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George Zoran
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55 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2006 :  10:30:39  Show Profile
With less than twenty games remaining on the schedule, there is a battle for a playoff berth in both conferences. In the East, barring a sudden slump, seven of the eight playoff spots are pretty well locked up. Five teams are a lock to make the postseason: Ottawa, Carolina and New York who will all win their respective divisions, along with Buffalo and Philadelphia. New Jersey and Tampa should make it as they are six points up on ninth place Atlanta. The battle for eighth spot is between Montreal who currently holds the final spot, Atlanta who is one point back, and Toronto three back of Montreal.

The Canadiens have one game in hand on both the Thrashers and Leafs and will need it the way the have been playing lately. The back-to-back home games against Toronto on March 23rd and 26th could very well dictate whether or not one of these teams makes it. My money is on Toronto to fall out of this race and Atlanta to squeak in past Montreal during the last week of the season.

The race in the West involves a many more teams chasing the final few playoff spots. Unlike the East, there are only four teams that are a lock to make the playoffs: Detroit, Dallas, Calgary, and Nashville. After that, itís undetermined. Amazingly, only four points separate 5th place Colorado and 10th place San Jose; the Sharks and the eighth place Ducks have 2-3 games in hand on the others that are fighting for the four spots: Canucks, Oilers, Kings, and the Avalanche. This is a tough one to predict, and may come down to scheduling. With the Canucks and the Oilers going head-to-head three times this week, whichever team takes this season series should have the momentum to carry into the post season. I am predicting that Colorado, Edmonton, LA, and San Jose will make up the final four spots in the West.

This is going to be a fight to the finish.

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1746 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2006 :  22:51:57  Show Profile
Georgie, Your edmonton prediction is not looking too good buddy. They lost 2 to the Canucks this week with one more showdown on Saturday.
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