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The Tavares Race Tightens

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26 PAC 79 34 38 7 75 198 242 22-14-3 12-24-4 6-3-1 Lost 1
27 SE 78 34 38 6 74 243 265 17-19-2 17-19-4 7-3-0 Won 4
28 SE 79 24 37 18 66 202 263 12-16-11 12-21-7 1-5-4 Lost 6
29 NW 77 31 44 2 64 193 250 18-20-0 13-24-2 2-7-1 Lost 8
30 ATL 78 26 43 9 61 196 255 17-16-6 9-27-3 3-6-1 Won 1

The Islanders defeated the Lightning last night. A Tampa win would have gone a long way to sewing up the 29th spot, but now the Lightning remain just 2 points behind the Avs (and Colorado has 2 games in hand). The Islanders loss does keep the Avalanche in the "race" to dead last, but as I mentioned yesterday on the Hockey Night in Long Islandd radio blog show, I don't think the Avalanche will be able to make up that ground. (That episode is archived, so you still have a chance to listen to the dulcet tones of my voice).

The Lightning have 3 games remaining on their schedule: Pittsburgh, Washington and Atlanta. Atlanta is the only team not in the playoff hunt right now, but they are on a 6 game losing streak.

The Islanders have 4 games left: Carolina, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston - all 4 are playoff teams (as of today).

The Avs have 2 games left with Vancouver (including one tonight) along with stings against San Jose, Dallas and St Louis. Dallas is the only non-playoff team on the list (I believe they were eliminated last night when Nashville knocked of Columbus in a shootout.