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7th and 8th Down to the Wire

  • The New Jersey Devils became the latest team to clinch a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win over Carolina. That leaves only 7th and 8th spot unclaimed and the way things are going it could go right down to the last game.

    The Maple Leafs won’t die quietly and Mats Sundin managed a 4 goal outburst to keep their razor thin hopes alive. The Atlanta Thrashers embarassed Tampa Bay and exposed their weak defence and goaltending. They aren’t ready to hang them up either and are only 4 points back of 8th. 2 points for the Leafs and 2 points for the Thrashers. Chances the Leafs will advance high enough to make the playoffs are virtually nil. The Thrashers can pull within 2 points of Tampa Bay if they win their game in hand against the Capitals on Thursday which would really make it interesting.

    Last night saw Carolina losing to a lower seed, Tampa losing to a non playoff team (badly) and Ottawa giving up a goal in the last 20 seconds to the Bruins of all teams before barely beating them. The top seeds aren’t exactly hammering their way into the post season. Most of them seem to be limping in. Far different from the last playoff run which saw Tampa Bay tear up the end of the season before winning 4 rounds in the playoffs.

    The only team ‘tearing things up’ right now are the Habs. Wipe out the 1 goal loss to New Jersey and the Canadiens have 18 points out of a possible 20 over their last 10 games. The Canadiens rebounded from a loss with a win over the Conference leading Senators proving at least for the short term, this wasn’t a flukey or lucky streak.

    Tonight the Canadiens play in Buffalo where traditionally they don’t do very well. The Sabres are fighting for home ice in the playoffs and the Canadiens are still capable of reaching 6th spot. Both teams have something to play for and until the Canadiens are mathematically clinched every game is still extremely important.

    1 more win will almost gurantee the playoffs.

  1. #1 kazmojo says:
    April 12, 2006 at 11:52 am

    Speaking of tearing things up, those pesky Devils can’t lose, it seems.

  2. Yikes. That wasn’t exactly an inspriing effort tonight to say the least.

    This will sound ludicrous, but… are they doing this on purpose? Do they hope to strategically place eighth by losing the majority of their remaining games? Because their effort, of lack thereof, wasn’t at all that of the Habs I’ve been witnessing the past several weeks.

  3. as much as i’d prefer playing ottawa over carolina i still sure as hell hope that they would loose strategically. any team who does so deserves to loose (just like sweeden in the olympics…i don’t know if they lost purposevly but that the thought was there is already embarrising).

  4. #4 Gumper says:
    April 13, 2006 at 1:27 pm


  5. #5 Dimitri says:
    April 13, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    Gainey is not the type of coach to encourage the team to lose on
    purpose, especially if they still have not made the playoffs…
    I think it’s more a case of being over confident… Winning too
    many games does this to players….

    Last night was a reality check… Tonight they will play better..

  6. Is everyone forgetting Buffalo is a good team?

    The Canadiens were within a goal and then Sheldon Souray got embarassed like he does about evey 15 games. They lost to a better team. Tonight it’ll be Boston and probably another win.

  7. #7 Gumper says:
    April 13, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks for fixing my constant consonant. I thought the text box allowed for auto carriage return.

    Sure, Buffalo’s a good team which more often than not, show up when they play the Habs. They lost to a better team on that night, but not necessarily to a better team overall. I think the Canadiens are better than Buffalo on the best night. Buffalo maintained a pressure forecheck all night which usually put the opponet one step behind all night.
    This was really the first time I was totally disgusted with the Canadiens all year, including the mid season black hole called Cygnus-X Theodore. Frankly, the whole team, not just one or two players, but the whole team needed to be lined up and booted squarely in the ass! I hope Gainey and Carbo are watching tape because a few players need some behaviour modification in the form of a few loud words of advice. Higgins and Huet can’t carry the all the weight here!!

    Seacrest out…

    (f#ck, did i actually just say that?)

  8. I wasn’t suggesting intentional losing–as it’s not the way to go for a playoff-bound team this time of the year–but rather putting the thought out there. After all, Eddie Johnston made sure the Penguins lost with Lemieux in the following year’s draft. But of course that was different.

    I agree that Buffalo is a good team, but I also agree with Gumper that the Habs are a better team than they showed last night. I really felt that the team effort–that which we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks–was completely lacking. They won’t be able to afford many of those if they hope to advance even one round in the post-season. Consistency is necessity from this point on.

  9. All that said, Carolina has been playing .500 hockey as of late. They’ve been looking quite ‘beatable’.

  10. You’ve got the Montreal-Buffalo score reversed.

  11. #11 Ricky10 says:
    April 13, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    I actually made the 4 hour trek down the 401 into Buffalo last night to watch the game. Needless to say it was a dissapointing trip. The Sabres completely out played us for 2 periods. The second period Montreal did show some effoort and it looked like they were going to make a game of it. But then Briere made Souray look stupid early in the 3rd and boys went back in the tank. I agree Gainey and Carbo need to spark a fire under a few asses and looking at tonights Boston recap it looks like they did just that with Kovalev and Bulis. To bad they couldn’t bring this effort last night, it would have made the #140.00 and 3 hours of sleep worth it.

  12. #12 Gumper says:
    April 14, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    What a waste ‘o gas eh Ricky? You get full marks for your dedication to the cause, dude! I was at the Ottawa Game on the 6th in a private box with a bunch of Hab fans t’boot. 5-2 MTL,.. doesn’t get sweeter than that.

  13. I’m a habs fan from way back and will die a habs fan, no matter how bad they are. My disappointment now these days is how a great team has gone from will we make the finals, from wondering how many games they will need to win for the STANLEY CUP. The team has to many slackers on it. Mainly Kovolev, i’ve seen him do some things that Gretzky would marvel at, but he only playes part time if you ask me. Kovu has pasthis use also’ the only different lately is he’s not taking as many stupid penalties. And that missed check for boston 3rd goal was just that, if he had connected that player would of been in la la land and we’d all be talking about it for rest of season.

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