The Good: (Monday) Flames lose; (Tuesday) Sharks lose, Blues lose, Canucks lose; (Wednesday) Hawks lose, Avs lose.
The Bad: (Monday) Wings win, (Tuesday) Stars win, Wild wins, Preds win, Avs win, Yotes win; (Wednesday) Flames win, Ducks win.
In the ESPN standings, the Kings drop to 6th, but in reality (as decreed by me -- see the bottom of the post for my 100% accurate reasoning) they're in 5th,
still a point ahead three points ahead of Colorado, even with the Canucks, and just two points behind Phoenix. The Kings (in the ESPN standings) appear to be just two measly points ahead of Nashville, which is terrifying until you realize the Kings have two games in hand (and one in hand over Detroit). Despite the Kings' loss the other night, With the Avs' loss Wednesday, three five points separate 3rd from 6th. Calgary, even with their win tonight, has a three-point gap between itself and the two teams above it, Nashville and Detroit. They have nothing but tough games ahead, and I think there's a good chance they'll have crapped out by Monday. They can only afford four more losses if they're going to get to 95 points, and I think they'll be hard-pressed to get four more wins. (Having said that, watch them do it.)
I wouldn't be surprised to see Minnesota ascend to the 9th spot. Calgary has
Colorado and San Jose this week before playing Minnesota. Minnesota has Nashville and Columbus. By the time Minnesota and Calgary face off on Sunday, they could be dead even. the Wild could be one slim point behind with a chance to take the lead.
About the Wild and the Flames: neither team has it easy, but Calgary's schedule is just brutal. The two teams play each other second to last game. Then Minnesota finishes in Dallas, which obviously has a lot of meaning for them.
But let's just take a second to marvel at how horrible Calgary's schedule is. Here are their opponents, in order:
COL, SJS, MIN, ANA, NYI (there's a possibly easier one, maybe), BOS, WAS, PHX, COL, CHI, SJS, MIN, VAN. That's a nightmare. I mean, imagine if they pull off some kind of miracle and go 7-4-0 the next eleven games. Their last two games are against Minnesota and Vancouver (in VAN), and they would have to win them both. Think either of those teams wouldn't love to crush their hopes?
Here are the standings* (if you haven't seen my version of standings before, scroll to the bottom for the explanation):
- San Jose Sharks 42 (1) +9
- Chicago Blackhawks 44 (2) +7
- Phoenix Coyotes 49 (4) +2
- Vancouver Canucks 51 (3) 0
- Los Angeles Kings 51 (6) --
- Colorado Avalanche 54 (5) -3
- Nashville Predators 57 (7) -6
- Detroit Red Wings 58 (8) -7
- Calgary Flames 61 (9) -10
- Minnesota Wild 64 (10) -13
- St. Louis Blues 65 (11) -14
- Dallas Stars 65 (12) -14
- Anaheim Ducks 66 (13) -15
- Columbus Blue Jackets 73 (14) -22
- Edmonton Oilers 91 (15) -40
And here's the record each team needs from here on, to get to the assumed (by me) magical point total of 95:
- San Jose Sharks**
- Chicago Blackhawks 0-12-1
- Phoenix Coyotes 2-10-0
- Vancouver Canucks 3-9-0
- Los Angeles Kings 5-9-0
- Colorado Avalanche 4-7-1
- Nashville Predators 6-6-0
- Detroit Red Wings 7-5-1
- Calgary Flames 8-4-0
- Minnesota Wild 10-2-1
- St. Louis Blues 11-2-0
- Dallas Stars 11-2-0
- Anaheim Ducks 11-1-1
Columbus Blue Jackets Edmonton Oilers
*standings in points-blown explained: "points blown" means, literally, how many points your team could have had, but squandered; a loss is 2 blown points, a "half-loss" (OTL/SOL) is one blown point, a win is zero blown points. The resulting standings are golf-like, the fewer blown points the better. Two points "awarded" for every loss, one point for every OTL/SOL. Again, lowest point total is best. Number in parentheses is the official standings (via ESPN). Last number (+/-) is number of points (in my system) ahead or behind Los Angeles. Because it's a Kings-centric universe.
**already hit 95 points. They can lose the rest of their games now, and should, if they want to avoid Detroit in the first round.