First and foremost: The following post does not include the results of Sunday afternoon's games, which involve four Atlantic Division teams. Keep this in mind as you read the following.
With the NHL Trade Deadline passed, the focus for the league is jockeying for position. The Philadelphia Flyers have to hold on to their division lead from the likes of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The New York Rangers have to avoid any long slumps to make the playoffs. The New Jersey Devils need to remain blazing hot to have a shot at the postseason, while the New York Islanders trail behind looking to avoid a fifteenth place finish in the East. Everyone's got something to play for, and this upcoming week is no different.
Please read on after the jump to see what everyone has coming up in the week ahead.
Everyone in the Atlantic is quite busy with the exception of Pittsburgh. The Penguins have two home games fairly spread apart from one another. They'll have the time to rest up a bit and savor their first regulation win in a little over a month.
|Potential Points||Last Week||Conf. Position|
Philadelphia has a real opportunity to re-establish their Atlantic Division lead this week. They'll use up two of the three games they have on hand on Pittsburgh. While they slipped a bit last week and the playoffs are all but a guarantee for the Flyers, they do not want to let their in-state rivals jump them at any point. This week will be crucial for them.
As for the other three teams in the Atlantic, the potential points for them are important. The Rangers need them to stay in eighth or above. It will not be an easy few weeks and they could still collapse, which I certainly would not mind. However, their goal is to maintain. Going 1-3-0 out of 4 games won't help, but getting at least 3 out of 6 this week would. The Devils and Islanders are both real longshots to make the postseason, so for them to remain as longshots, they need to keep winning. It's important for both as they play two games against each other this week.
|PHI||@ NYR||vs. EDM||@ TOR||vs. ATL|
|PIT||vs. BUF||vs. MTL|
|NYR||vs. PHI||@ ANA||@ SJS|
|NJD||@ NYI||vs. OTT||@ ATL||vs. NYI|
|NYI||vs. NJD||vs. TOR||vs. BOS||@ NJD|
By the time you read this, the first Devils-Islanders game will be over and decided. The rest of the week looks a little easier on paper for the Devils, though. The Devils get the worst team in the East in Ottawa, an Atlanta team that's in the mix but their actions before the trade deadline suggest otherwise, and then the Islanders again. All non-playoff teams right now. Before the re-match, the Isles get a Toronto team that has more of a shot to make the playoffs, and a Boston team that probably is looking at Philly in the conference standings and thinking they can catch them in due time. That looks rougher, but we shall see. While not as red-hot as the Devils have been, the Islanders have been quite successful in getting results as of late.
If nothing else, Philadelphia suddenly looking vulnerable in the standings show that nothing set in stone just yet.