It seems that nobody in the Southeast Division wants to make the playoffs. For years, the ineptitude of the members of the division caused it to be nicknamed the SouthLeast division, as the teams that comprised it were not among the elite, to put it nicely.
Then, Tampa Bay and Carolina won Stanley Cups, and Washington got Alex Ovechkin, and that seemed to turn the tables, and the Southeast was a power around the league. This year, however, the division is in danger of not having a team among the top 7 point-getters in the Eastern Conference. One team will be guaranteed a playoff spot (and the third seed), but it may not be by virtue of earning it. Carolina and Tampa Bay are essentially already out of the running, as they sit tied for dead last in the East with the Islanders. Winnipeg is hanging on in the race for a playoff spot, sitting 3 points out, but is also in the mix for the division lead as well, since both Florida and Washington are sitting at 52 points.
None of the teams are playing well, and they seem to be cannibalizing each other. Washington is the “hottest” team in the division right now, going 6-4 in their last 10 games. They have been shut out by both the Islanders and the Hurricanes in the last 4 days. The Florida Panthers had a good stretch earlier in the season, but are falling back to earth in a big way.
It seems to be the division that nobody wants to win, and whoever gets the 6 seed and matches up with the SouthLeast division winner might have the best spot in the first round of the post-season. There is still a lot of hockey to be played, buthe team coming out of the division to the playoffs (and I think there will only be one) will not be an intimidating force the way it looks right now.
Maybe it wouldn’t be a terrible thing for Ottawa to settle into the 6 seed, since the chances of them catching the Bruins for the Division lead seems very slim.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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