In the final week of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season, let’s take a look at how the top ten teams in the league stack up heading into the final two or three games of the season.
10. Nashville Predators:
Coming off a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Predators are now in second place in the Central Division losing the tiebreaker with Winnipeg for first place.
Going 6-3-1 in their last ten games, Nashville is starting to show signs they are ready for a playoff run.
Nashville will take on the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow at 8:00 PM ET as they look to steal the Central Division from the Jets in the last two games.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins:
Dropping a few spots this week are the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pittsburgh is coming off a frustrating 4-1 loss to Detroit, which was a chance for the Penguins to clinch a playoff spot.
The Penguins are currently third in the Metropolitan Division with 97 points, and have the fifth best power play in the league.
Pittsburgh will look to avenge their loss to Detroit as they host the Red Wings tomorrow at 7:00 PM ET.
8. New York Islanders:
For the first time since 2016 the New York Islanders are heading to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Currently in second in the Metropolitan Division, the Islanders are 5-5-0 in their last ten games.
As solid as this team plays defensively with the least goals against the league, the Islanders have to be concerned with their struggles against other contenders.
New York will travel to take on the Florida Panthers tomorrow night at 7:00 PM ET.
7. Montreal Canadiens:
Currently losing the tiebreaker with Columbus for the second Wild Card spot, the Montreal Canadiens went 2-1 since last week, including a 3-1 win over Winnipeg, and an impressive 4-2 win over Tampa Bay.
Desperately in the hunt of their first playoff appearance since 2017, the Canadiens are 6-3-1 in their last ten games.
Montreal does however have the worst power play in the league with a success rate of 12.5 percent.
The Canadiens will look to sneak into the second Wild Card spot in their last two games as they take on the Capitals tomorrow at 7:00 PM ET, and the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday at 7:00 PM ET.
6. Carolina Hurricanes:
The Carolina Hurricanes are not a team to take lightly, especially as a Wild Card.
Going 6-4-0 in their last ten games, the Hurricanes are now in the first Wild Card spot with 95 points, just one point ahead of Montreal, and Columbus, and two points behind Pittsburgh.
With the Penguins not playing the most consistent, and their last two games being against non-playoff teams (Devils and Flyers), do not be surprised if Carolina sneaks into the third spot in the Metropolitan, forcing Pittsburgh to be a Wild Card team.
Carolina is coming off a 4-1 win over Toronto, and will take on the New Jersey Devils tomorrow at 7:00 PM ET.
5. St. Louis Blues:
The Blues are now just two points behind both Nashville, and Winnipeg with three games remaining.
Going 7-2-1 in their last ten, St. Louis is currently sitting on back to back wins.
Certainly helping them is the fact that the Blues face the fourth fewest shots against per game in the league, and rookie Goalie Jordan Binnington’s exceptional play thus far.
St. Louis will look to spoil whoever they can between the Jets, and Predators as they close out the season with games against Chicago, Philadelphia, and Vancouver; all non-playoff teams.
4. Washington Capitals:
The Washington Capitals lead the Metropolitan Division with 99 points, just two points ahead of the Islanders, and four points ahead of Pittsburgh.
Going 6-3-1 in their last ten games, the Capitals are coming off a 5-3 loss to Florida, however this was the last game of a three game road trip which included wins over Carolina, and Tampa Bay.
With Ovechkin leading the league with 51 goals, and Washington having the tenth best power play, the Capitals are ready to start their march for a repeat Stanley Cup Championship.
3. Boston Bruins:
Coming off an impressive 6-2 away win that snapped Columbus’ five game winning streak, the Boston Bruins are currently in second place in the Atlantic Division with 105 points, and a first round match up against Toronto officially set.
The Bruins have the third best goal differential of plus-44, and third best power play with a success rate of 26.3 percent.
With a dominant home record of 29-8-3, Boston has to feel good about solidifying home ice against the Maple Leafs.
The Bruins will close out the season with games against Minnesota tomorrow at 8:00 PM ET, and Tampa Bay in a Saturday matinee in Boston at 1:00 PM ET.
2. Calgary Flames:
Going 7-3-0 in their last ten games, the Flames have clinched the Western Conference and now have 107 points, along with the second best goal differential of plus-66.
Calgary has also won three games in a row, a 6-1 win over Anaheim, a 5-3 win over San Jose, and a 7-2 win over Los Angeles.
So pretty much in the past week or so Calgary is not only beating teams they should be, but also by the right amount of goals; it would be call for concern if the first seed in the West were being dragged to overtime or even a shootout against the Ducks and Kings.
The Flames will close out the season with a game tonight against Anaheim at 10:30 PM ET, and a game Saturday at 10:00 PM ET against Edmonton.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning:
The Tampa Bay Lightning can still tie the 1995 Detroit Red Wings for most wins in a season with 62 if they win their last two games against Toronto and Boston, which are both away.
Tampa Bay has a home record of 32-7-2, an away record of 28-9-2, and have gone 7-3-0 in their last ten games despite suffering losses to Washington, and Montreal.
The Lightning have the best goal differential in the league of plus-98, and the best power play with a success rate of 28.2 percent.
Heading into the playoffs as the clear front runner, and Presidents’ Trophy winner, anything less than a Stanley Cup in this historic season will be seen as a disappointment.
Photo Source: http://www.NHL.com
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