The Atlantic Division is a mess right now. Literally anything could happen. When it comes to the standings, nobody is safe. What counts for first place in the Atlantic doesn’t even warrant a wild card in the Metropolitan.
Needless to say, it’s a tight race.
So with that in mind, please enjoy the Game Haus’ Atlantic Division Playoff Predictions.
OTTAWA Wins the division
Guy Boucher and the Ottawa Senators have surprised a lot of NHL fans this season. They currently sit in second place in the Atlantic Division, trailing Montreal by only two points.
Under Boucher’s leadership the Sens have employed a much more defensively responsible system. Fantasy owners may not be happy about this, Erik Karlsson’s point production this season has suffered as a result. But in combination with the outstanding goaltending of Mike Condon and Craig Anderson Boucher’s system has raised the Senators’ stock significantly.
Look for Ottawa to finish the season strong, they’ve gone 6-4-0 in their last ten and have three games in hand compared to the division leading Habs.
Ottawa will finish first in the Atlantic Division
MONTREAL follows close behind
Though it has not always been smooth sailing for the Montreal Canadiens this season they remain on top of the Atlantic Division. That lead, however, has become increasingly narrow as the season wears on Montreal’s slump continues.
Under the leadership of their new head coach Claude Julien the Habs will become a more dominant team, with better puck possession, and score more goals. But it will take time to adjust.
Though a change behind the bench was just what the doctor ordered for the Canadiens, the institution of a new system will take time. And in that time the Canadiens will fall behind and lose their Atlantic Division lead to the Sens.
Montreal will finish cecond in the Atlantic Division.
FLORIDA FINDS A PLAYOFF SPOT
The Florida Panthers have weathered the storm and are finally firing on all cylinders again.
With the return of Bjugstad, Barkov and Huberdeau the Panthers are again a force to be reckoned with. Earlier this month they pulled off a feat no Eastern Conference team has managed this season, a California sweep.
Don’t let their goal differential (-14) fool you, they’re 8-2-0 in their last ten outscoring their opponents 38 – 30 over that span.
Look for a healthy Panthers squad to make a late surge in the standings.
Florida will finish third in the Atlantic Division,
TORONTO FINDS THE WILDCARD
The Toronto Maple Leafs will make the playoffs this year. But it won’t be pretty.
There are a lot of New York Islanders fans that will probably hate this prediction, but the young Leafs have been explosive all season long.
The first wild card spot in the East will undoubtedly go to a Metropolitan Division team. The New York Rangers, who currently hold the position, have 78 points in the standings; more than even the first place Canadiens in the Atlantic. Still, Toronto will manage to secure a wild card spot for themselves.
Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock knows a thing or two about making the playoffs. But his young squad will fatigue as the season grinds on. Their upcoming schedule includes a tour of the California teams and it remains unlikely that the Leafs will be able to find any easy wins on the West coast. As a result, the Leafs will fall from their third place position in the Atlantic.
Toronto will finish fourth in the Atlantic Division and secure a wild card spot in the process.
“From Our Haus to Yours”