As you can tell, not a lot has changed since my predictions from last week. The only thing that has changed is that Buffalo and New York have traded places in the first round. As far as the winners for each series, they still remain the same.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next week. Will Carolina catch New York, Buffalo, or even Montreal? Will Calgary or Dallas catch Chicago or Anaheim? It will be a blast to see if anyone can come from behind and grab the 8th and final playoff spot in each conference. Do I think anyone will do it? While Carolina has been hot as of late, going 7-2-1 in their last ten games, Buffalo and New York have been equally as hot. I think it’s too late for the Canes. Each of the three teams have a rough three games remaining. Carolina(vs. Detroit, @ Atlanta, vs. Tampa), New York(vs. Boston, vs. Atlanta, vs. Jersey), and Buffalo(vs. Tampa, vs. Philly, @ Columbus) are all on edge at this point. With New York having all home games remaining, and Buffalo hosting Tampa and Philly, I just think time has run out for Carolina. Am I right? Who knows, but we’ll soon find out.
As far as the Western conference, Calgary is done in my opinion. Yes, they’re only one point behind Chicago, but they’ve also played two more games that the Hawks. That’s a possible four points Chicago can gain over the Flames. Calgary has just fallen, much like the Thrashers in the second part of this season. Just when they realize it’s time to pick up the pace and start winning games, it’s too late. The only team that realistically has a chance at moving into the 8th spot is Dallas. It just doesn’t seem likely, though. They currently sit three points behind Chicago, both having played 78 games. If their recent play had been a bit better, I may have given them some slack, but it just hasn’t been there. Going 2-5-3 in your last ten isn’t going to cut it in your run to making the postseason.
Overall, I think the teams that are in the top eight seeds in each conference will remain the same. Vancouver is still the favorite in my eyes to take the cup home, but my views just may change next week once we have the official bracket in place for the 2010-2011 Stanley Cup playoffs.