Daily Standings Update Now! And....
5. Montréal - 77 pts, 16 GR
6. Carolina - 77 pts, 14 GR
7. Florida - 76 pts, 16 GR
8. Pittsburgh - 76 pts, 15 GR
9. NEW YORK RANGERS - 76 pts, 15 GR
10. Buffalo - 73 pts, 16 GR
Tight damn group. Tonight, the Sabres are in Philly, the Oilers are in Montréal, and the Panthers are in Pittsburgh.
Sabres - Flyers: While it's tempting to consider 4th place currently attainable (with Philadelphia at 80 points), the Flyers still have 18 games remaining, which, if you count them as wins, put them a full 10 points ahead of us with 15 games to go. The Sabres, meanwhile, are approaching dangerously close to dropping too far from this 6-team race to be considered contenders. If the Sabres win tonight, they're only 1 point behind us, and the Flyers are still effectively out of reach. If the Flyers win, they're slightly more out of reach, and the Sabres start to fall out of contention. One or two more losses in a row could really ruin their chances: the Flyers are a better team, and let's hope that actually matters for once.
Oilers-Canadiens: Prospects do not look good. The Oilers are sitting on their own, Western Conference bubble, 1 game from 6th, 2 games from 13th. But the Canadiens, as you may have heard, joined the Cool Kids' Coach-Canning Club yesterday and fired Guy Carbonneau, who will be replaced by their GM Bob Gainey (how pissed would we have been if the Rangers had done THIS when Renney got canned?). I think they're gonna be playing a little bit more desperately, and and at this time of year, that matters. That said, maybe Gainey will be terrible, or maybe they'll just drop their first one with him. We could use the help. Go Oilers!
Panthers-Penguins: Ugh. Could this game end in maybe a natural disaster or something? The most important thing is that this game not go into overtime, thus wielding a ridiculous third point in the standings (are you listening, Gary Bettman? This policy is STUPID). From there, if the Penguins win, we technically stay in 9th, and if the Panthers win, we technically rise to 8th. That's dumb, but true. More importantly, this is the time of the season where we want whoever's at the bottom to stay down. Since the Panthers are technically a little ahead of the Penguins, we technically want the Panthers to win. This is mostly a case of being faster than the slowest guy running from the bear. Also, fuck Sidney Crosby, seriously. But really, I'm rooting for whoever's winning with 10 minutes left in the 3rd.