NEW YORK, NY – We’re getting down to it. Its the penultimate weekend of the NHL regular season and there are still a few things to play for. Locally, the New York Hockey Rangers clinched their playoff berth earlier this week. It was a rough West Coast swing for the Blueshirts. After missing eight games through injury, Henrik Lundqvist came back and gave up five goals two games in a row. Hopefully he sorts it out by next weekend. The Rangers play the Penguins tonight at MSG. The Rangers haven’t been great on home ice this season. They’ll have to sort out their home form in the playoffs. It may be a good thing that they won’t have home ice advantage in any round of the playoffs.
It’s looking like the Broadway Blues are going to play the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs, but the Senators still have a shot at catching Les Habitants. At the time of writing, the Sens trail Les Habs by four points and have a game in hand. It should be an interesting ten days in the Atlantic Division.
The Metropolitan division should be just as fun. The Capitals are back to winning ways after rattling off six in a row. But the Blue Jackets are lurking and trail the Caps by just five points with a game in hand. The teams face off Sunday afternoon in what should be a peach of a game that could swing the race for the President’s Trophy in the favor of the Caps, Jackets or even the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Hawks have played some stellar hockey these last two months to pull away from Angry Ward’s Minnesota Wild at the top of the Central Division. The Blues and Predators are in a battle for the third spot in the Central. They’re also jockeying for position with the Calgary Flames for the Wild Card spots in the Western Conference. The Flames have a tough road ahead. They play the Pacific-leading Ducks twice and the second-place Sharks once. The Blues and Preds play each other Sunday. After that both teams have easy-ish run-ins to the end of the season.
The Pacific Division is still wide open. The Ducks, Sharks, and Oilers are all within two points of each other. With six games to go over ten days, the division crown could go anywhere. The one thing we know for sure is that the Kings will not be wearing that crown. Los Angeles will be watching this year’s playoffs along with the Detroit Red Wings. The two perennial playoff teams and Stanley Cup contenders will not be at the dance this year.
It’s the end of an era for the Red Wings, who have made the playoffs every season since George HW Bush was in office. They won four Stanley Cups during that stretch and have been a thorn in the side for a lot of teams. But all good things must come to an end. The playoff streak and the Joe Louis Arena will go the way of disco next weekend.
That’s all! Please fire your pucks below and check us out on Twitter @MeetTheMatts & @Different_Matt, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts. And back tomorrow for Junoir Blaber or Grinding Ax Walter Hynes or some other lucky SOB.