The battle for the bottom
It sounded cliche a few weeks ago, but, at this point, every game is huge for the bubble teams. Given that the battle in the Eastern Conference has all but been wiped out, 'bubble' now refers to only Colorado, San Jose, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Matt at the Battle of Alberta has a good runthrough today of what the Oilers are up against:
The bad news is, if you don't win out, you're nearly completely reliant on still staying ahead of Vancouver, because there are few plausible scenarios that finish with COL, ANA, or SJS finishing 9th (roughly, one of them would have to lose the remainder of their games).Which means, of course, that tonight's Canucks game has huge implications for this year's playoff race. If Vancouver wins and the Sharks lose to the now-eliminated Phoenix Coyotes, all three of Vancouver, San Jose and Edmonton will be tied in spots seven through nine with 91 points.
It's day 187 of the 196-day NHL regular-season schedule, and things are getting nutty.
UPDATE I'll be watching both the Vancouver and San Jose games and will weigh in should anything of note happen. Anaheim can clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight.