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The Eastern playoff race just got a lot more interesting

Mar 24, 2012, 10:58 AM EDT

In case you didn’t notice last night, the Eastern Conference just got a lot more interesting.

While the Capitals pooping the bed against Winnipeg with Buffalo beating the Rangers earned all the attention surrounding the eighth spot, the Ottawa Senators have come crashing to earth and have put the seventh spot in question as well. Check out the standings as of today.

source:

The Senators only up by two points on both Washington and Buffalo with Winnipeg laying in the weeds? Things just got a lot more interesting. Of course, the Eastern picture isn’t the only one that could get dicey.

Mike Harrington at The Buffalo News is getting wistful at the thought of the Northeast Division crown becoming available and the Buffalo Sabres being able to ride their hot streak all the way to the top. It’s a crazy idea, but not as nutty as you might think.

If the Sabres win tonight and the slumping Bruins lose at Los Angeles, which has won six straight to take over the Pacific Division lead, Buffalo would be just three points out of the Northeast lead (Boston would, however, still have two games in hand).

Ah yes, the two games in hand. That’s the sticking point. That could mean as many as four points added to the Bruins’ lead. It could also mean they blow it completely and come away with nothing and with how up and down Boston’s played lately, anything is possible. Never mind that Ottawa is just three back of Boston right now and could still take down the division.

It’s the most wonderful time of year…

  1. dashortstop517 - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Rangers 1st seed, Bruins 2nd seed, Capitals 7th seed, Senators 8th seed

    • danphipps01 - Mar 24, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      You appear to have put the Capitals in the playoffs. An innocent mistake, I’m sure.

    • geostrophically - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:44 PM

      Much rather Sens than Caps. Personal preference.

  2. cowboys282 - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    I think the bigger story which isn’t mentioned is that if the Penguins beat Ottawa today, then the Penguins move into 1st place in the entire East. New york falls to 4th and both teams will have had equal games played.

    And as a Bruins fan I am more worried about Florida being 1 point behind with Boston having only one game in hand. The 3rd seed plays the Devils. The 2nd seed plays Ottawa/Washington/Buffalo. New Jersey will be a very tough out. Getting the 2nd seed will be huge.

  3. drewsylvania - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    I don’t care too much about playoff seeding anymore. Often it doesn’t matter what seed you are–any team that makes it can go far. And the #1 seed often gets biffed quickly.

    • bagjr387 - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      how do you feel if your first and have to play buffalo. 17-5 since all star game? not a fun 8th place team

      • odj810 - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        buffalo is peaking at the right time but they don’t have a shot in hell in competing with new york or the penguins. to much depth and strength, they will just get bullied come playoff time. though miller could steal a series, but it would have to be one of the all time greatest heists.

  4. GenoPringles - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    The Franchise aka the Penguins will lock up that 1 seed after they beat the Sens tonight. All other teams are inferior to this magical team led by The Almighty Soupcan!!! SCA 4L

  5. drewsylvania - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Some Pens fans really need a life.

    • letangusespertplus - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      and some need a sense of humor

  6. micbg77 - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    the entire Eastern conference DOES NOT want to see Buffalo in the playoffs!!! go Sabres!

  7. rabidbillsfan - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Washington did not just soil their bedsheets, they defiled them by losing at home, and to the Jets. Buffalo has the inside track as their schedule is more forgiving than the Caps. I see Ottowa getting booted and it being Buffalo 7 and Washinton 8. It very well come down to the regualr season finale for the Sabres against the Bruins for the NE Division title.

    • odj810 - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:50 PM

      what are you smoking? where can i get some? be proud of your team but understand that theres no way they overtake the bruins.

  8. crusty14 - Mar 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    That’s pretty wishful thinking saber fans. Although buffalo is playing well, it would be a steep order to fill to catch the bruins for first.

    Buffalo has 7 games left, Boston has 9 . Let’s say buffalo runs the table and wins out, that will give them 96 points. That means the bruins have to win 5 out of their remaining 9 to achieve 97 points. Even though the b’s have been struggling, a 5 win 4 loss run to end the season is more than likely going to happen.. Ergo, Boston will be either the second or third seed.

  9. rabidbillsfan - Mar 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Not really wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is the Sabres winning out, it won’t happen, but giving Boston 5 wins in their next 9 is just as wishful. Boston plays 5 games in 7 days, starting today and tomorrow with back to back games against west teams fighting for their play-off lives. Then you have Tampa and Washington, two teams that will gladly take advantage of a tired Thomas. So I give the Bruins 2 wins in their next 5, and 5 points. It doesn’t get easier after that, they have Pittsburgh, NYR, Ottawa and Buffalo in the final 4. Maybe 2-3 points in those first 3 and then it coming down to Buffalo vs. boston. It would be close, but it has more potential than you think to come down to the last game of the season to decide the NE Division. That gives Buffalo a one game cushion as well, finishing 6-1, and thats possible looking at their schedule and recent run.

  10. buffalomafia - Mar 24, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I will admit I am a frustrated Sabres fan & fell off the bandwagon!

    Now that they are healthy, Miller us playing well & Kaleta isn’t playing I wish them the best if luck!

  11. crusty14 - Mar 24, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    I still think you are asking for a lot to happen for the sabers to take first in the division. You say if buffalo goes 6-1 in your scenario it will make that last game an important one. Firstly , that 6-1 includes the buf/ Boston game, even at that it gives them max 94 points. That means Boston only would need to get 7 out of a potential 18 points available to them to take the northeast . Also, buffalo has a few games against teams fighting for their playoff lives or better positioning as well (wash. Phi. Pitt. And Boston ).

    The only real good thing going for buffalo is they get to play the leafs twice ! The sabers should just focus on getting in the playoffs, because them winning the division is highly unlikely. Don’t forget, even if the bruins crumble (which they won’t) the senators are still ahead of the sabers too!

  12. phillyphever - Mar 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Good grief, can the Flyers get some love here?

  13. buffalomafia - Mar 24, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    The flyers still need a goalie!

    • phillyphever - Mar 24, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      I would say the same thing for Buffalo. That and a new head coach.

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