this week. They host the Rangers and the Devils to start; hopefully they only spoil one of those teams (hint: not the Devils). On Sunday, they get to see the Jokinen-less Coyotes, and on Tuesday they travel up to Toronto. If the team can really get in a groove, they have an outside shot of jumping up to 14th in the conference. For more, check out Lighthouse Hockey.
Again, the Devils will remain in first and with at least a win by March 11, the lead will stay nice and sizeable for another week.