Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Undercard

David Johnson of Hockey Analysis has updated his predicted standings. Lots of scary information for fans of the blue and white. The Leafs have the second toughest schedule the rest of the way among the teams battling for that elusive 8th spot (and the right to attempt an upset of Herculean proportions although it will more likely resemble this battle). Also, after stumbling back of the Islanders, Thrashers, and Lightning the good guys have an entirely new batch of teams to see off in the race for the playoffs. The Rangers, Bruins, and the freaking Panthers are joining the Leafs, Canes, and Habs in is shaping up to be one of the tighest races in my lifetime. The irony of ironies is that the Leafs are projected to tie for the 8th spot but will, thanks to their proclivity for one point games, most likely lose the tiebreaker.

Tonight the Leafs host the Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin as I look to extend my personal winning streak to two games. Tomas Kaberle will be out of the lineup (I forget why) which puts the onus on Carlo and White to pick up the slack. Pavel Kubina will make an early return from a broken finger to provide some relief as well. And Leaf fans, the next defensive saviour, the Pilar of Strength, Karel Pilar has signed with the Marlies as he looks to make a comeback from a tragic heart disease that derailed his development after a couple of strong seasons with the big club.

Meanwhile the senators host their likely first round matchup the Penguins and they will once again get to see the effect that Gary Roberts can have on an Ottawa opponent. Fresh off of a 3 point tour de force he will be looking to remind the senators brass just why the fans were clamouring to acquire his services. The price that was too high to pay? He'll be adding to his consecutive healthy scratches tally which now stands at every game since the deadline. Think that there might be a showdown in the capital this summer between coach and GM?.

Leafs 5
Capitals 3 (All Ovechkin and all spectacular)

sens 4
Pens 3 (SO)

Tonight's action see both Ontario teams playing important games but let's not kid ourselves. These games are merely a warmup for the main event this week which will see a home and home Battle of Ontario that will go a long way to deciding both team's futures. The senators, much like the Leafs of the late 90s and early 00s, need home ice advantage in case of a game 7 while the Leafs need points or they will miss the playoffs for a second straight year. That of course will trigger the apocalypse (or maybe it's winning the Cup but I know it involves blue and white angels saving the Earth). These are the matchups that spawned this site and we'll do our best to ramp up the rhetoric in the build up to both Thursdays game in Ottawa and Saturday's in Toronto. Lucky sens fans, your team's game will be national, in as much as Canada is a nation without Quebec.

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