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Weekly Atlantic Division Snapshot: 2/27 - 3/5

Looking for the preview of the Devils-Panthers game? It's right here (or scroll down if you're on the front page).

It's the final Atlantic Division snapshot before the NHL trade deadline. What more changes will we see to the five teams in the Atlantic? Either way, from March 1, we'll get an idea of what the final rosters could be for each. As far as results, the Pittsburgh Penguins continued to falter; the New York Islanders didn't make up points on the New Jersey Devils, who actually lost a game last week; and the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers did a good job maintaining their spots.

Atlantic Standings

Philadelphia 62 40 16 6 86
Pittsburgh 64 37 21 6 80
New York Rangers 63 33 26 4 70
New Jersey 61 26 31 4 56
New York Islanders 63 23 32 8 54

(updated 2.27.2011 at 12:38 AM EST)

Find out what's coming in the week ahead after the jump.

Very soon, you're going to start seeing the letter "X" before "Philadelphia" in the standings. This is the best letter one could hope for, as it signifies that the team has clinched a playoff berth. With 86 points already, another successful week like the one they had could push them over the top before the first half of March. Depending on how Vancouver does and how the conferences shake out, Philadelphia might be the first team in the league to secure a spot in the postseason this season.

From there, they can worry about getting a "Y" - clinching the division. They already have a handle on that given that the Pittsburgh had a potential for ten points last week and only got four (and with only one win. Harsh week for the Pens). Now the Flyers are six points ahead of the Penguins and have two games in hand on their in-state rivals. We may see that "Y" soon as well.

Potential Points Last Week Conf. Position
PHI 4 2-1-1 1st
PIT 6 1-2-2 4th
NYR 8 2-1-0 7th
NJD 6 1-1-0 13th
NYI 6 1-2-1 14th

And what's this? The Devils lost a game. They did not sweep the week for a third straight time this month. Still, they remain in 13th in the East and fourth in the division. The Islanders decided that dropping points was the order of the day and so they now sit two points behind the Devils, who have two games in hand. That's good for those who wanted to see the Devils avoid fifth place. Not so good for those thinking playoffs, but that's another matter entirely.

Also, the Rangers - who aren't as good as their record would indicate - did well enough to hold onto their spot in the East. That's the name of the game for the rest of the season: don't blow it. Seventh in the conference is good enough to get in - and to avoid the Flyers. The Rangers can do themselves some favors soon as they get the most games in the coming week:

2/27 2/28 3/1 3/2 3/3 3/4 3/5
NYR vs. TBL vs. BUF vs. MIN @ OTT
NJD @ FLA vs. TBL vs. PIT
NYI @ WSH vs. MIN vs. STL

There's only one inter-division matchup this week: Devils vs. Pittsburgh. Given that Pittsburgh is still entrenched in their fourth-seed in the East, it doesn't have a lot of spoiler potential. Just a good division rivalry game. In any case, every team's got their goals for the week and I suppose for the rest of the season. The Devils and Islanders are basically in "playing for pride" mode and just don't want to be last. The Rangers just need to hold on to their position. The Penguins just need to get healthier and not limp into the postseason. The Flyers are just going to keep on keeping on and hope they get all the letters next to their name in the standings by April 10.