Let’s dive right into the Atlantic Division. We’re talking about the playoff picture, projections, and news and notes from around the division. As always, comments and general banter are encouraged.

Standings
New Jersey │ 47-23-3 │ 97pts │ 9GR │ 2nd overall
Philthadelphia │ 40-23-10 │ 90pts │ 9GR │ 4th overall
Pittsburgh │ 40-27-8 │ 88pts │ 7GR │ 6th overall
NY Rangers │ 39-27-9 │ 87pts │ 7GR │ 7th overall
NY Islanders │ 24-41-8 │ 56pts │ 9GR │ 15th overall

Playoff Picture
New Jersey Still needs a win or two to officially lock up the division, but with Brodeur in net that’s just a formality. Who would have thought this would be the Atlantic Division Champ whenever Marty tore his biceps muscle?? Either way, it looks like they’ll finish 2nd overall in the East, provided they can play game for game with Washington down the stretch.
The Jokes gripped the 4th overall spot a little more tightly last Sunday when they beat the Pens at Mellon Arena. With at least 2 games in hand on everyone behind them, it’s definitely their spot to lose. Even with all of the goal scoring in the world, though, you can’t feel good about their chances for making a deep run with Marty Biron (per Pierre Mcguire… it’s pronounced Beeeroooouan. joke) in net. Being Pittsburgh fans, I guess we can feel good about that.
Pittsburgh continues to look strong, and depending on Saturday’s outcome against the Rangers should have the 5th spot in the playoffs. Carolina is playing great right now, but all the Pens need is a win in Raleigh next weekend and they’ll be getting themselves ready for a matchup against the hated Clowns in the first round of the playoffs.
NY Rangers, despite looking overmatched most nights, continues to keep pace with the teams in the playoff chase. A loss last night in overtime puts them 1 point behind the Pens for the 6th spot in the playoffs, and Saturday’s game could determine whether NY finishes 6th or 8th. NY Islanders are officially the front runners in the Tavares lottery. If anyone other than Garth Snow were leading this team, I’d be afraid that they could make a strong run in the future.

Atlantic Predictions
New Jersey
1st in Atlantic
2nd in Eastern Conference

Philthy
2nd in Atlantic
4th in Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh
3rd in Atlantic
5th in Eastern Conference

NY
4th in Atlantic
7th in Eastern Conference

News and Notes

  • Devils forward Zach Parise started the season on a torrid goalscoring pace, but only has one in his last 6 games. Currently sitting 5th in points and 2nd in goals in the league, Parise has certainly had a career year. The only problem is that NJ really needs him to find the touch again if they want to make a run at the Cup.
  • “Yeah, I thought we sucked,” Tortorella said in his post-game interview following a shootout loss last night. “Right on through the game. I think we’re fortunate to get a point, very fortunate to get that.” Now there’s the Tortorella that we’ve all been waiting for.
  • Brooks Orpik appears to be getting the hit parade ready for the trip through the playoffs. The Candy Man had 10 hits against Calgary, and a few of those were absolutely devastating. The Pens need to be a team that’s difficult to play against and are going to need his physical play come post-season time.
  • IHC Dan Bylsma gave Malkin the day off yesterday, calling it a “rest day”. Apparently Danny B watched film of the last 2 playoff runs and noticed Malkin gets a little tired in the post-season. I think these “rest days” could keep him fresh and on his game through the end of the playoffs (whenever that may be).
  • During another phenomenal Sunday afternoon broadcast, Pierre Mcguire and Mike Milbury informed us all that the Flyers Mike Richards is “the best young captain in the game today. The Flyers are a better team with him on the ice.”… Maybe I’m missing something, but I know of another young captain that does some pretty good things for his team (including helping some garbage wingers reach career highs).
  • Rick DiPietro contract watch: Only 12 short years until free agency

Public Service Announcement
Always remember: Friends don’t let friends yell “Shoot!” at hockey games.