I know it’s a little early to discuss play-offs, but there are several teams in the mix right now who may be fighting for a position in the later months. A few teams that are looking pretty secure and playing pretty well include the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins (ironic right? Flying Penguins?), the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Montreal Canadiens. The Washington Capitals are also typically a shoe-in for the play-offs despite their recent slump, but if I were a betting man, I would put a lot of money on the Capitals being at the top of the conference come play-off time. Finally there is one other team that is surprising, but I’m going to include in the “shoe-in” pile (man, I’m funny today) and that is the Atlanta Thrashers. They’re playing really well and if they can keep up with the pace they’re at then they’ll be in the play-offs.
So after that, who does that leave? We can safely assume that the New Jersey Devils and the embarrassingly bad New York Islanders won’t be making a strong play-off push. In addition to those two teams, history will probably repeat itself and leave the Panthers and the Maple Leafs on the outside looking in. That leaves six teams in the mix: Boston, Buffalo, NY Rangers, Carolina, Ottawa, and Tampa Bay.