As much as it hurts me to say it, I believe that the New York Rangers will comfortably make the playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Playoff Race: Tonight in the Eastern Conference

 

The Boston Bruins are playing more than just hockey, and I think they’ll take the two seed into the 2013 playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the New Jersey Devils are now officially out of playoff contention, we will continue to look at the Eastern Conference NHL playoff race. Here’s the up to the minute information you need to know before tonight’s five games across the league.

Up To and Including Games Played on Sunday April 21

Clinched: Pittsburgh Penguins (Clinched Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference); Boston Bruins (Clinched Playoff Spot); Montreal Canadiens (Clinched Playoff Spot); Toronto Maple Leafs (Clinched Playoff Spot)

Locks: None

For Now: Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers

Chasing: Winnipeg Jets (Both for 8th Spot and Southeast Division Title)

Golf Time (Eliminated): New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers

 

Analysis: The Southeast Division appears that it will go to the Washington Capitals, and thus the Caps will get the three seed.  The Northeast Division title is still up for grabs also. The Bruins or Canadiens will most likely win the division, and I believe that Boston will pull through. The New York Islanders are probably in with one win in their final three games. The Ottawa Senators are also probably in, but their rescheduled game in Boston this weekend will be huge. The New York Rangers are also probably in. Sorry Winnipeg, that leaves you out. Overall, I don’t think the top 8 teams will change. However, I do think that the order will.

Prediction:

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

2. Boston Bruins

3. Washington Capitals

4. Montreal Canadiens

5. Toronto Maple Leafs

6. New York Islanders

7. New York Rangers

8. Ottawa Senators

Tonight’s Relevant Games

Winnipeg at Buffalo 7:00

Pittsburgh at Ottawa 7:30

 

With only a few games left, the Eastern Conference playoff race is heating up. There is a great week of hockey ahead of us!

Tags: Contention Eastern Conference NHL Playoff Race Playoffs

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