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Northeast Division Watch (February 24)

Feb 24, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT

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Patrice Bergeron, Carey Price

Every week, we’ll provide updates for each division. The biggest contenders and/or closest races will receive the greatest amount of attention.

Bold = playoff contender; Italics = likely lottery fodder.

Northeast Division outlook (February 24 -March 2)

1. Boston Bruins (34-19-7 for 75 pts; 60 Games Played)

Current streak: Three wins in a row.

Week ahead: Three road games – vs. Vancouver (Saturday), Edmonton (Sunday) and Ottawa (Tues).

Thoughts: The Bruins really benefited from the Flames, as Calgary beat Montreal in the Heritage Classic and then Boston continued their three-game winning streak by besting Jarome Iginla & Co. We’ll see how the Bruins do in their rugged Canadian tour this week, though.

2. Montreal Canadiens (32-22-7 for 71 pts; 61 GP)

Current streak: One win.

Week ahead: Home against Toronto (Thu), home vs. Carolina (Sat) and away vs. Atlanta (Tues).

Thoughts: Meanwhile, Montreal faces a slew of wannabe playoff teams this week. It could be a nice opportunity for the Habs to gain on the Bruins, but they won’t be playing soft games.

3. Buffalo Sabres (28-25-6 for 62 pts; 59 GP)

Current streak: One win.

Week ahead: Home vs. Ottawa (Fri), home against Detroit (Sat) and away vs. Rangers (Tues).

Thoughts: The Sabres better load up on points against the Senators and Red Wings, because they begin a seven-game road trip against the Rangers next week. It could be a post-trade deadline death of playoff dream or a rallying point for a Buffalo team that is still a bit tough to figure out.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs (26-27-7 for 59 pts; 60 GP)

Current streak: One win.

Week ahead: Away against Montreal (Thu), home vs. Pittsburgh (Sat), @ Atlanta (Sun) and home vs. Pittsburgh (Wed).

Thoughts: They’re ahead of the Devils in the standings, so I feel compelled to consider them a contender. This challenging foursome of games should tell us if the Leafs are the real.

5. Ottawa Senators (20-31-9 for 49 pts; 60 GP)

Current streak: Two wins.

Week ahead: Away against Buffalo (Fri), home vs. Philadelphia (Sat) and home vs. Boston (Tues).

Thoughts: The real “showdown” happens between now and February 28th, as the team decides the fate of various remaining trade pieces.

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