Friday, March 28, 2008

Don't Get Too Comfortable

So far as the Bruins playoff hopes go their home-and-home sweep of the Leafs is a very good thing. But it does not mean that a spot in the post season can't elude them. In fact, looking at the remaining schedule I'd say they are teetering on the brink of elimination.

TSN has this great page with which to to keep track of the Bruins position daily.

It comes down to this for the Bruins in their remaining five games: three more wins and the Bruins are likely in. Three losses and they need another team to falter. Four losses and they are likely out.

The race for the last two playoff spots is now pretty much a three team thing as the Sabres continue their seeming disinterest in making the post season. Even if they run the table and win their last five games they can only manage 93 points and I doubt that would be enough. Basically, one more loss and Buffalo is out.

So that leaves Philly (88), Boston (88) and Washington (86). What worries me are their schedules. The Flyers schedule is downright daunting with five games left, playing both New Jersey and Pittsburgh twice. Both those teams are in the race for the top seed. Their only gimme is the Islanders.

The Bruins also have it cut out for them, with two each against the Senators and Sabres, and a tough one vs. the Devils. At least in theory that's an easier schedule than Philly, since the Sens are coasting to their playoff spot and the Sabres have that seeming disinterest I spoke of earlier. But obviously each of these teams can be very dangerous! If they take one vs. the Sens and one vs. the Sabres (which is the most likely outcome) then they will likely need to beat the Devils.

The Capitols have it relatively easy with two against the Panthers, one vs. the Lightening, and their only big one: Carolina. It is quite possible they will run the table, which would leave them with 94 points. Not only might that be enough to move into the top eight, but given this schedule they might still take the division from Carolina. The key game for both teams will obviously be the one where they meet. A good guess would be for the Caps to reach 92 points in the end, which would mean the Bruins must pick up at least 6 more points (I believe they have the tie breaker). If the Caps do run the table, the Bruins will need 8 points (4 wins) to best them, and in that case their best hope may be to do better than Philly or Carolina, should the Canes lose their hold on the division.