A quick look around the NHL at tonight's games. Who can help, who can hurt, and who can we watch beat the teams we love to hate?
Today the Avalanche have 13 games to play, 75 points in the bank, and they sit 6 points back of the Western Conference Wild Card.
Minnesota Wild (83 Points) at the Nashville Predators (93 Points): The Wild hold the 1st Western Conference Wild Card spot and sit 8 points ahead of the Avalanche. Verdict? Root for Nashville
San Jose Sharks (76 Points) at Winnipeg Jets (80 Points): These two teams sit just outside of the Wild Card and the Avalanche need to leapfrog both of them to make it in. A Sharks win keeps the barrier for playoff entry as low as possible, plus, unlike the Jets, the Sharks can still sneak their way into one of the top 3 Pacific Division slots, leaving the Avalanche free to snag the Wild Card from the Pacific Division's weak (Calgary) link. Verdict? Root for San Jose in regulation.
St. Louis Blues (93 Points) at Calgary Flames (81 Points): The Blues are completely out of reach, the Flames, however, are teetering on the edge of playoff contention (tied in points with the Wild Card LA Kings, but hold the ROW tiebreaker). A Flames loss in regulation keeps the Avs barrier to entry lower, and provides a failsafe in case the Avalanche cannot pass one of the Sharks or Kings. Verdict? Root for the Blues in regulation.
Philadelphia Flyers (73 Points) at Vancouver Canucks (82 Points): Just 1 point ahead of the Kings and Flames, the Vancouver Canucks have just as precarious a playoff spot. Tonight they're playing against an Eastern Conference team, which makes this one a no-brainer. Verdict? Root for the Flyers in regulation.
If the Draft Lottery were held today, the Avalanche would select 10th overall and hold a 3.5% chance at winning the 1st overall pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins (88 Points) at New Jersey Devils (69 Points): A few weeks ago the Avalanche and the Devils were just 2 points apart, and the Avs looked primed to pick an absolute stud at 7th overall. Now the Avs lead the Devil's by 6 points. The Devils catching the Avs won't impact the Avalanche's playoff chances in any way so... Verdict? Root for the Devils.
Ottawa Senators (77 Points) at Carolina Hurricanes (60 Points): On the back of the Hamburglar the Senators have made an impressive run at the Eastern Conference Wild Card and they've passed the Avalanche in the process. It's just a two point lead though and the Hurricanes aren't catching us anytime soon, so this one is easy. Verdict? Root for the Senators.
Montreal Canadiens (93 Points) at Florida Panthers (76 Points): The Panthers sit just one point up on the Avalanche. If the Avs want to preserve a top 10 pick, that means staying behind hockey's island of misfit toys. Verdict? Root for the Panthers.
San Jose Sharks (76 Points) at Winnipeg Jets (80 Points): Copy paste from above. The Avs sit just one point behind the San Jose Sharks, so if they want to pick in the top 10, that means staying behind hockey's island of "misfit leadership" (amirite Doug Wilson?). The stars have aligned on this one, a Sharks win is good for our playoffs and good for our tank. Verdict? Root for the Sharks.
Philadelphia Flyers (73 Points) at Vancouver Canucks (82 Points): At 73 points the Flyers currently hold the 8th overall selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. If we don't make the playoffs, the 8th overall selection surrrrrrre would be nice...... Like.... Provorov nice. Verdict? Root for the Flyers.
Minnesota Wild (83 Points) at the Nashville Predators (93 Points): Verdict? Go get em Perds.
Only 1 game on the docket for March 18th so we'll deal with it now.
Los Angeles Kings (81 Points) at Anaheim Ducks (95 Points): The Kings hold the 8th and final playoff spot for the Western Conference and sit 6 points ahead of the Avalanche. Verdict? Root for the Ducks.
The Final Verdict:
Predators > Wild
Sharks > Jets
Blues > Flames
Flyers > Canucks
Devils > Penguins
Senators > Hurricanes
Panthers > Canadiens
Ducks > Kings