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In this edition of the hotstove, we discuss which team(s) will find themselves on the outside of the Eastern Conference Wild Card picture looking in when the season concludes.
Carolina and Pittsburgh are not completely out of the woods but they seem like pretty good bets to get in. I think the final spot is going to come down to Columbus and Montreal (sorry Philadelphia), and the latter is going to end up just missing out.
Though the Blue Jackets haven't exactly taken the league by storm since their deadline spending spree, I think they are a good team and have too much talent not to figure things out. They also have a more favorable remaining schedule, with five games against bottom-10 teams to come.
The Canadiens only face three more bottom-10 teams, and end the season with a scary five-game stretch @ Columbus, @ Winnipeg, vs Tampa Bay, @ Washington, and vs Toronto. They have been a pleasant surprise this season but I think that'll prove too much to overcome.
I think it's going to be Columbus on the outside looking in. Call it gut feel, call it intuition or something else but they seem to be the odd one out of the three.
The Blue Jackets season has been moments of brilliance accompanied by periods of ineptitude oh and that is kind of like the Canadiens too but different. I think the Habs will settle themselves, have a more balanced roster and dependability based on some stability within it rather than the hail Mary moves the Blue Jackets made.
The two teams are basically identical in records and options and 5-5-0 in their last 10 with 13 games each left to play. It's the one team that can get 16 out of the available 26 points if the other plays to season average of 15 points in those game. I bet on Montreal.
I think that the Canadiens are in trouble, The Hurricanes are one of the best overall teams in the NHL, and the Blue Jackets have one of the best rosters. The fact is, the Canadiens have played above their head all year and were not expected to make the playoffs. As a Leafs fan, and a staunch anti-Domi advocate, I'll be cheering against them, and they've got the weakest team out of the three, so it's not a good situation for them. It'd be one thing to face long odds, but to do so knowing I am against them? Good luck with that! Lucky for them, however, is the fact that the best team doesn't always win, and the Habs have Carey Price, which should help equalize things.
Which rules would you like to see changed?
Best team in the Metro Division?
Best team in the Central Division?
Best team in the Pacific Division?
Thoughts on the Predators/Wild trade?
Thoughts on the Mark Stone trade?
Thoughts on the Sabres/Ducks trade?
Thoughts on the Matt Duchene trade?
Thoughts on the Bruins/Wild trade?