Nights with .500 or better records: 5
Nights with more wrong than right: 1
Tonight's Projected Points
EDM 2 vs NJ 0
TOR 1 vs CHI 2
VAN 1 vs NYR 2
How many times have you heard..."They better get playing better hockey soon, because you can't expect a team to just flip a switch come playoff time?"
And yet...sometimes you can.
Last night, the Washington Capitals were greeted by a familiar ghost around these parts...The Pittsburgh Penguins...a team known for lackluster seasons, but then "Flipped a Switch" come clutch time.
Those same Capitals, a few nights ago, knocked off the white hot Bruins a few days after dominating the Flyers...a team who has the best record in the NHL over the past 50 days.
Anyone who has seen the Caps play over these past few weeks will tell you...The Caps have "Flipped on a Switch." The Cup Champs are back and maybe even scarier than they were last season.. This is a new thing for a Caps team who, prior to last year, had been known to play very strong regular seasons and then not find the extra gear come playoff team.
Another team comes to mind... The San Jose Sharks...
The Sharks this season have looked very good, but lately they have looked absolutely dominant. They too have "flipped a switch" down the stretch. Last night's win in Winnipeg was a veteran win, by a veteran team...a team able to focus and find a gear when the pressure is on..
Other teams who have shown this ability...The Nashville Predators and of course previously, the Chicago Blackhawks...and last year, to everyone's surprise...Vegas.
Essentially whenever you hear someone say, "Yeh, but nobody wants to play them in the playoffs," you are talking about a team that has shown the ability to "Flip a switch."
Then we have teams who lately haven't found that extra gear....The Blues, The Wild, The Ducks...even Tampa and Boston to an extent lately.
Teams who have had better regular season but bad playoff disappointments...
Hockey can be amazingly awful sometimes.
The Lightning are as dominant this regular season as any team in our lifetime...and yet we all know a few bad bounces in the playoffs and this amazing season will be nothing more than a bad footnote...and the players and coaches are well aware of this...It makes for some intense moments and the "fear of choking" can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And it works the other way too.
When you think of the amazing Nashville playoff run of two years ago how many out there recall they sneaked into those playoffs as an eight seed before sweeping the 1 seed, Chicago and going on their run?
It is what makes hockey incredible in so many ways... the 1980 USA Miracle on Ice Team gets crushed 9-2 by Russia in MSG a few weeks before they defeat the CCCP on the way to Gold just up the NY Thruway...
So what say you? What teams do you feel can (or can not) "flip the switch."
New Projected Standings...
Changes in the East...
The Canadiens' big win last night lands them back in the playoffs in the Final Standings but the race is crazy tight with projected point totals Montreal, Carolina and Philly all at 98...and Columbus at 97. There is only room for two of the four teams, with Montreal and Carolina currently projected to get in over Philly based on ROW....
Changes in the West...
Vegas is now projected just on the outside looking in based on ROW in a three-way tie with 94 points with Dallas and Minnesota....who will get the wildcards...