Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Serious Six -- March 29th

With the weekend looming, the serious six are heading into the far turn before heading into next week’s home stretch. At the moment, they stand in this order:

6. NY Rangers: 39-29-9 (87)
7. Tampa Bay: 41-32-4 (86)
8. Montreal: 40-31-6 (86)
9. Toronto: 37-29-10 (84)
10. NY Islanders: 36-28-12 (84)
11. Carolina: 38-31-8 (84)

Montreal jumped two spots since our last installment to climb on-board the top-eight, while Carolina has fallen to the bottom of this six-pack. The Islanders and Toronto each have a game in hand on the rest of the field.

Tonight’s impact game:

Toronto at Atlanta. The Leafs have the opportunity to make up some ground with the game in hand they hold over each of the clubs in front of them. Tonight’s game closes the season series between these two clubs, one that the Thrashers lead, 2-1. Toronto has dropped the last two games to Atlanta by a combined score of 10-2. Atlanta has the added incentive of trying to hold on the three-seed as leader of the Southeast Division. Holding only a three-point lead over Tampa Bay, Atlanta could fall to the seven-seed (if not lower) if they fall behind the Lightning. The Thrashers could, by virtue of losing, turn this into a "sprinting seven" in the last week.

The Leafs have won their last two in convincing fashion – 4-1 over Buffalo and 6-1 over Carolina. However, they haven’t won a road game since March 2 (4-3 in a shootout over New Jersey), and haven’t won one in regulation since February 24th (5-2 over the Flyers). That 0-4-2 in road games since that Flyer win is a telling statistic, especially since the Thrashers are 7-1-0 in their last eight home games.

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