With 14 days left in the regular season, the playoff races are intensified. We’ve had five teams clinch so far and a few more are looking to clinch in the coming days. But for some teams sitting on the bubble, these two weeks are essentially playoff games.
There are eleven teams battling for six spots between the two conferences.
Team: Florida Panthers
Record: 36-24-15, 87 points, 31 ROW, 3rd
Games remaining: 7: 2 home, 5 away, 2 current playoff, 5 non
@Mtl, @Min, @Cbj, @Det, vs Win, @Wsh, vs Crl
Outlook: Florida has been the Southeast Division leader for most of the season, despite many expecting them to fall back to earth. They’ve hung onto their lead and can put it away with some games against weaker opponents. They need to get out of this current funk they are in, losers of their last three, to hold off Washington and Buffalo.
Team: Ottawa Senators
Record: 38-28-10, 86 points, 33 ROW, 7th
Games remaining: 6: 2 home, 4 away, 3 current playoff, 3 non
@Win, @Phi, @NYI, vs Crl, vs Bos, @NJ
Outlook: Out of the Eastern bubble teams, Ottawa scores the most (2.96 gpg). They are also still fighting for sixth place, four points behind New Jersey. They’re only five points behind Boston for the division lead and #2 seed as well, so they’ll be playing with a purpose into April.
Team: Washington Capitals
Record: 38-30-8, 84 points, 36 ROW, 8th
Games remaining: 6: 3 home, 3 away, 2 current playoff, 4 non
vs Buf, @Bos, vs Mtl, @TB, vs Fla, @NYR
Outlook: Alex Ovechkin seems to have gotten hot at the right time, scoring 9 goals in his last seven games. Unfortunately for the Caps, they’ve only won three of those games (3-2-2). Goaltender Braden Holtby seems to have earned the starting job, playing in three of the Caps’ last four games.
Team: Buffalo Sabres
Record: 37-29-10, 84 points, 30 ROW, 9th
Games remaining: 6: 2 home, 4 away, 4 current playoff, 2 non
@Wsh, vs Pit, @Tor, vs Tor, @Phi, @Bos
Outlook: Buffalo is playing the best of the teams on the Eastern Conference bubble (7-1-2 last 10), but their final stretch is the most difficult of the Eastern bubble teams. A huge game with Washington will give one team an edge temporarily. Buffalo also needs to finish with more points than Washington because of the ROW tiebreaker.
Team: Winnipeg Jets
Record: 35-32-8, 78 points, 31 ROW, 10th
Games remaining: 7: 3 home, 4 away, 2 current playoff, 5 non
vs Ott, vs NYR, @Crl, @TB, @Fla, @NYI, vs TB
Outlook: The magic run for the Jets is running out. They’re sitting six points behind Washington and Buffalo with seven games to play. They haven’t played well on the road (12-21-4), which is where four of their final games will take place. Home games against the Senators and Rangers are no slam dunk either.
Team: Dallas Stars
Record: 41-29-5, 87 points, 34 ROW, 3rd
Games remaining: 7: 2 home, 5 away, 3 current playoff, 4 non
@Cgy, @Edm, @Van, @SJ, vs SJ, @Nsh, vs Stl
Outlook: Dallas has been a surprise team all season. They aren’t in the top 10 in any team statistical category, which leads some to wonder if they’ll be able to hold off the pack for a playoff spot. The home and home with the Sharks will probably be a huge deciding factor in who makes the playoffs, but those Pesky Stars should get the job done.
Team: Phoenix Coyotes
Record: 37-27-13, 87 points, 31 ROW, 7th
Games remaining: 5: 3 home, 2 away, 1 current playoff, 4 non
vs SJ, vs Ana, vs Cbj, @Stl, @Min
Outlook: Out of all of the Western bubble teams, Phoenix has the easiest road. Three teams who are out of the playoff race, an inconsistent Sharks team and a St. Louis team who may be resting their players at that point.
Team: Los Angles Kings
Record: 37-26-12, 86 points, 31 ROW, 8th
Games remaining: 7: 2 home, 5 away, 1 current playoff, 6 non
@Van, @Cgy, @Edm, @Min, vs Edm, vs SJ, @SJ
Outlook: The Kings are the second best team in defense, only allowing 2.09 goals per game. Unfortunately for them, they are the second worst team in scoring (2.25). New acquisition Jeff Carter has helped the club’s offense, scoring 6 goals in his 14 games as a King.
Team: San Jose Sharks
Record: 38-27-10, 86 points, 30 ROW, 9th
Games remaining: 7: 2 home, 5 away, 5 current playoff, 2 non
vs Col, @Ana, @Phx, vs Dal, @Dal, @LA, vs LA
Outlook: The Sharks are the most maddening team in the league for their fans. They beat Nashville and Detroit, and then allow five goals in losses to Los Angeles and Anaheim. Poor Penalty Killing has been a huge problem all year (78.4%) and ultimately has contributed to their bubble status.
Team: Colorado Avalanche
Record: 40-31-6, 86 points, 31 ROW, 10th
Games remaining: 5: 2 home, 3 away, 2 current playoff, 3 non
@SJ, @Van, @Cgy, vs Cbj, vs Nsh
Outlook: Colorado has played well of late (6-2-2), but their biggest problem is they’ve played more games than everyone else. When you’re a team, trying to catch teams, maximum points (10) will force them to get help from other teams, even if they win most of their remaining games.
Team: Calgary Flames
Record: 34-27-15, 83 points, 31 ROW, 11th
Games remaining: 6: 5 home, 1 away, 4 current playoff, 2 non
vs Dal, vs LA, vs Col, @Van, vs Van, vs Ana
Outlook: Calgary’s barely hanging on. The good part of their schedule is that they play a couple teams at home that they are competing with for the last couple spots. The playoffs have already started for the Flames and any missed points will put them closer to the offseason.
East: Florida, Ottawa, Washington
West: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas