For the first time this since since the Devils started 0-0-1, the team has reached an NHL .500 records at 32-32-4. Simply an amazing feat considering at one time they were 10-29-2 and trailed the Islanders by eight points for worst team in the league. The Devils now sit with their best chance of the year. They currently trail the Leafs and Thrashers by two points. The Leafs got hammered by the Lightning last night 6-2 and have now played two more games than the Devils. The Devils have 32 wins to the Leafs 30. Atlanta has 29 wins and one more game played than the Devils. Tonight, the Thrashers visit the Devils in Newark. If they lose, the Devils will jump to 10th in the standings while maintaining a game in hand on both the Leafs and Thrashers.
The next team in line is the Carolina Hurricanes. They currently sit in ninth place with 72 points and one more game played than the Devils. The Hurricanes face off against the Sabres tonight and Devil fans should be hoping the Sabres win. If Buffalo and the Devils both prevail, Kovy and the gang would be only two points behind the Canes with a game in hand for ninth place.
The ultimate target is eighth place and the New York Rangers. The Rangers currently sit in the final playoff spot with 76 points and two more games played than the Devils. The Rangers face off against the Islanders tonight and the Devils will maintain the two games in hand after this evening. This is an absolutely HUGE night for the Devils… .here’s the best scenario:
Devils defeat Thrashers in regulation
Islanders defeat Rangers in regulation
Sabres defeat Hurricanes in regulation
The Standings would then look like this:
Team GP W L OTL PTS GR
7. Buffalo Sabres 70 35 27 8 78 12
8. NY Rangers 71 36 31 4 76 11
9. Carolina Hurricanes 70 31 29 10 72 12
10. NJ DEVILS 69 33 32 4 70 13
11. Atlanta Thrashers 70 29 29 12 70 12
12. Toronto Mpl Leafs 70 30 30 10 70 12
If tonight goes very well, the Devils would be six points behind the Rangers with two games in hand and one more matchup against the Blueshirts at the Garden on the final Saturday of the season. That could potentially be a HUGE game. The Devils would also have a game in hand on everyone else.
The newest tie breaker for this season is regulation/overtime wins. Shootout wins will not help in a tiebreaker if it comes down to that. Right now in the regular season games played is the first tie breaker followed by wins. When the season is over, everyone will have the same amount of games played so the first criteria is non-shootout wins. Right now, the Devils and Sabres have 29 while the Rangers have 28, Carolina has 27, and Atlanta and Toronto both have 26. The tie breaker is favorable for the Devils at the moment.
I know this is all very confusing but it is worth keeping track of because with the season winding down the possibility of the Devils making the playoffs is growing each night.
Look for the keys to tonight’s matchup with the Thrashers from Jon later today.
Let’s go Devils!
Everyone here at Fan Sided has been pretty torn over the issue with Zdeno Chara’s hit against Max Pacioretty of the Habs. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and here’s mine:
The only person that knows what Chara was thinking and intending was Chara. Obviously the Habs and Pacioretty believe that Chara was acting maliciously and knew what he was doing and there is evidence to support both sides. I say the best course of action would have been to suspend Chara for a MAXIMUM of five games. A suspension like that tells Chara that maybe he didn’t mean to injure the player as much as he did, but his actions were reckless and a punishment is appropriate. It would also show other players in the NHL that the league will be taking notice and they should think twice about how they play the body in that area of the ice. I believe the NHL got it wrong.