How tight is the Eastern Conference playoff race? Philadelphia, the Rangers, and Montreal all have 55 points and are seeded #6 through #8. Boston and the Islanders are one point back and hold the ninth and tenth spots, respectively. Florida, Atlanta, and Tampa are all within two or three points of a playoff spot. With about 30 games left, there is plenty of hockey to be played, but the race cannot possibly get tighter.
Here is the review of last week and a preview of the week to come:
WEEK 16 REVIEW (Games of 1/17-1/23/2010)
- 1st Star: Jeff Carter PHL – 31 points (5-2-7 in 4 games, +4, 2 PIM, 1 PPG)
- 2nd Star: Alex Ovechkin WSH – 30 points (4-4-8 in 4 games, +4, 1 PPG)
- 3rd Star: Joe Pavelski SJS – 29.5 points (3-5-8 in 4 games, +4)
- 1st Star: Jeff Carter PHL – 31 points (#1 Forward overall)
- 2nd Star: Brandon Dubinsky NYR – 20.5 points (#17 F overall, 3-2-5 in 4 games, +4, 9 PIM, 1 PPG, 1 SHG)
- 3rd Star: Ryan Callahan NYR – 19 points (#20 F overall, 2-3-5 in 4 games, +3, 1 PPG)
- 1st Star: Rob Blake SJS – 30.5 points (2-3-5 in 4 games, +4, 2 PIM, 1 PPG)
- 2nd Star: Chris Pronger PHL – 27.5 points (2-3-5 in 4 games, +2, 2 PIM, 2 PPG)
- 3rd Star: Dan Boyle SJS – 24.5 points (1-4-5 in 2 games, +2, 6 PIM)
- 1st Star: Chris Pronger PHL – 27.5 points (#2 Defenseman overall)
- 2nd Star: Kimmo Timonen PHL – 21 points (#7 D overall, 0-3-3 in 4 games, +4)
- 3rd Star: Jack Hillen NYI – 19 points (Tied-#8 D overall, 1-3-4 in 4 games, +1, 1 PPG)
- 1st Star: Tomas Vokoun FLA – 39.4 points (2-1-1 in 4 games, 2 shutouts, 0.49 GAA, .985 SvPct)
- 2nd Star: Evgeni Nabokov SJS – 31.2 points (4-0-0 in 4 games, 1.25 GAA,.960 SvPct)
- 3rd Star: Brian Elliott OTT – 29 points (4-0-0 in 4 games, 1.25 GAA, .957 SvPct)
- 1st Star: Ray Emery PHL – 25.8 points (#5 G overall, 3-1-0 in 4 games, 1 shutout, 2.51 GAA, .908 SvPct)
- 2nd Star: Martin Brodeur NJD – 17.2 points (Tied-#10 G overall, 2-2-0 in 4 games, 1 shutout, 2.47 GAA, .910 SvPct)
- 3rd Star: Rick DiPietro NYI – 12.8 points (#11 G overall, 1-1-0 in 2 games, 1 shutout, 1.50 GAA, .936 SvPct)
- Best in League: Washington Capitals +17 (6-14 PP, 17-19 PK, 1 SHG, 0 SHGA)
- Best among locals: New Jersey Devils +7 (Tied-#3 ST overall, 1-7 PP, 11-14 PK, 1 SHG, 0 SHGA)
WEEK 17 PREVIEW (Games of 1/24-1/30/2010)
- Sunday-to-Saturday scoring period: None
- Monday-to-Sunday scoring period: Calgary
- Sunday-to-Saturday scoring period: Carolina, Calgary, St. Louis
- Monday-to-Sunday scoring period: Anaheim, Buffalo, Carolina, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Washington
- Sunday-to-Saturday scoring period: Florida, San Jose, Tampa Bay
- Monday-to-Sunday scoring period: Boston, San Jose
- Islanders at Flyers (Saturday)
START ‘EM and SIT ‘EM
Last Week (Start vs. Sit)
- Forwards: Tomas Fleischmann WSH (1-3-4 in 4 games, 4 PIM) vs. Jarome Iginla CGY (0-2-2 in 3 games, -1) (W, Fleischmann 10.5, Iginla 3.5)
- Defensemen: Joni Pitkanen CAR (0-1-1 in 3 games, -3, 6 PIM) vs. Sheldon Souray EDM (1-0-1 in 3 games, +1, 2 PIM) (L, Souray 5.0, Pitkanen (-4.5))
- Goaltending: Chris Mason STL (0-2-1 in 3 games, 3.28 GAA, .897 SvPct) vs. Jonathan Quick LAK (2-1-0 in 3 games, 3.24 GAA, .884 SvPct) (L, Quick 10.6, Mason 3.0)
Season: 6-3 (1-2 this week)
- Start: Alex Burrows VAN – Playing alongside the Sedin twins is helping his numbers. He has six goals in his last six games (6-3-9), finishing Sedin passes. The Canucks have two home games against Buffalo and St. Louis before traveling to Toronto on Saturday.
- Sit: Ilya Kovalchuk ATL – Will the trade talks heat up over the next week? Kovy is scoreless over his last two games and faces two hot teams (vs ANA, at PHL) and one surprising team (at NSH).
- Start: Jack Hillen NYI – Hillen has taken on a larger role on the Islanders blue line and is responsible in his own end while chipping in on the offensive side. The schedule has a “donut” week, starting and ending tough (vs WSH, at PHL) with a hole in the middle (at CAR).
- Sit: Andy Greene NJD – Greene is coming back slowly from injury, so it is not quite time to get him back into your lineup. Keep him on the bench as the Devils have a three-game swing against the Northeast Division (at OTT, at BUF, vs TOR).
- Start: Miikka Kiprusoff CGY – He has a four-game winning streak, and Calgary is suddenly on the outside looking in at the Western Conference playoffs, but he should get well against four struggling teams (vs STL, at DAL, at PHX, vs EDM).
- Sit: Cristobal Huet CHI – Huet has been struggling a bit and the Blackhawks have another game against San Jose this week, who is now #1 in the West, on Chicago’s three-game road trip (at EDM, at SJS, at CAR).
Look for the Show Notes on Tuesday and our "Random Musings" sports column on Wednesday.
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