Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/25/12 at 03:53 PM ET
Scott Burnside and Craig Custance predict who will win the Central Division and which team will miss the cut in the East.
Burnside: With the Jets losing yet again, this time to the Rangers, there’s been some separation at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket. The Lightning won their fourth in a row but are still nine points out. Sorry, that’s too much given how porous they’ve been defensively and in goal.
So, in my mind, that leaves the Leafs, Florida, New Jersey and Ottawa to battle for the final three spots. I just think the Caps will gradually assert themselves and maintain the Southeast Division lead that they now own, even if it is on winning percentage at the break.
The Senators have lost three in a row as the offense has gone dry and they have played four more games than Florida and New Jersey and three more than the Leafs, so their five-point bulge in the standings is a bit misleading….
I still think the Leafs finish outside the bubble and the top eight remain as they are now. Anyone else you see making a run in the east post-All Star?
Custance: I disagree. I think Toronto gets in. I like what I saw from the Leafs in beating an Islanders team that was playing pretty well going into those two games. A fluky Islanders goal sent that game into overtime, and I loved Toronto’s response as did their general manager…..
more at ESPN…
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