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From the outside looking in: That's the story for the Devils right now. Their play needs to improve if they want to have any chance at making the playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight Around the NHL: The Eastern Conference Playoff Race

I don’t think anyone wants to talk about last night’s game against the Bruins, but I must say something. I have never seen a team get four power plays in the first nine minutes of a game, including two 5 on 3’s, and trail 3-0 with 11:00 to go in the first period. And on top of that, the Devils out shot the Bruins in those first nine minutes and in the game as a whole. Classic Devils. But I’ll stop there. The New Jersey Devils need to move forward.


The Ottawa Senators are struggling as of late and are now in danger of missing the playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the Devils off today and preparing for tomorrow’s contest against the Ottawa Senators, here is what the playoff race looks like currently and tonight’s games elsewhere in the NHL that will affect the Devils.

Eastern Conference Playoff Race

I now consider the Toronto Maple Leafs a lock for the playoffs. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Locks: Pittsburgh, Boston, Montreal, Toronto

In Position: *Washington (Southeast Division), Ottawa, New York Islanders, New York Rangers

Close By:  *Winnipeg (Southeast Division), New Jersey

Outside Chance: Buffalo and Philadelphia (one game at hand on most teams)

Golf Time: Tampa Bay, Carolina, Florida

Although they are third in the Eastern Conference and first in the Southeast Division, the Washington Capitals are not a lock for the playoffs by any means. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

*The Washington Capitals (44 points), the Southeast Division leader, are automatically 3rd in the Conference, but the Winnipeg Jets (9th in the Conference) are only two points behind them. Therefore, the Capitals are not a lock by any means.

The “Race” Standings

6. Ottawa Senators          PTS: 44    GP: 39    ROW: 15

7. New York Islanders    PTS: 44    GP: 40    ROW: 17

8. New York Rangers      PTS: 44    GP: 40    ROW: 16

9. Winnipeg Jets              PTS: 42    GP: 41     ROW: 19

10. New Jersey Devils     PTS: 40    GP: 40    ROW: 13


Click here for more complete standings.


Tonight’s Games

Capitals: vs. Carolina 7:00

The New York Islanders have been on fire lately and currently find themselves in the playoff picture.

Senators:  @ Philadelphia 7:00

Islanders: @ Boston 7:00

Rangers: IDLE

Jets:  vs. Florida 8:00

Devils: IDLE


What the Devils would Love:

-Caps/Canes: The least significant game to the Devils probably. They would be thrilled with a Carolina regulation victory though.

-Sens/PHI: First, the Devils want only a two point game. Second, they would prefer a Flyers win. However, this would put the Flyers a little closer to the 8th spot.

-Isles/BOS: No doubt, they want a Bruins regulation victory.

-Jets/FLA: Similarly, New Jersey would love a Panthers regulation victory.


That is all for today, but one last thing. This all means nothing if the Devils do not get any points themselves. Remember, they are currently win-less in their last eight games.

Stay tuned for similar articles as the push for the playoffs continues to heat up down the stretch.

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Tags: Eastern Conference New Jersey Devils NHL Playoff Race Playoffs

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