Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/13/14 at 01:46 PM ET
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
As of today, we’re officially down to one month left in the NHL regular season. And that means it’s time to start figuring out the postseason picture, with our annual look at the playoff bubble.
Most teams have about 15 to 17 games left, so it’s a little early to definitively declare anybody in or out — nobody has actually mathematically clinched anything. But I think we can all agree that a few teams are locks. The Ducks, Blues, Hawks, Sharks, Kings, Bruins, Avalanche, and Pens are in.
The Oilers, Flames, Sabres, Islanders, Predators, Panthers, and Hurricanes are done. Everyone’s on board with that, right?
That still leaves 15 teams, which seems ridiculously excessive for a so-called bubble.... In that spirit, let’s take a look at each of the 15 teams fighting for the eight remaining spots.
Group 1: Should Feel Pretty Safe
New York Rangers
Current status: IN (35-27-4, 74 points, three points up for wild-card spot or Metro berth) Remaining schedule: The Rangers play 10 of 16 on the road, including five of the next six, but their record away from MSG is actually better than it is at home. In terms of opponents, they have one of the easier schedules of any bubble team; they’ll have 12 games against teams that are currently below them in the standings. The optimist’s view: They have an easy schedule, they’re relatively hot, they’re just about completely healthy, and they just added a reigning Art Ross winner with a chip on his shoulder. The pessimist’s view:
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