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The race for 8th — Sabres or Capitals?

Mar 29, 2012, 1:41 PM EST

Though the Panthers and/or Senators could still collapse, odds are the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference will go to either Buffalo or Washington. Each team has five games left and the Sabres sit two points up on the ninth-place Capitals, though the Caps would get the nod if there’s a tie.

Here’s how it breaks down.

Buffalo’s schedule:

source:

— Two home games, but only one “easy” one (Toronto).

— The Leafs haven’t won at home since Feb. 6.

— It’s likely the Bruins and Flyers will have nothing to play for.

Washington’s schedule:

source:

— Two home games, one “easy” (Montreal), the other (Florida) more winnable than Buffalo’s game versus the Penguins.

— The Caps’ “easy” road game (Tampa Bay) is tougher than the Sabres’ “easy” road game (Toronto)

— It’s likely the Rangers and Panthers will have nothing to play for.

Buffalo’s last 10 games:

7-1-2

Washington’s last 10 games:

5-3-2

SportsClubStats.com says:

— Buffalo has a 68.1% chance of making the playoffs

— Washington has a 37.1% chance of making the playoffs

Feel free to make predictions in the comments section. I’ll take the Sabres, so it’ll probably be the Caps.

  1. anotheryx - Mar 29, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    The winner gets the honor of getting destroyed in the first round. It is definitely an honor, but it still getting destroyed.

    • somekat - Mar 29, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      Yes, because “the king” isn’t known for post season collapses or anything

      • bcjim - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:11 PM

        LOL

      • ravenscaps48 - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        Aww. I like Henrik. His team’s just suck in front of him

    • jjcollins48 - Mar 29, 2012 at 5:32 PM

      i mean i wouldnt really wanna play a team that has lost about 5 games in the last 2 months. thats just me though

  2. crusty14 - Mar 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Buffalo has the inside track here, getting the leafs twice certainly helps their cause. Although both teams get games against “tougher” opponents who have nothing to play for, no team wants to go into the playoffs on a losing note, so those games may not be as easy as one thinks.

    The breaks they may get is to be facing a backup goalie.

  3. majbobby - Mar 29, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    With the way the Sabres are playing right now they will be a team that will be a tough playoff series. I know I would not want to play this Hot team right now even if I am a one seed.

  4. ballsohardu - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Sabres easily. Why? Ryan miller is hot. Look at his recors over the last 20 games

  5. bcjim - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    I am a very pessimistic Caps fan right now.

  6. dagnats - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    caps fan here…go sabres go! let the partial rebuild begin!

  7. ravenscaps48 - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Win tonight or dust of the golf bags

  8. raleik - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    I’m gonna go with the Sabres on this one. Miller has been hot lately, and their offense has picked it up. All around, they’re a pretty scary team to face right now. And, if I was the Rangers, I’d be pulling hard for the Caps to win. I could definitely see them getting upset in the first round going up against Buffalo.

  9. napoleonblownapart6887 - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    As a Pens fan, I don’t really want to see either of these teams make the playoffs.

    If the Caps were to get back Backstrom they could make some noise.

    And with Ryan Miller and the Sabres… he could carry that team a la 2010 olympics.

  10. jpelle82 - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    caps dont deserve to get in. sabres have sacked up and played their hearts out down the stretch. if the caps limp in we can just attribute it to them being a mediocre team playing in the weakest division in hockey. another one and done for the caps, i think the sabres have a shot at making noise

  11. epictron1 - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that these two teams would be battling for the LAST playoff spot….

    • govtminion - Mar 29, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      And that they’d both be behind OTTAWA!!!

  12. buffalomafia - Mar 29, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    After watching Buffalo vs Caps earlier in week. I say Buffalo! Where is the goaltending in Washington?

    • ravenscaps48 - Mar 29, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Goaltending is the smallest problem! Secondary Scoring and 1 Defenseman on our roster (Karl Alzner) THAT’S THE PROBLEM

  13. pens919209 - Mar 29, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    In situations like this (much like deciding who will win a playoff series), I always go with the team that has better goaltending. In this case, I’ll take the Sabres as the 8th seed.

  14. andyreidisfat - Mar 29, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Gotta take the sabers and I’ll take them to win their first series against the rangers as well

  15. rsl22 - Mar 29, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    I’m a well-documented Caps apologist: If Backstrom plays four games, Caps get in.

    After watching the Sabres the other night, I feel like Ryan Miller deserves some MVP votes. I haven’t seen a goalie play that solidly in a long time. He faced 45 shots, but was so damn calm. Really impressive.

  16. billsin20xx - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Don’t forget because of the stupid playoff seeding system you could have the Pen’s Flyers 4 and 5th seeded playing in the first round.
    Anyone think the Flyers might take a dive in some of these last games to get down to 6th seed?
    Advantage Sabres there.

  17. buffalomafia - Mar 29, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    I do believe teams lose on purpose to play easier team in playoffs!

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