What didn't look like much of a race about a week ago has now turned into five team race for the final spots in the East. As you can see from the chart on your right, there are clearly some teams in the East that want to be in the playoffs and some who don't. Maybe playing for 7th and 8th place is really "playing to lose to NJD/MON/PIT/OTT" (take your pick) but it's still the playoffs. You still have a chance. With any luck, you might even be able to sneak into 6th and play the winner of the Southeast. But buyer beware, playing the Canes right now is nowhere near as easy as a task as it was a couple months back. This is a team on a tear (8-2 in their last 10).
But it's not just Carolina. The whole Southeast division appears to have awoken from a winter slumber. The Panthers have a seven game win streak, the Caps have won seven of 10 and the Canes are hot as previously mentioned. Who would have thought even a month ago that this would be the case? Who would have thought Sergei Samsonov --SERGEI FREAKING SAMSONOV -- would be helping Carolina by playing at nearly a point per game pace. And didn't we all bury the Caps after Nicklas Backstrom scored on in his own next? That was only last Sunday if you can believe it. I sure can't. At least we (more so I) can't complain this race is boring anymore. And hell, right now the Islanders are looking at picking up the 5th pick in the draft and could be in the top 3 with any luck. Everything is working out after all... At least until we knock out a few of these bubble teams, then there will be a few depressed cities who got their hopes up for nothing. But that's what March is all about. Who's in? Who's out?