Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Baseline Monday March 17

This weeks Baseline appears below. The Baseline is an indication of the final standings assuming all teams go .500 for the rest of the season. If a team remains steady from previous baseline they are playing .500 hockey. If they climb, they are doing better. Teams that expect to make the playoffs should generally climb for the remainder of the season.

1 NJD 100
2 PIT 99
3 CAR 91
4 MON 98
5 OTT 96
6 NYR 93
7 BOS 92
8 PHI 89
9 BUF 88
11 WAS 87
13 FLA 86
12 TOR 83
10 NYI 80
14 ATL 78
15 TBL 76

Of the teams in the thick of the division and conference title races, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Carolina have all improved their position while Montreal has remained steady.

Washington has made solid gains against Carolina's hold on the southeast division title.

Of the remaining teams in the playoff hunt, the Rangers and Sabres have improved while the Bruins and Flyers have slipped a little. Washington has come on strongly, knocking on the door of both the eighth spot and the 3rd spot (by way of the southeast division title). Florida has also had a good week, although it is likely too little too late, whereas the Islanders have fallen. For a while there last week it looked as if the teams were sorting themselves out near the bottom, but it has once again become a horse race.

The Bruins are still in good stead, although they have lost some ground. With 9 games remaining they need to pick up 11 points to end up at the 94 point playoff target, which translates to going 5-3 plus an OT loss, or 4-2 and three OT losses. Remaining games are against "those who shall not be named" (2), Toronto (2), Ottawa (2), Buffalo (2), and New Jersey. Five wins alone would probably be enough to make the playoffs. They could trade wins with Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Buffalo, and either beat New Jersey or take two games from one of the others.

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