Still, the division is out of reach and the Devils can face some formidable foes depending on where, from 4-8, they finish. And Pittsburgh is now 6 points ahead of the Devils and holds the tiebreaker for 4th, making home ice advantage in the first round unlikely. So here's who I'd like to face in the playoffs, sorted in order from most desirable to least desirable:
Any Southeast Division winner
Which means finishing in 6th would be best for New Jersey right now. An upcoming article on my blog will show that, post-lockout, there is absolutely no correlation between regular season head to head record and first round playoff record. So the Devils should want to play the worst team, and that will almost certainly be the SE Division winner. Ottawa is a rather unlikely matchup, as they are 3 points down to the Bruins, but the B's have 2 games in hand.
WARNING FOR THE SUPERSTITIOUS: Finishing in 6th does not guarantee a playoff victory, nor does not finishing in 6th guarantee a playoff loss. This is just a fun thread to give the end of the season some juice. Please don't mention finishing in 6th and losing to a team that was outshot by 52 in a 6 game series. There are a million other threads on which to foist your beliefs in hexes and anti-hexes.
Right now, here's how the race for 6th looks:
Team PTS GR
5. Flyers 83 16
6. Devils 81 15
7. Senators 80 13
It's looking good - we'll want Senators losses and Flyer wins for the time being.
Edited by Triumph, 01 April 2012 - 10:55 PM.