NHL bubble teams

Bubble teams: Who will get in and who will play golf?

Bubble teams in each conference are fighting for their playoff lives. Florida is the only team in the East behind the eight ball that seems to have a reasonable chance to make the playoffs. Out West, the second and third Pacific division spots, both Wild Cards, and three teams on the outside looking in are all battling for their postseason lives. These last three weeks will be fun.

Eastern Conference race (at the start of play on March 13)

Wild Card No. 1: Columbus Blue Jackets (79 points, 12 games left, next game March 15 @ PHI)

Wild Card No. 2: New Jersey Devils (78 points, 13 games left, next game March 14 @ VGK)

Ninth place: Florida Panthers (75 points, 15 games left, next game March 15 vs. BOS)

Western Conference race (at the start of play on March 13)

Wild Card No. 1: Dallas Stars (82 points, 13 games left, next game March 13 @ MTL)

Wild Card No. 2: Colorado Avalanche (80 points, 14 games left, next game March 13 @ MIN)

Ninth place: Anaheim Ducks (80 points, 12 games left, next game March 14 vs. VAN)

10th place: St. Louis Blues (79 points, 13 games left, next game March 15 vs. COL)

11th place: Calgary Flames (78 points, 12 games left, next game March 13 vs. EDM)

 

More competition in the West poses a tougher task for the teams on the bubble. The East not only has less teams, but more clubs that are hit or miss with every team in the hunt having a minus goal differential.

Two teams to watch are the Florida Panthers and the St. Louis Blues. Each of these teams have newfound energy after being inconsistent for most of the season. The Panthers are 8-1-1 in their last 10, while the Blues are winners in their last two after going 1-7-2 in their previous 10.

Things are heating up in South Beach

NHL bubble teams

Photo from NHL.com

The Florida Panthers came into the month of February with a record of 20-22-6. Since then, they have gone 14-4-1, sitting as the lone formidable bubble team out East. This club has star power, a hall of fame net minder, and undeniable team chemistry.

Coach Bob Boughner said they are all in it and all screaming from the bench after big plays. It’s coming together at the right time, but some would say this was a playoff team all along.

This team has three players with at least 60 points (Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck and Jonathan Huberdeau). Throw in Evgenii Dadonov and they have four with at least 50 and Keith Yandle and Nick Bjugstadsix make six with at least 40.

All-Star talent and well-balanced scoring is the basis to all playoff teams. After a rocky start, the Panthers are in line to make some real noise down the stretch with the fire power they have on their roster.

Everyone has been waiting for when Roberto Luongo’s level of play is going to fall off a cliff. Well, the 38-year-old has not slowed down yet this year. He has gotten himself into the 400-win club (11th goalie in history), posted a 2.61 goals against average and a .926 save percentage in just 26 games played. Had his season not been cut short due to injury, we might have seen this bubble team be seen in the thick of things more so as it pertains to the playoff picture.

Nevertheless, do not sleep on the Panthers these last three weeks.

What type of Blues will they be singing in the end

NHL bubble teams

Photo from NHL.com

It is difficult to figure out what to make of St. Louis as the end of the regular season draws near. After a 21-8-2 start, I was thinking about Lord Stanley. The Blues then proceeded to go 14-19-3 in their next 36.

After scoring just 10 goals in their previous eight games where they went 1-6-1, St. Louis has won their last two for the first time since Feb. 8 and 9. Trying to forget the past, the Blues sit just one point out of the final playoff spot with 13 games remaining.

When the Blues traded Paul Stastny at the deadline, many saw that as throwing in the towel. St. Louis currently sits 23rd in the league in scoring and a league-worst 15.1 percent on the power play.

However, coach Mike Yeo has reunited the top line of Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko and reconstructed the depth chart. They scored 11 goals in their previous two games against LA and Anaheim. Yeo knows there is still work to be done, but they are getting closer.

Jake Allen’s year started off with great promise as he posted a 17-8-1 record. Allen then recorded just two wins in his next 19 games played. It seems to be a confidence issue with him because when he is on, he is among the league’s best in terms of talent, but in the bottom half when he is off his game. St. Louis’ starting goaltender may have found what he did a year ago as he has recorded three straight solid starts, going 2-1-0 and allowing just five goals.

If the Blues have any shot to make it to the postseason and make noise when they get there, they must have a confident Jake Allen.

Any team at any time can get hot

Neither of these bubble teams expected to be in the position they currently sit. No one saw the Panthers playing meaningful games in late March and into April at the start of the season. No one saw the Blues trying to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs at the start of the year.

Regardless, both teams are trying to light the fire and get hot at the right time. No one cares how you start the year, only how you finish.

You may think neither of these teams deserve recognition, but their stories are interesting. At one point in time or another, every hockey follower had them out of the playoff race or an after thought. When Florida was under .500 in February, or when St. Louis lost their seventh in a row in February, we all thought these two were lost causes. Let’s let them decide.

 

Featured image from NHL.com

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Charlie!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology: Selection Sunday

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. It is now Selection Sunday! The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometimes multiple times a day, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology: Selection Sunday. Click to zoom.

 

Last four byes: Virginia Tech, St. Bonaventure, USC, UCLA

Last four in: St. Mary’s, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State

First four out: Notre Dame, Louisville, Arizona State, Baylor

Next four out: Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee, Syracuse, Marquette

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 10

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. There are still a lot of games to be played before Selection Sunday, but it’s always good to take stock of where the teams are standing. The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometime multiple times a day before Selection Sunday, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 10. Click to zoom.

Last four byes: Virginia Tech, St. Mary’s, USC, UCLA

Last four in: Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State, Notre Dame

First four out: Louisville, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Baylor

Next four out: Middle Tennessee, Syracuse, Marquette, Penn State

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 9

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. There are still a lot of games to be played before Selection Sunday, but it’s always good to take stock of where the teams are standing. The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometime multiple times a day before Selection Sunday, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 9. Click to zoom.

Last four byes: Florida State, USC, Texas, Oklahoma

Last four in: Alabama, UCLA, Notre Dame, Louisville

First four out: Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee State, Syracuse, Arizona State

Next four out: Baylor, Marquette, Penn State, Oregon

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 8

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. There are still a lot of games to be played before Selection Sunday, but it’s always good to take stock of where the teams are standing. The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometime multiple times a day before Selection Sunday, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 8. Click to zoom.

Last four byes: Kansas State, USC, Texas, Oklahoma

Last four in: UCLA, Alabama, Notre Dame, Arizona State

First four out: Baylor, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Syracuse

Next four out: Marquette, Boise State, Utah, Penn State

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 7

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. There are still a lot of games to be played before Selection Sunday, but it’s always good to take stock of where the teams are standing. The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometime multiple times a day before Selection Sunday, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 7. Click to zoom.

 

First four out: USC, Louisville, Penn State, Marquette

Next four out: Washington, Utah, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

2018 ACC Tournament preview

The ACC Tournament has so many teams that are fighting for different things, whether that’s a number one seed or just a spot in the tournament. As always, it will be competitive and fun. Here is a preview of what will take place in Brooklyn this week.

Overview

Virginia won the ACC this season by four games this season, a feat that not many saw coming. They only have two losses on the season, to Virginia Tech and West Virginia. If they win this tournament, they will get the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Behind them Duke will be looking for a number one seed as well. Five of their six losses came in conference, but their defense has gotten better in recent weeks. They have also gotten healthier, as Marvin Bagley III has returned from his sprained knee.

North Carolina has a slight shot at a number one seed, but is likely looking at a two or three seed this season. With one of the best point guards in the country, Joel Berry, and a good inside-out player in Luke Maye, the Tar Heels can make a run and win this tournament.

Clemson, Miami, N.C. State, Virginia Tech and Florida State are all likely in the NCAA Tournamnet, barring disaster scenarios. Louisville, Notre Dame and Syracuse are both on the bubble and need to do some damage in the ACC Tournament to secure a spot in the big dance. Boston College, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh finished at the bottom of the conference and are playing for pride unless they can make a run to win the whole ACC Tournament to get an automatic bid.

All-Tournament Team and MVP

The All-Tournament team is very dependent on who goes deep in a tournament. Who will be the best players in the ACC Tournament?

Joel Berry, G, UNC

Kyle Guy, G, Virginia

Gary Trent Jr., G, Duke

Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke

Omer Yurtseven, F, N.C. State

MVP: Kyle Guy

Darkhorse: N.C. State Wolfpack

2018 ACC Tournament preview

Coach Kevin Keatts (Photo by sportingnews.com)

N.C. State will play Boston College, after the Eagles beat Georgia Tech in the first round. That shouldn’t be too tough of a game, as the Wolfpack already beat them this season, 82-66. After that they get Clemson, who is without one of their best players, Donte Grantham, who is injured. They split the season series with Clemson, but they had Grantham in both of those games. The Tigers have lost four of their last six games of the season and are clearly reeling without Grantham.

Picking up those two wins would give them some momentum. If the bracket holds to form, they would have to play Virginia and then Duke to win it all. While Virginia did beat the Wolfpack easily, N.C. State was able to beat Duke. That tournament run would be tough, but they should be able to get out of their first two games without too many problems.

Coach Kevin Keatts has done a fantastic job of putting a good team on the floor and getting the most out of them in his first year. They’ve got a good combination of inside players and guards. Omer Yutseven is a legitimate NBA prospect at center, who is tough to match up with. Lennard Freeman and Abdul-Malik Abu are good role players at forward, who have experience.

Markell Johnson runs the point well with 7.4 assists per game. Allerik Freeman, Torin Dorn and Braxton Beverley all give a good scoring punch to this team from the guard position, averaging over 10 points per game each. With so many different scoring options, the Wolfpack will be hard to stop this week.

Champion: Virginia Cavaliers

2018 ACC Tournament preview

Kyle Guy (Photo by accsports.com)

Virginia will have to play Louisville or Florida State in their first game, then likely have to go through N.C. State/Clemson and Duke to win the tournament. With just two losses on the season, they have beaten all of these teams. Florida State and Louisville created good games against the Cavaliers, but couldn’t come up with key plays at the end, giving Virginia victories. They are 3-0 against teams they’d meet in their first game.

For their likely second opponent of the tournament, they beat both N.C. State and Clemson without any problems. They held Clemson to 36 points, when Clemson still had Grantham. If they make the championship against Duke, they were able to beat them at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 65-63.

They are clearly the class of the ACC, with only one loss in conference. Their defense is what sets them apart, as they allow just 52.8 points per game. That would be hard to do in any conference, but they managed to do that in one of the toughest, if not the toughest, conferences in the country. The Cavaliers hold opponents to just 37.5% from the field and play the game at their pace.

Virginia’s best player is Kyle Guy, who averages just 13.9 points per game, but that’s because they run good offensive sets and milk the shot clock. He scores 17.5 points per game, which is probably what he would score if Virginia played at most teams’ paces. Devon Hall and Ty Jerome are also both solid guards who average over 10 points per game and defend well.

Outside of the three scorers, the Cavaliers have role players that don’t care about numbers and just focus on doing their jobs to secure victories. De’Andre Hunter, Isaiah Wilkins, Jack Salt, Mamadi Diakite and Nigel Johnson all fill significant roles and are capable of stepping up their games when called upon.

Tony Bennett will have his team ready to play in the ACC Tournament and is hoping that they can make the third Final Four in school history.

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

 

2018 NCAA Tournament Bracketology March 5

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. There are still a lot of games to be played before Selection Sunday, but it’s always good to take stock of where the teams are standing. Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament Bracketology March 5. Click to zoom.

 

First four out: USC, Louisville, Penn State, Marquette

Next four out: Washington, Utah, Notre Dame, Boise State

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

 

2018 NCAA Tournament Bracketology February 26

March is only a few days away and the anticipation for the NCAA Tournament is growing. The bubble teams are sorting themselves out, while the top teams are vying for the best possible seed. Where do the teams currently sit? Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament Bracketology February 26. Click to zoom.

First four out: Baylor, Washington, Utah, UCLA

Next four out: Penn State, Nebraska, Boise State, Oregon

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology February 19

It’s under three weeks until Selection Sunday and college basketball continues to surprise. With teams having resumes that are almost complete, fans can start to get pumped for the madness in March. Here is the latest 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology. Click to zoom.

First four out: USC, Washington, Louisville, Boise State

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!