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Battle for 8th in the East


The battle for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference is a tight one. Four teams are hashing it out for not just the last but the second to last as well. Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers sit in the final two spots with 82 points a piece. The New York Rangers and the Atlanta Thrashers sit right outside with 80 points. With only a few games left, can either team bump the Bruins or the Flyers out of the race?

The Thrashers seem to be the most hungry for that final spot. In early March they lost six in a row and then came back to win their next four and the rest of their schedule was pretty up and down. The Thrashers also have the toughest remaining schedule, as they face the Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Losing a player to a suspension doesn’t really help much, but no one thought the Thrashers would do much after the loss of their star captain either, and the team has since proven he was a factor, but not the only factor in some of their success. What do the Thrashers need to do? Win in regulation. It will be tough, and they may not win a lot, but they need to notch a couple of big wins against these top seeded teams and show us they are a force to be reckoned with. Don’t think about tie breakers, focus on getting the job done. Boston lost to Florida the other day, and the Thrashers almost beat the top seeded Capitals. This is a sport where anything can happen, that’s the beauty of it.

The Rangers on the other hand, have it a little easier, they just need to find what works and stick with it. They are 7-4-3 since coming back from the break. In their remaining schedule they face some good teams, like the Buffalo Sabres and the Philadelphia Flyers, and some not so good in the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers. However, this is the time of year where the teams you think you can beat surprise you. Teams that aren’t likely to make the post season tend to come out stronger than one may anticipate since they have nothing to lose, playing like they should have all season. They have the ability to alter your seed, don’t underestimate them. The Rangers need to go into these finals games with the mind set that anything can happen, and not think they have it in the bag.

Who do you think will fill that final seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race? LET US KNOW HERE!

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