NHL playoff races: Sabres trending up, Kraken fading after hot start

The 2023 NHL trade deadline comes and goes on Friday (March 3), but the biggest names keep disappearing from the board. While these moves are taking place, some teams are picking up victories and solidifying their position on their way to the playoffs, while others are watching their playoff position slip away.

Want to keep an eye on the ever-changing picture of the postseason? Then you’re in luck with this post, which highlights every playoff race as we head into the last few weeks of the regular season. You can check out the standings for post-season scenarios that have already been determined – for example, the top three seeds in Metro and Atlantic are all locked – and for day-to-day movement up and down the table in both conferences. weaving machines.

(Editor’s Note: Some teams are mentioned more than once due to being in both divisional and wild card races. All standings have been updated prior to the February 27 games.)

Eastern Conference

Wild card racing

Islanders (69 points, 63 games played, .548 points): Bumpy but slightly upbeat 📈

The Islanders lost four out of five games last week, including only scoring two out of six points in three games against the Canucks, Canadiens and Senators. Maybe the only victory in this segment served as a sign. On Friday and Monday, the Islanders scored two wins over the Penguins.

Going back to February 17, the Isles have won four of their last six games and three of four. Not too bad after Mat Barzal’s nasty injury, but the schedule isn’t particularly forgiving. The Islanders will play six of their next nine games on the road, with a key stretch starting next Saturday: home against the Red Wings, away at the Sabers, away at the Penguins, and then home on March 11 against ” Capitals.” No team has played more than 63 GP Isles in the Eastern wild-card race, so they can’t miss a chance.

Penguins (69 points, 63GP, 0.548%): A terrible fall, then hope for the weekend. 📉

This post paints a picture of the Penguins’ conundrum: whatever happens on their path to or from the playoffs, this season probably won’t end well for Pittsburgh. This is especially true as the Eastern Juggernauts only bolstered their armor after Timo Meyer moved to the Devils and the Bruins bulked up with Dmitri Orlov. But responding to four straight losses with back-to-back wins over the weekend is seen as a positive sign for the Penguins’ playoff hopes. They’re in for a tough three-game ride (Predators, Lightning, Panthers) and they probably need to win their next game against the Islanders on March 9th. Do you think they curse the scheduling gods for getting them ready for three games in quick succession (March 12, 16 and 18) against a Rangers team revving up for the trade deadline? For all we know, this quirk of planning could doom them.

Sabres (66 points, 58 GP, 0.556%): Up, up, up, but not in a playoff position right now. 📈

Many times, games on the bench are the league table’s answer to the vague promise of a first-round pick or a prospect with tantalizing potential. You can tell yourself that your favorite team will win all these games. In most cases, these dreams are unfounded.

The Buffalo Sabers quickly became one of the best young teams in the NHL.  (Getty)
The Buffalo Sabers quickly became one of the best young teams in the NHL. (Getty)

Let this already dreamy version of the Sabres win three games in a row, all against opponents vying for or already in the playoffs: the Lightning, Panthers and Capitals. Moreover, Buffalo beat Washington and Florida in regulation. With five out of the next seven games at home, the Sabres could solidify their position (note that their point percentage is higher than the two current Eastern Championship teams above).

Red Wings (64 points, 58 Grand Prix, 0.552%): Up a lot. Not as many as Buffalo, but plenty. 📈

On February 7, the Red Wings fell to a mediocre 21-20-8 record after losing 5-2 to the Oilers. Instead of giving up, they have gone on a five-game winning streak and have won seven of their last nine games. They beat the Capitals on the first roster and their two losses were to two playoff teams in the Kraken and the Rangers (playoff teams that don’t pose a threat in wildcard races).

Are the Red Wings really good enough to stick around? Maybe it comes down to getting the job done. Although they play five of their next seven games on the road, three of their next four games are against teams they “should” beat (two games against the Senators) and one test game to prove they really are playing the game. playoffs. material (March 4 showdown on the road against the islanders).

Panthers (64 points, 61GP, 0.525%): Down but not out? The clock is ticking. 📉

When you break down teams based on those base stats that best indicate future success or impending disappointment, the Panthers are ranked far better than any team in the wild card race in the East. Although not perfect, the combination of a monstrous attack and a passable defense of the Panthers must work at least before nitpicking the best of the best.

But we’ve been talking about it all season long and the Panthers are losing big games – often in regulation time. In truth, they need to count on a long stretch of home games. Starting March 2, the Panthers have played seven games at home and also play nine of 11 in Florida. These Cats keep sleeping at key moments, but this time for real: they need to do it.

Capitals (64 points, 62GP, 0.516%): Selling with distant dreams of a miracle. 📉

From time to time the team sells at the trade deadline, but still makes a modest noise during the playoffs. Perhaps this is the way forward for a Capitals team that doesn’t want to be completely eliminated as Alex Ovechkin races to beat Wayne Gretzky’s record. After six losses in a row and seven out of eight in the main, their hopes are weak enough to classify them as losers.

Senators (60 points, 58GP, 0.517%): Clinging to weak hopes/potentially deceiving oneself. 🟰

At 8-3-1, one could squint and believe that Ottawa had a chance. Starting with two upcoming home games against the Red Wings, they could play their most likely role as spoilers. Ottawa, with a slightly better scoring percentage than Washington, condemns the Capitals more than anything else.

Western conference

Race for first place in the Central Division

Stars (74 points, 59 GP, 0.627%): Leakage of some of its advantage, but not a collapse completely. 🟰

Before delving into this, I expected to feel more confident about the Stars; now I feel mixed. On the other hand, they have rarely lost in regular matches lately, which is evidence of three wins in the last 11 games (3-3-5). It’s not an inspiring run, especially with a busy home schedule (9 out of 11 in Dallas). This run leaves the Stars vulnerable to losing Central if the Avalanche wakes up, but at least their playoff hopes look solid enough. (In an ideal world, they would use this as motivation to be buyers on time, but these days it’s more like the Eastern Conference.)

Wild (72 points, 60 GP, 0.600%): It may not be the title material for the division, but it is above WC fights. 📈

The chatter around Wild hasn’t always been positive lately. Perhaps this is the result of people just wanting the team to get the most out of such an outstanding talent as Kirill Kaprizov. However, just look at the immediate situation and the Scavs do what they need to. After a tough month (from mid-January to mid-February), Minnesota scored points in eight of nine games (6-1-2). It’s the sort of stretch of sand that can at least keep your head above water for a playoff berth.

Avalanche (71 points, 57 GP, 0.623%): Looks very similar to the Avalanche we keep looking forward to. 📈

As the reigning champions struggle more than expected, people get hit for a good reason: injuries. It’s actually interesting how often this franchise has run into injury issues during its ascent. In previous years, they simply coped better with these problems. Perhaps it makes sense then that the understaffed Avs team is heating up. They have won five games in a row, are scoring straight out of seven games (6-0-1) and have suffered only one loss under the rules since January 28. Expect the Avalanche to stay strong in six of their next seven games in Colorado. .

Jets (71 points, 60 GP, 0.592%): Struggling to the point that their longer entry is in the West’s wildcard section in this piece, but their position is close enough to Wild’s to be mentioned here.

No. 1 seed in the Pacific Division

Golden Knights: (76 points, 59 GP, 0.644%): Mostly uptrend. 📈

After a tough January, the Golden Knights could end February with at least a point in every game (6-0-2). The biggest obstacles lie on the difficult section of the road, which is soon to come. Starting March 7, the Golden Knights will be on a five-game trip, eight of 10 away and 11 of 15 away. If that doesn’t knock them off the throne, then these Knights are indeed Golden.

Kings (74 points, 61 GP, 0.607%): The last one stumbles but holds on there….

Source: sports.yahoo.com

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