Stanley Cup Playoff Picture: Flyers trade to cure goalie woes
The quarterfinals of the Winter Olympics ice hockey event are almost upon us. Meanwhile, in North America, the NHL continues to be contested both on and off the ice as teams push for a playoff spot.
Top of the Playoff Picture
For now, the Tampa Bay Lightning are still top of the Eastern Conference standings, are +300 to win the Eastern Conference Finals, and are favourites to win the Stanley Cup at +600 with the best NHL bookmakers. But the Boston Bruins are now just one point behind, have two games in hand, and are +400 to win in the Eastern Conference Finals.
In the Metropolitan Division, the Pittsburgh Penguins have continued their fine form and are now just one point behind the Washington Capitals. The Penguins are at +1300 to win their third Stanley Cup in a row this year.
Suffering a goalie injury crisis, the Philadelphia Flyers traded for Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek, which will certainly bolster them in the crease. Giving up conditional third and fourth-round picks, Philly should be able to maintain their divisional playoff standing with Mrazek in goal until Brian Elliott is fit, and beyond.
Last week saw the Dallas Stars finally burst into the top three, at the expense of the St. Louis Blues. The Nashville Predators stand at the top and are +450 to win in the Western Conference Finals.
After 59 games, the Vegas Golden Knights stand at the top of the entire NHL. They’re now +1150 to win the Stanley Cup in their first season of play and stand ten points clear of the San Jose Sharks. The Anaheim Ducks have muscled into a divisional playoff spot.
Most potential playoff pushers have struggled to string wins together in the Eastern Conference. But, on the back of rookie Nico Hischier’s first star of the week performances, the New Jersey Devils have gone on a four-game win streak. They could soon move into a divisional playoff place. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders, and Columbus Blue Jackets will continue to fight for the last wildcard place.
The Minnesota Wild have remained keen to hold onto a wildcard place but the Los Angeles Kings, Calgary Flames, and Colorado Avalanche are poised to mount a challenge.
Trade Deadline Rumours
With the trade deadline looming, teams are readying deals before the February 26 deadline.
Some of the biggest rumours in the mill include Mike Green to the Capitals or Lightning, Mike Hoffman to the Blues or Flames, Justin Faulk to the Canadiens or Red Wings, Evander Kane to the Blues, Predators, or Sharks, and Ian Cole to the Winnipeg Jets.