NHL Week in Review (April 1-7)

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In October every NHL team had hopes of making the playoffs and as the months wore on that number seemed to lessen. Now the NHL season is over leaving 16 teams to continue their dreams in the playoffs while 14 teams go home with nothing. The playoffs did not come down to the last day but close to it with Thursday seeing the end of the hopes for many teams. Instead the last day became important to the 16 teams who clinched their spots as they began to work themselves around to get the best position they could get. This year these teams represent a lot of different styles as usual and they will all prepare for the upcoming race to the Stanley Cup. In the Eastern Conference will see the New York Rangers take the conference after coming out strong all season. The Boston Bruins have won their division and will sit in second place with home ice advantage this year as they look to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. Meanwhile the Florida Panthers won their division and sit at #3 with thoughts of 1996 when they made their way to the Stanley Cup Finals and surprised everyone. Taking the last home spot in the East is the Pittsburgh Penguins who have been on fire lately with some of the best players in the league on their top two lines. Facing the Pens in what could be the best series in round one will be the Philadelphia Flyers who have played great all year. Behind them is the New Jersey Devils who will take on the Panthers after coming out silently to be one of the best teams in the regular season. Rounding out the bottom of the conference are two teams that barely made it in and waited until the very last week to get their spot in the playoffs. The Washington Capitals will be taking on defending champions as they made it back to the playoffs after almost missing out and continuing a downward spiral of the team. The Ottawa Senators will be one of the two Canadian teams in the playoffs this year as they take on the New York Rangers in the 8th spot. In the West there will be a familiar face at the top of the conference with defending conference champions Vancouver Canucks sit in the #1 spot. Sitting right behind them is the surprising St. Louis Blues who took over the very competitive Central division with nobody suspecting them to be as good as they were. The Pacific division was a close one as the Phoenix Coyotes came out on top winning the division and fending off the other two teams looking to get the title. The last home ice spot went to the Nashville Predators who came into the playoffs essentially with little talk. Facing them will be the veteran Detroit Red Wings who finished in 5th place. The rest of the playoff teams will be the Pacific division as the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks barely got their shot at the Stanley Cup but will be in the mix. The playoffs are now set with every team having a shot at the title. The biggest thing for all of these teams will be to up the intensity throughout the playoffs after a long season. The team that can do that will be the only one left standing at the end as they will need to withstand all of the craziness that comes along with the playoffs. The second season is now here as the Stanley Cup is up for grabs with 16 teams all looking to win in the most exciting time in the NHL calendar.

 

For the other 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs there was still one prize that many of them wanted. Only 5 teams would have a chance at this prize and it was one that nobody wanted but they would still take. This prize is the #1 draft pick in the NHL draft as the bottom five teams at the end of the season are put into the Draft Lottery to find out who will take the first pick. This first pick will likely be used to take Russian superstar and current OHL player Nail Yakupov. Nobody wanted to finish in the bottom five of the league but by entering the draft lottery all of these teams get a chance at improving their team immediately. The teams this year that may get this shot have had terrible seasons and would love nothing more than to at least get something out of it. The Columbus Blue Jackets will have the best likelihood of winning the lottery as they have struggled all year and have been the worst team in the NHL since October. The Edmonton Oilers are back at the bottom of the league for another year after drafting top prospects for years as they hope to get a shot at another young superstar. Another familiar face is the New York Islanders who are again at the bottom of the league with a shot at immediate improvement. Rounding out the final teams in the draft lottery are two legendary teams that are hoping to get back to their winning ways in the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. The fans of all of these teams will get a small reward for suffering with a chance at winning the draft lottery and the #1 pick on Tuesday April 10th.

 

NHL Playoff Picture

Eastern Conference

1. Z-New York Rangers (109)

2. Y-Boston Bruins (102)

3. Y-Florida Panthers (94)

4. X-Pittsburgh Penguins (108)

5. X-Philadelphia Flyers (103)

6. X-New Jersey Devils (102)

7. X-Washington Capitals (92)

8. X-Ottawa Senators (92)

 

9. Buffalo Sabres (89)

10. Tampa Bay Lightning (84)

11. Winnipeg Jets (84)

12. Carolina Hurricanes (82)

13. Toronto Maple Leafs (80)

14. New York Islanders (79)

15. Montreal Canadiens (78)

 

Western Conference:

1. P-Vancouver Canucks (111)

2. Y-St. Louis Blues (109)

3. Y-Phoenix Coyotes (97)

4. X-Nashville Predators (104)

5. X-Detroit Red Wings (102)

6. X-Chicago Blackhawks (101)

7. X-San Jose Sharks (96)

8. X-Los Angeles Kings (95)

 

9. Calgary Flames (90)

10. Dallas Stars (89)

11. Colorado Avalanche (88)

12. Minnesota Wild (81)

13. Anaheim Ducks (80)

14. Edmonton Oilers (74)

15. Columbus Blue Jackets (65)

 

P-Clinched President’s Trophy

Z-Clinched Conference

Y-Clinched Division

X-Clinched Playoff Spot

*-Division Leader

Eliminated from playoff contention

 

Draft Lottery:

1. Columbus Blue Jackets (65)

2. Edmonton Oilers (74)

3. Montreal Canadiens (78)

4. New York Islanders (79)

5. Toronto Maple Leafs (80)

 

NHL Playoff Series

 

Eastern Conference:

 

New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

Game 1: OTT @ NYR (April 12th; 7:00 pm)

Game 2: OTT @ NYR (April 14th; 7:00 pm)

Game 3: NYR @ OTT (April 16th; 7:30 pm)

Game 4: NYR @ OTT (April 18th; 7:30 pm)

Game 5: OTT @ NYR (April 21st; 7:00 pm)

Game 6: NYR @ OTT (April 23rd; TBD)

Game 7: OTT @ NYR (April 26th; TBD)

 

Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals

Game 1: WAS @ BOS (April 12th; 7:30 pm)

Game 2: WAS @ BOS (April 14th; 3:00 pm)

Game 3: BOS @ WAS (April 16th; 7:30 pm)

Game 4: BOS @ WAS (April 19th; 7:30 pm)

Game 5: WAS @ BOS (April 21st; 3:00 pm)

Game 6: BOS @ WAS (April 22nd; TBD)

Game 7: WAS @ BOS (April 25th; TBD)

 

Florida Panthers vs. New Jersey Devils

Game 1: NJD @ FLA (April 13th; 7:00 pm)

Game 2: NJD @ FLA (April 15th; 7:30 pm)

Game 3: FLA @ NJD (April 17th; 7:30 pm)

Game 4: FLA @ NJD (April 19th; 7:00 pm)

Game 5: NJD @ FLA (April 21st; 6:30 pm)

Game 6: FLA @ NJD (April 24th; TBD)

Game 7: NJD @ FLA (April 26th; TBD)

 

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Game 1: PHI @ PIT (April 11th; 7:30 pm)

Game 2: PHI @ PIT (April 13th; 7:30 pm)

Game 3: PIT @ PHI (April 15th; 3:00 pm)

Game 4: PIT @ PHI (April 18th; 7:30 pm)

Game 5: PHI @ PIT (April 20th; 7:30 pm)

Game 6: PIT @ PHI (April 22nd; TBD)

Game 7: PHI @ PIT (April 24th; TBD)

 

Western Conference:

 

Vancouver Canucks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Game 1: LAK @ VAN (April 11th; 10:30 pm)

Game 2: LAK @ VAN (April 13th; 10:00 pm)

Game 3: VAN @ LAK (April 15th; 10:30 pm)

Game 4: VAN @ LAK (April 18th; 10:00 pm)

Game 5: LAK @ VAN (April 22nd; TBD)

Game 6: VAN @ LAK (April 24th; TBD)

Game 7: LAK @ VAN (April 26th; TBD)

 

St. Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks

Game 1: SJS @ STL (April 12th; 7:30 pm)

Game 2: SJS @ STL (April 14th; 7:30 pm)

Game 3: STL @ SJS (April 16th; 10:00 pm)

Game 4: STL @ SJS (April 19th; 10:30 pm)

Game 5: SJS @ STL (April 21st; 7:30 pm)

Game 6: STL @ SJS (April 23rd; TBD)

Game 7: SJS @ STL (April 25th; TBD)

 

Phoenix Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Game 1: CHI @ PHX (April 12th; 10:00 pm)

Game 2: CHI @ PHX (April 14th; 10:00 pm)

Game 3: PHX @ CHI (April 17th; 9:00 pm)

Game 4: PHX @ CHI (April 19th; 8:00 pm)

Game 5: CHI @ PHX (April 21st; 10:00 pm)

Game 6: PHX @ CHI (April 23rd; TBD)

Game 7: CHI @ PHX (April 25th; TBD)

 

Nashville Predators vs. Detroit Red Wings

Game 1: DET @ NSH (April 11th; 8:00 pm)

Game 2: SET @ NSH (April 13th; 7:30 pm)

Game 3: NSH @ DET (April 15th; 12:00 pm)

Game 4: NSH @ DET (April 17th; 7:30 pm)

Game 5: DET @ NSH (April 20th; 8:00 pm)

Game 6: NSH @ DET (April 22nd; TBD)

Game 7: SET @ NSH (April 24th; TBD)

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