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  • 02/04/2014, 03:11PM ET

Predict the NHL Wild Cards

kalbrecht17 (17-11-5) vs Sir Loin (4-4-1)
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1st: pick (must be teams that are not currently in the top 3 in each division)
2nd: pimp your picks
3rd: insult the others


My picks:

East: Detroit and Philly
West: Minnesota and Phoenix


East:I'll take the other two teams that are hovering around the 4th spot in each division: Montreal and Carolina.

West: I agree with your picks. I don't think Vancouver is going to make the cut - they're playing tired as is, and having their stars go to the Olympics won't help.


Detroit: This team easily could've folded without Pav and Z for an extended period, but they stayed right in the thick of it and are holding a WC spot as we speak. Now as Pav (back tonight) and Z come back into play, their scoring numbers should rise right along with their D efficiency (which is their biggest knock) because they both are phenomenal 2 way players. The blessing in disguise of losing Pav and Z is really going to work out to their advantage down the stretch because of the guys who got playing time. Nyquist is starting to crank it up and Abby can move back to his lower expected scoring output. I also expect Jimmy to play up to his standards and be more consistent. All and all, this team is getting it together at the right time.

Philly: I'm picking them just due to the bonus of their schedule really. The team has the talent to get into the playoffs and they get the advantage of playing in the Metro where the only formidable team is Pitt. Everyone else is at best at an equal talent level of Philly. Also, their ST has been one of the best in the league thus far rolling at 19.8% (8th) in PP and 83.8% (6th) in PK. Those are huge assets in a tight stretch run.


Detroit seems to be heating up, enough to stay within the wild card chase for now, but their goal differential worries me. But having said that, there's only 6 teams in the pathetic East who have a positive goal differential, and Columbus is one of them! Amazing.

So, since we started, Montreal is now in 3rd place, having bumped Toronto down to 4th. Regardless, I think Montreal has the strongest goaltending of the bubble teams. They might not have much offense, but they have a wining road record, and besides Price and Subban, their represented by a wealth of Olympians, so they have the talent to stay in the playoff hunt.

Carolina benefits from the same schedule the Philly has (who, like Montreal, has slipped into 3rd since we started this), but, like Montreal, I think Carolina's strong goaltending (with Khudobin having won the NHL's player of the month in Jan for his strong play) will get them into the playoffs. They have 3 games in hand over Philly right now, so their lower point total is misleading. Plus, they're going to benefit from Staal being snubbed off the Canadian team, and he'll be well rested heading into March.

February 4, 2014  05:45 PM ET

If we could pick from teams that are in the current top 3, I would pick Toronto and Columbus to be the Wild Card picks. I think Montreal and Carolina will overtake them both for 3rd in their respective divisions.

I don't see the top 3 changing in either division in the West.

February 4, 2014  06:18 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

If we could pick from teams that are in the current top 3, I would pick Toronto and Columbus to be the Wild Card picks. I think Montreal and Carolina will overtake them both for 3rd in their respective divisions.I don't see the top 3 changing in either division in the West.

I agree on the West. in the east, i'd probably go with Toronto to drop out of the ensured spots as well. I think it will be a close 3 horse race for Det, Tor, and Mon to make the playoffs and it could be a very dramatic swing in seeding for one of them. Honestly I could see Philly or Carolina passing Colu as well but I'd see Colu falling all the way out of the playoffs with a combo of Det, Tor, and Mon taking 2 of the 3 wild cards

February 4, 2014  09:17 PM ET

Detroit's going to need Z??ta and Pavel to be healthy if they want to stay alive as a postseason team. Their defense is a shadow of what it was with Lidstrom. I think the streak ends this year.

February 4, 2014  09:18 PM ET

Zata

February 4, 2014  11:16 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Detroit's going to need Z??ta and Pavel to be healthy if they want to stay alive as a postseason team. Their defense is a shadow of what it was with Lidstrom. I think the streak ends this year.

i agree but Dats will be back potentially before the olympic break he said recently and in full after. Z is back now and is looking solid. Nyquist Z and Abby are looking really good together right now

February 5, 2014  09:11 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

i agree but Dats will be back potentially before the olympic break he said recently and in full after. Z is back now and is looking solid. Nyquist Z and Abby are looking really good together right now

Hopefully Pasha will be back, but as recently as last weekend Coach Babcock said he was skating on one leg.

I think he's under a lot of self-imposed pressure to honor his country as captain of the Olympic team.

Their youth movement (Nyquist, Jurco, Tatar, DeKeyser) has played admirably, but the D hasn't met a lead that they're more than willing to give away, late in games. If Abdelkader is a top line winger, that's not good.

Lidstrom's efficiency in breaking up a play and starting a rush with a perfect outlet pass cannot be praised enough - it's painful to watch some of the Wings D not be able to make an outlet pass.

February 5, 2014  09:12 AM ET

What's a Duluth guy doing pimping the Gophers over the Bulldogs anyway?

February 5, 2014  10:39 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

What's a Duluth guy doing pimping the Gophers over the Bulldogs anyway?

just in duluth for med school. been a gopher fan for my whole life.

February 5, 2014  10:40 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Hopefully Pasha will be back, but as recently as last weekend Coach Babcock said he was skating on one leg. I think he's under a lot of self-imposed pressure to honor his country as captain of the Olympic team. Their youth movement (Nyquist, Jurco, Tatar, DeKeyser) has played admirably, but the D hasn't met a lead that they're more than willing to give away, late in games. If Abdelkader is a top line winger, that's not good.Lidstrom's efficiency in breaking up a play and starting a rush with a perfect outlet pass cannot be praised enough - it's painful to watch some of the Wings D not be able to make an outlet pass.

agreed. will make it fun. I'm expecting the veteran pride to really step into this as well. Just like it did last year.

just hope Pav doesn't kill himself in the Olympics and wreck the season for Det. I'll get to this later today and throw something up. Got a couple exams here in a few hours that I've got to do first.

February 5, 2014  12:40 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

just in duluth for med school. been a gopher fan for my whole life.

Cool. I got my degree there. Originally from MN.

February 6, 2014  12:32 PM ET

sorry about not getting to this yesterday. will do it today after class. was doing a little bit of excessive celebrating after tests

February 6, 2014  06:32 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Cool. I got my degree there. Originally from MN.

nice! where are you from originally?

February 7, 2014  09:03 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

nice! where are you from originally?

Rochester

February 7, 2014  11:14 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Rochester

The home of mighty Mayo

February 7, 2014  11:15 AM ET

lot of flux going on right now so WC picking might be a little difficult to justify. Want to draw this one and we can do a "who makes the playoffs" style NHL TD? might be a little easier to do

 
February 7, 2014  11:38 AM ET

sure, no prob

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