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Eastern Conference Playoff Projections

Will a new power rise in the East this season?

As with the West, things are still very tight in the Eastern Conference as February comes to a close. However, we are starting to see a few teams distance themselves from the rest, and it’s time for some playoff projections. Right now, this is what we’ve got:


With great teams everywhere on the board, getting out of the East will be as tough as ever this season. The biggest change from right now that we’ve predicted is New Jersey beating out Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan division. The Metro is probably the league’s weakest division, and with the Flyers losing their spot in third, we have them actually missing the playoffs altogether. John Tortorella has done a great job with the young Flyers this year, and although missing the postseason would be a disappointment given where they’re at right now, the year overall will still be deemed a successful step in the right direction.

For the division winners, the way the wild card positioning ends up will be very important. In our projections, we’ve got the Rangers winning out, which unfortunately leads to a first-round matchup with the eight-seed Lightning. This means, of course, that the Bruins would play Detroit. Now, these races are still very tight on both sides, but I can guarantee that the team who goes up against Detroit will be feeling a lot better than the team that gets the Bolts, regardless of their position after 82 games.

This isn’t to say that the Red Wings aren’t a dangerous threat that shouldn’t be taken very seriously (especially with the re-emergence of Patrick Kane), but they’re just not quite on the same level as Tampa Bay when it comes to the postseason. Tampa Bay and New York would undoubtedly be an awesome series, and a great opportunity for the Rangers to shake themselves of the not-so-great reputation they have in the postseason. 

In our other two series, we’d see rematches of the second round in the Eastern Conference last year. Both New Jersey and Toronto fell in five games to Carolina and Florida, and it’d be very interesting to see how the changes every team has made this year would affect the games. It’s clear to most hockey fans that both the Leafs and Devils need to get consistent goaltending in a hurry, and if they make the playoffs without it, they may not be alive for long. While Toronto at least looks like a lock to make the postseason, New Jersey really needs to start seeing improvement in the net now. They’re currently five points behind the Flyers with just one game in hand. Fortunately, they’re also getting a little healthier after a season-long battle with the injury bug.

However it turns out, we cannot wait for the playoffs to start! The first round of the NHL postseason is one of the best times in all of sports, and with the way the two conferences are shaping up, this year should be no exception.

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