POTHL STARTING BACK AGAIN!
POTHL CUP MATCH-UP: IT'S THE JETS AND THE BRUINS!
With the first two games in Boston, it was important for the Bruins to get off to a fast start. In game #1 there was never any doubt as Tuukka Rask was razor-sharp in shutting down the offensive-loaded Winnipeg Jets, 5-0. Jet forwards threw everything including the kitchen sink at Rask and he sticked asided all. Game #2 saw an equally phenomenal Rask as the Jets peppered him for even more shots than in game one and did score 3 goals. However that wasn't enough as Boston scored 4 times enroute to a 4-3 win. Rask was off the charts! Winnipeg scores 8 or more goals in a less than spectacular Rask. The Killer B's were now up two games to none and heading out to Winnipeg for games 3 and four. In game #3 the Bruins were hoping to steal one and chances were looking favorable as they tugged and pulled to a 4-2 lead into the third period. With Jet fans totally behind their team they kicked-started the offense. The Jets then rallied back late to tie the game at 4-4 and force an overtime. Fans were on their feet throughout the extra session and cheered even more loudly when the Jets scored about half way through to get the 5-4 win. The Jets offense was definately one to be reckoned with!
In game #4 the Bruins knew a win on the road would be tough but felt that they really needed to get one in Winnipeg nevertheless. Since they coughed up a two-goal lead in game #3, they came out with another 2-0 lead in this game and saw that shrink to 3-2 as the Jets were on the move. Going into the 3rd period, Winnipeg had pulled into a 3-3 tie and the momentum looked like it was in the Jets' favor at this point. After a short Boston time-out, the Bruins came out quickly and regained the lead at 4-3 and never looked back. With two more goals, the Bruins went away with a decisive 6-4 win and a happy plane ride back to Massachusetts. After arriving in Boston, champagne was put on ice in hopes that the Bruins would win the cup this night. Game five proved to be a wild one. Both teams were trading goals after some great end to end play. With the score tied at 3, the Bruins took the lead, 4-3 as the third period started. The Jets tied the score at four and battled to score a late goal (5-4) that looked like the winning goal and forcing a game six. As the puck was dropped with 3 seconds left on the clock, the Bruins center beat Pavelec on a blazer from just inside center ice to send the game into overtime. Boston fans were going nuts! The overtime period was a high-energy one as both teams were stymied several times to keep the game tied. But as they've done so many times this season, the Boston Bruins managed that one last goal (1:31 in) to win the game and the Cup and ignite a fan frenzy within TD Garden. Although the Bruins won the series in just 5 games, it was quite the series.
CONGRATULATIONS GO OUT TO THE SEASON #3 POTHL CHAMPION BOSTON BRUINS!
ROUND THREE OF PLAYOFFS IS NOW COMPLETE!
The Winnipeg Jets (60 points) hosted the Chicago Blackhawks (59 points) in the 3rd round of the playoffs. The winner would meet up with the Boston Bruins for the POTHL Cup.
In the first game the Blackhawks fought off a 1-0 deficit and got busy on offense. As Chicago pulled away, Corey Crawford made save after save to help keep the distance from the Winnipeg Jets high-scoring line. It was an action-packed first game that saw the Blackhawks take away home ice advantage from the Jets. Game #2 saw more of the same from Chicago's Crawford but this time he needed a bit more help. Ondrej Pavelec took a page from Crawford's book and shut down the Hawks offense enroute to a 2-1 Jets victory. The Jets again took a 1-0 lead and held on. With the series tied at one game each, the series shifted to Chicago for the next two games. In game #3 the Blackhawks were hoping to regain the momentum they had in the first game and skated out to a 3-1 lead into the third period. Winnipeg finally got something going when they pulled into a tie late in the stanza that seemed to deflate the Chicago hope. But the Jets momentum carried into the overtime session when they scored the winner half way through for the surprising 5-4 comeback win. In the fourth game it was another tight battle. As the home team did in each game, the Blackhawks scored the opening goal for the 1-0 lead. Goaltending dominated this game but it was the Jets skaters who took the upper hand when they held on for a 4-2 win which put them up 3 games to one. It was stated that the score could have been much higher had the goaltending not been world-class. And this sets us up for game #5 in Winnipeg. The Jets were hoping to ice the series with a home win and needed Pavelec to stay sharp. The Blackhawks came out strong and hard but could not penetrate the Winnipeg defense and were stopped time and time again by Ondrej Pavelec! The Jets had lots of great opportunities but could only muster four goals as Crawford was sharp. The 4 goals were plenty as Mr. Pavelec stopped them all enroute to a series-clinching 4-0 shutout. He was awarded the series MVP as the Jets defeated Chicago in 5 games after trailing 1-0 in the series. The Jets will now visit TD Gardens in Boston to start the POTHL Cup Finals!
ROUND TWO OF PLAYOFFS IS NOW COMPLETE!
The second round of the playoffs has concluded and was every bit as exciting as the first round. The third round will be starting on July 29th, Tuesday. But before we get to that, let's rehash the action-packed second round. Let's pick up with the Eastern Division series:
The Buffalo Sabres found themselves facing the rival Boston Bruins with the first two games being played at the TD Garden. In game one the Sabres surprised the Bruins with a 3-2 overtime win to take a 1-0 series lead. Buffalo scored 1:51 into the extra session on a deflection out front of Tuuka Rask for the winning goal. Game two was much different. Boston came out and dominated from beginning to end to easily beat the Sabres, 6-2 and evened the series. The series then shifted to Buffalo for the next two games but home ice didn't help the Sabres as the Bruins took a close 2-1 victory. Game #4 was of different nature as Boston hammered Buffalo, 7-0. Sabres fans were seen leaving the arena early and often under an echo of boos. It was an embarrassing loss as the Sabres looked totally overmatched. With the Bruins now up, 3-1 the series looked bleak for Buffalo. Game #5 was back in Boston where the champagne was on ice. Surprisingly the Sabres had something left in the tank to prolong their season as they surprised the Killer B's with a 5-3 win. It was a great battle that could have gone in either direction. The loss definately upset the Bruins. Game #6 was back in Buffalo and the Sabres were hoping to stave off elimination but recent home woes didn't favor that result. With the areana half full the Sabres came out and played a very aggressive style. The problem was, Boston loves that style and thrives on it. So in a hard-fought battle, the Bruins were able to handle Buffalo in a series-ending 4-1 win. Tuuka Rash was awesome down the stretch and made all the key saves to take Boston to the next step. Because the Bruins had the most regular season points, they get a bye before the Cup Finals begin. Congratulations goes out to the Boston Bruins!
In the Central Division we pick up with the Saint Louis/Chicago series. This series was expected to go the full seven games. Starting with game one, Chicago stormed out early and often as they surprised the Blues, 7-3. In the second game the Blues were hoping to start out quickly and they did by taking a 1-0 lead. That lead held up for awhile but the Blackhawks attacked quick to pull out to a 3-1 lead. The Blues are battlers and stormed back to narrow the gap to 3-2 but that was all they could do. The Blackhawks took a 2-0 series lead. The next two games were back in Saint Louis. The Blackhawks skated out to a 3-0 lead and the ending looked bleak for the Blues. Bu they reached deeply and pull out 3 goals to tie the game and force the overtime. In the first O.T., the Blues shocked Chicago with the game-winning goal. It was a great comeback by Saint Louis and could turn this series with that momentum on their side. Game #4 turned out to be a wild one. The Blackhawks were making sure to finish what they started and took a 5-2 lead, later the lead was 6-4 but Chicago seemed to be in control. But again the BLues were not done. The amazing Blues scored two goals in the last 24 seconds of regulation to force yet another overtime! The first extra session went scoreless...time for a 2nd O.T. This time though, Chicago go the breaks with a RW blast that beat Ryan Miller just 8 seconds in for the breathtaking win, 7-6! Game #5 was back in Chicago with champagne on ice. And what a great game this turned out to be. The checking and goaltending was at its best as the Blackhawks fought to hold a 3-2 lead. Then with Chicago on the attack again with just 34 seconds remaining, one of the under ice freezers (to the right of Miller) went on the fritz, causing a delay in the game. The game could not be repaired in a reasonable amount of time so the teams had to pack it in and move to another nearby arena to finish out the game! When the play resumed, Chicago scored on another blast from the right point to take a 4-2 lead and seal the win. It was a great series and much closer than the 4-1 outcome. Chicago now flies out to Winnipeg to take on the Jets for two games in round three.
Over in the Pacific Division the Edmonton Oilers were looking to have some road success while visiting the Winnipeg Jets for the next two games. But with the way the Jets have been playing, the task would prove to be difficult indeed. In the first game the Jets took flight and dominated Edmonton, 8-2 before a standing room only crowd. Game #2 again saw the Jets pull out the firepower to gain a 3-0 advantage. The Oilers, however woke up and battled back with two goals to cut the lead to 3-2. In the ensuing battle it was the Jets scoring the final tally to take a 2-0 series lead with the 4-2 victory. With the next two games in Edmonton it was time for the Oilers to shine or be done. In the next game the Oilers were the aggressors and skated out to a 4-1 lead. Winnipeg got it in gear and forced the overtime by scoring the next three goals. Once the extra session started, all fans were on their feet and screaming. The first session went scoreless with both teams having good chances to win. It finally ended in the 2nd O.T. when the Oilers scored the winner about 1/2 way through to get the 6-5 win and cut the series deficit to 2-1. Game #4 saw Winnipeg start quickly (again) and march out to a 4-0 lead to force the Oilers to get away from their style and alter their game plan. Edmonton tightened up and shut down the Jets the rest of the way but could only score two goals to take a 4-2 loss. Going into game five, Edmonton was still very confident that they could play with the Jets and even came out to a 3-1 lead into the 3rd period. What transpired in the next several minutes was disheartening for the Oilers and their fans. Edmonton was coasting along when the Jets quickly narrowed the lead to 3-2, then shortly after it was 3-3. An overtime session was next and Winnipeg wouldn't let up. The shock came 29 seconds later when the Jets scored on a nice shot from center that beat Ben Scrivens and that quick the season was over. The victory for Winnipeg sends them home to host the first two games against the Chicago Blackhawks in the next round.
The match-up for the Divisional Finals is as follows:
Games #1/2/5/7: Chicago at Winnipeg
Games #3/4/6: Winnipeg at Chicago
The winner will fly to Boston for the first two games to play the Boston Bruins for the POTHL Cup Finals!
ROUND ONE OF PLAYOFFS IS NOW COMPLETE!
The first round of the playoffs has concluded with some interesting surprises to say the least. The divisional finals will be starting next week but before that, let's rehash the action-packed first round. Let's pick up with the Eastern Division series:
The #4 seed Buffalo Sabres dug themselves into a hole (again) when they lost game #5 in New Jersey, 5-3. It was a very close checking game in which the Devils pulled out in the 3rd period to put the Sabres on the brink of elimination. In the next game in Buffalo both teams went back and forth throughout and could have gone either way. With good hard checking, the Sabres managed to get a lead at 4-2 and held on in a breath-taking win to even the series. This set up a game seven in New Jersey. The Sabres needed to do something quick to get the Devils reeling on their skates and they did just that. Buffalo stormed out to a 3-0 lead after one and took a 4-0 lead in the second. Low and behold the Devils answered in a flurry with 3 goals to pull within one at 4-3. The Sabres got a tip-in deflection goal to make it 5-3 then fought off the Devil comeback the rest of the way to get the 8-4 series win. Buffalo faces Boston in the next round.
In the other Eastern playoff matchup the Philadelphia Flyers played home against the Boston Bruins in game #5 and played their standard defensive game as they got the win, 5-2. Aside from the Bruins skating out to a 1-0 lead, it was all Flyers as they scored the next five goals. Philadelphia needed this formula in game #6 to prolong the series. However it wasn't to be. Boston came out with a 2-0 lead then saw the Flyers come back to tie it at 2-2. The momentum was going in the Flyers favor but the Bruins quickly dashed hopes as they scored the next two goals to get the series win at 4-2. It was quite the finish but somebody had to go. Philadelphia had quite the season.
In the Central Division we pick up with the Saint Louis/Nashville series. The Blues came into the night with a surprising 3-1 series advantage with the next game in Nashville. With the Predators backs against the wall this was do or die. The game was full of close checking and no mistakes. The match was very evenly played as the Predators tied it to force the overtime. Saint Louis got the first shot in OT and it was a bank shot off the left boards that made its way into the Predators net and to the right of Pekka Rinne just 20 seconds into the first overtime. The Blues finished off the Predators in 5 games in a very good series. The Blues once again found the formula that got them into the playoffs with close play and it worked very well in this series. The Blues now move on to face the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in round two.
In the next series it was Ottawa facing Chicago and down 3 games to one. The Senators hosted game five and came out on top, 3-1. This game followed the first 4 as they were tightly contested. The score was 1-1 midway through but Ottawa managed to score two 3rd period goals to prolong the Chicago celebration. Back in Chicago for game six the Senators found the Blackhawks looking to close it out as they had the lead and was keeping Ottawa from gaining any momentum. But the Senators reached down and found some luck and shocked the Hawks, 5-3 to even the series. Now it was the Blackhawks' turn to see if they could steal the series on the road. Ottawa came out quickly and took a 3-0 lead that would have put most teams into a tailspin, but not the defending champs. With lots of time to operate, Chicago played steady and kept their heads as they scored the next four goals to take a 4-3 lead. The battle was on! The third period was a barn-burner. The Blackhawks took the lead and held off a disappointed and shocked Ottawa club that outseeded them, 6-5. The series win entitles the Blackhawks home ice advantage against Saint Louis in the next series.
Over in the Pacific Division the Edmonton Oilers were in a quest to finish off the higher seeded Calgary Flames but first had to travel out to Calgary. The Flames took control of the game with a 3-0 lead and really didn't have much trouble holding off the Oilers. They cruised to a 5-3 victory but knew coming back to Edmonton would be a must-win situation. The Oilers have had home success (15 wins)all season and felt confident about taking care of business in their home rink. Edmonton started the game with a bang after a few early goals and never got much resistance from the Flames. Before the final buzzer it was 6-2 Oilers! They extinguished the Flames with good puck movement and good passing and that's all it took. The Oilers win matches them up against Winnipeg in round #2.
In the second series the #3 seed Winnipeg Jets started the night with a 3-1 series lead against the San Jose Sharks. Game five was at San Jose where the Sharks were sure to meet the challenge. The Sharks coach assured the fans that there wouldn't be any carry over from the two recent beatings (7-0 and 6-0) and vowed to make this a series. Combined with the last three games, the Jets had scored the last 18 goals of the series. Little did San Jose know that Winnipeg wasn't done adding to this total. The Jets have been unpredictable on the road all year and had been blanked in game #1 of this series, 5-0. In this game the Jets were full of fuel again and they came out smokin'! Winnipeg shot out to a 5-0 and had Shark fans booing and littering the ice by the end of the first period. Overall the Jets scored 23 straight goals against the Sharks. Unbelievable! The Sharks finally scored amidst showering boos from the crowd and it was all over before you knew it. The Jets hammered out a 6-1 series ending win and will face Edmonton in the next round. Winnipeg outscored San Jose in the series, 24-6! The Sharks scored three goals in the final 4 games in this series. Series MVP Ondrej Pavelec came within 4 minutes of having three consecutive shutouts when the Sharks scored to close to 5-1.
The match-ups for the next series are as follows.
Eastern Division - Buffalo vs. Boston
Central Division - Saint Louis vs. Chicago
Pacific Division - Edmonton vs. Winnipeg
ROUND ONE OF PLAYOFFS: GAMES #3 AND #4 IN THE BOOKS!
The POTHL playoffs have now completed the first 4 games in the first round. All series were knotted up after games one and two but after games thee and four there is a different scenario. Let's start out with the Eastern Division series:
The #4 seed Buffalo Sabres were home for the next few games and were hoping to take advantage of that. The Sabres and Devils started the battle with high intensity as the Sabres took a 2-1 lead midway through. The Devils, being the fitting team that they are, stormed back and took a 3-2 lead that they held on to. This was a helluva game indeed! The goaltending was unbelievable on both sides. Buffalo looked to outplay New Jersey most of the game but that's not always what wins games. Game #4 was a barn-buner too. It was another dozey as expected. In this one the Sabres had two (2) goal leads and had to fight like hell to keep the Devils down. With 4-2 and 5-3 leads, New Jersey went full throttle and fell a goal short in the 5-4 Buffalo win. The series is now tied at two games each.
In the other Eastern playoff matchup the Philadelphia Flyers visited the Boston Bruins for a few games in a series that was tied 1-1. In the opening game in Boston, the teams faced off in a tight battle that the score did not reflect. The Killer B's won, 6-3 in a game that was close until the end. Boston took advantage of some beneficial bounces and hops and banks and won this pivotal game going away. In game #4 the Flyers vowed to make up for the loss. But it was the Bruins who took a 3-1 lead into the third period. Philadelphia chipped away, got great goaltending and tied the score with just 13 seconds left to force the overtime. A right-wing blast found the glove or Rask but after he juggled it, it fell into the net. In the overtime period the Flyers took control of the puck as the left defensemen cleared the puck out to the right side. The puck was intercepted by the Bruins left defenseman at the point and blasted past an unexpecting Steve Mason. 18 seconds into O.T., it was all over. The Bruins now lead the series, 3-1.
In the Central Division we had a couple of good series as well. For starters we pick up in Saint Louis were the Blues hosted Nashville for two games. In the first game we saw an absolute crazy one. The Predators came out early to score on a center slap shot and it was 1-0. However the Blues would generated many scoring chances, just enough to muster 5 goals and beat the Preds, 5-4. Saint Louis missed alot of center chances and heavily outplayed Nashville. The close score didn't do the game justice. With their backs against the wall, the Predators were hoping to pull even in game #4 but Saint Louis had an even stronger game. They had some good bounces and dominated the beaten Predators again, 6-2. The Blues surprisingly have a 3-1 series lead against the President's Cup champs.
In the next series it was #3 Chicago at home versus the #2 seed Ottawa Senators for two games. The first two games of this series were barn-burners so it was no surprise that the series was tied at one going into Chi-town. Game #3 was no different as this game matched the first two games in intensity. The Blackhawks were clinging to a 2-0 lead when the Senators finally beat Corey Crawford to pull to 2-1. But Chicago closed out the game with the lead and a 2-1 series lead. In the 4th game the intensity was magnified if that was even possible. Again the Blackhawks came out on top, 3-2. Crawford was the story here again as both teams had numerous scoring chances. Not surprisingly, the defending champs now have a 3-1 series lead.
Last but not least is the Pacific Division duels. The Calgary Flames visited the Edmonton Oilers for two games and with the series tied, this promised to be a great couple of games. In the first of two, Ben Scrivens proved to be too sharp to break as the Oilers scored a 4-1 win. Calgary played a nice game but couldn't match the Edmonton defense. In the next game the scoring was up a bit. It was more of a wide open style of play that the Oilers like. They took a lead and found the pesky Flames right on their heels most of the way. Edmonton kept their space and never really allowed the Flames to fully ignite. The final result was a 6-4 Oilers win. Edmonton now lead this series, 3-1!
In the second series we saw the #3 seed Winnipeg Jets hosting the San Jose Sharks for two games. Coming into the series all was knotted at one game each. San Jose started out well but couldn't get on the board. In fact the Sharks hardly threatened the rest of the game as Winnipeg totally outplayed them in every facet of the game. Before long the game was out of control and the Jets flew to an easy 6-0 victory. Ondrej Pavelec was rarely tested in this easy shutout. In the fourth game of the series, the Jets caught the Sharks off balance again. The Sharks made a goaltending change when they substituted Alex Stalock in place of Antii Niemi but none of that mattered. San Jose also made a few line changes to try and match up better with Winnipeg but again, nothing mattered. The Jets flew off again to a dominant 7-0 victory this time to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Having scored the last 5 goals in game #2, the Jets have now scored the last 18 goals in this series!
So we had a great first two nights of the playoffs and look to have more final results after the 3rd meeting which will happen within the next week. So stay tuned for much more!
ROUND ONE OF PLAYOFFS: GAMES #1 AND #2 IN THE BOOKS!
The POTHL playoffs have finally begun. With 12 teams and six series ready to go, all were excited to get this thing started. Let's start out with the Eastern Division series:
The #4 seed Buffalo Sabres went up against the #1 seed New Jersey Devils with both games at New Jersey. Game one saw the Devils easily take it to the Sabres, 7-3. The Devils came out prepared and the Sabres, a bit unprepared. The Devils took an early lead and never looked back as the Sabres were just happy to come out alive. Buffalo shook that off and went into game #2 looking to even the series. It didn't look good from the outset as the Devils stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Somehow the Sabres woke up, caught a few breaks and rallied back to score the next six goals as they stunned New Jersey, 6-3 to even the series.
The #3 seed Boston Bruins went up against the #2 seed Philadelphia Flyers with both games at Philadelphia. The Bruins were 1-0-3 against the Flyers on the season and took that with them into the first game. Tuuka Rask was sharp as the Killer B's stole home ice advantage with a 3-0 surprise win. But it was the Flyers who made some nice adjustments in game #2 and reversed the tide as they handled Boston, 4-1 to knot the series. Philadelphia went back to its stingy defense and put Boston against the ropes. This series looks like it's going to be a classic.
In the Central Division we had a couple of good series as well. In the first series we saw the #4 seed Saint Louis Blues visiting the league-leading Nashville Predators for two games. In game one the Predators drew first blood and never let up as they had the Blues reeling. The Blues never got close as Nashville rolled to a 6-3 victory. But in game #2 Saint Louis made some nice adjustments and surprised the Preds with a series tying 2-0 shutout. Ryan Miller was strong as he kept Nashville out of the net. Series tied at one game.
In the next series it was #3 Chicago visiting the #2 seed Ottawa Senators for two games. Both teams look evenly matched but it was the Senators who took the first game, 3-2. Both teams battled hard as Ottawa had to hold off a late Chicago rally to get the win. Game #2 was very similar in intensity but it was the Blackhawks turn. They scored on a RW slapper with 13 seconds left to avoid overtime and earn the series tying win, 5-4.
Last but not least was the Pacific Division duels. The #4 seed Edmonton Oilers visited the #1 seed Calgary Flames for two games. Given the fact that the Oilers are the league's hottest team coming into the playoffs we were expecting a great match. The Oilers won the season series over the Flames, 3-1. In game #1 it was all Calgary early as they pulled out to a 4-1 lead. It was a wide-open contest that saw Edmonton rally back to make a good game of it but fell short, 5-4. The second game was a see-saw battle as both teams had good chances. The Oilers got the better deal as they prevailed for the 4-3 series tying win. This will be another series expected to go the distance.
In the second series we saw the #3 seed Winnipeg Jets travel to San Jose to take on the Sharks for two games. In game #1 the Sharks completely dominated all facets of the game enroute to a 5-0 shutout. Antti Niemi didn't have much of a challenge in this one as San Jose controlled the game. But it was the Jets who made some adjustments in game #2. The Sharks again took control early and had a 2-0 lead looking to repeat their game one performance. The Jets finally ignited after getting a break and went on to score the next five goals to get the 5-2 win. Once Winnipeg got rolling it was though San Jose backed off. The road win for the Jets was huge.
So we had a great first night of the playoffs with all six series tied at 1 game apiece! Stay tuned for more.
FINAL REGULAR SEASON MEETING INCLUDES 18 GAMES!
There was still plenty to play for even going into the final meeting of the regular season for several teams. This was a long night as 18 games were played instead of the 15 game standard. Most every game had meaning and that's what makes this league so good. Let's start out in the Eastern Division where it was first announced last week that the New Jersey Devils had clinched 1st place overall. What a mistake that was! In fact the Devils had clinched the East only because Calgary and Nashville still had a chance at that spot. As it turned out, New Jersey were jinxed because after they suffered a 3-2 road setback to lowly Tampa Bay, the Predators were able to get three out of 4 points to sneak past the Devils (69-68) and claim the President's Trophy as league #1. Should be interesting to see how the Devils deal with this setback going into the playoffs, huh?
In other Eastern developments the Philadelphia Flyers shut down the Buffalo Sabres (2-0) in a showdown for second place to take the #2 seed and the Boston Bruins played their typical style to defeat the New York Rangers (3-2) and settle into third place. The Pittsburgh Penguins got back to their fearful selves as they won their last three games of the season when the hammered Washington, 6-2. The effort was too little, too late as the Pens finished in 6th place after leading the division most of the season.
The Eastern Division playoff format is set up as follows:
New Jersey gets home ice over Buffalo and Philadelphia gets home ice against Boston. I don't know about you but I can't wait for the Flyers/Bruins showdown! The Sabres went 2-1-1 against the Devils on the season and the Bruins hold a 1-0-3 advantage over the Flyers.
Over in the Central Division there was alot at stake as well. Nashville outdueled Ottawa to take the crown (and overall league crown) after they battled Toronto to a 2-2 tie then beat Chicago, 4-1 to gain 3 points on the night. The Senators fell very short in an effort to take the top spot when they were embarrassed with a 7-1 home loss to Detroit in which were terribly outplayed. They broke the shutout with 2 seconds left with the area practically empty. The Blackhawks didn't fare any better as they suffered two road losses to remain in 3rd place but the heart-stopper of the night had to be with the Saint Louis Blues. Having lost their previous 3 games and in a bit of a flux, they pulled off a miraculous 3rd period surge to tie Montreal, 5-5. They were down 5-3 in the 3rd period and looked hopeless. They had scored the Canadiens 4th goal into their own net to make matters worse! And with the tie they were able to retain the 4th and final spot in the division. The Red Wings stormed back to tie them in points but the Blues were awarded the playoffs because they had more wins (26-23).
The Central Division playoff format is set up as follows:
Nashville gets home ice over Saint Louis and Ottawa gets home ice against the defending champ Chicago Blackhawks. The Predators took the season series against the Blues, 2-1-1. The Blackhawks and Senators come in tied at 2-2.
Over in the Pacific Division it would come down to the season's final game #720 as it paired up Calgary at San Jose to decide the division crown. The Flames went into San Jose and took the game, 4-2 in a high energy contest. That game decided the top two spots. However coming into the night the Anaheim Ducks had 3rd place but fell flat as they lost both games, scoring only 2 goals to miss out on the playoffs! This certainly came as a shock. In contrast to the Duck's demise the Winnipeg Jets flew into 3rd place when they won both of their home games and looked good doing it (5-3 over Vancouver and 4-2 over L.A.). And last but not least, the Edmonton Oilers managed to take the 4th and final spot as they registered 3 out of 4 points when they tied at Colorado (4-4) and handled the Ducks 5-1 at home. With those points the Oilers come into the playoffs as the league's hottest team gaining 17 points out of a possible 22 (7-1-3) points.
The Pacific Division playoff format is set up as follows:
Calgary gets home ice over Edmonton and San Jose gets home ice over Winnipeg. In the regular season match-ups the Oilers handled the Flames , 3-1 and the Jets took the Sharks, 2-1-1. Looks like interesting match-ups for sure!
45TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Fifteen more games played and still alot to be decided. There is only one more regular season meeting (18 games) and every team will have played 60 games. This has been the best season yet in the POTHL. So let's start out with the Eastern Division. The New Jersey Devils have finally clinched the division and 1st overall. They accomplished this having lost to the Philadelphia Flyers, 6-5 but with Buffalo losing to Pittsburgh (5-1) earlier in the day, the Devils clinched. Later in the day the Sabres beat Tampa Bay to put them into second place and clinch a playoff spot, their first ever. The Flyer win moved them ahead of Boston into 3rd place as the Bruins lost to Pittsburgh, 6-3. Regardless all four playoff spots have been clinched because the Washington Capitals failed miserably at home when they took a 9-5 loss at the hands of the resurgent New York Rangers.
Over in the Central Division things have gotten quite interesting for the 4th and final playoff spot. Both Ottawa and Nashville won to keep both in a dog fight until the finish to see who finally finishes at the top of the division. The Chicago Blackhawks leap-frogged over the suddendly slumping Saint Louis Blues when they easily handled the Montreal Canadiens, 5-1. The Blues lost two crucial home games (5-2 to the Predators and 9-3 to Detroit) to set up a final day battle between the Blues and Red Wings for the final spot. The Blues will host the Canadiens first then the Red Wings will be visiting the Senators. A win by the Blues puts them in. A loss by the Blues allows Detroit the opportunity to win to get 4th place. Saint Louis now leads Detroit by one point (58-57).
Over in the Pacific Division things are still very much undecided. A Calgary Flames 4-3 win over Winnipeg coupled with a San Jose 5-2 to loss at the hands of Vancouver gives the Flames the edge heading into the final two games. Calgary now leads the division by 2 points. Making this division even more interesting is the loss by the Anaheim Ducks (9-3 to Colorado) and the Jets loss to the Flames. Both teams had a chance to lock up a playoff spot but failed to do so. However the Edmonton Oilers took advantage when they defeated the Los Angeles Kings, 5-4. The Canucks did the same when they surprised the Sharks, 5-2. This scenario sets up an exciting situation in the final meeting as four teams will vie for the final two spots in the division!
The final league meeting will take place on June 17th in Pasadena. Hold onto your hats fellas!
44TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The league resumes play after some vacation time off. The league commissioners were in Florida and Hawaii and now back, are finally ready to get back to the playoff run. Most teams have now played 58 games (some at 57 games) and there are still playoff spots still undetermined. In the Eastern Division, New Jersey has all but sewed up the league's best record after two wins (7-1 vs Pittsburgh and 3-1 vs Washington) to give them 68 points. They haven't clinched the division but did clinch a playoff spot. Philadelphia fell short by losing two homes games, Buffalo and Washington skated to a tie and Boston managed one win to take over 2nd place and 2nd overall. With a 3-1 loss, Washington is barely holding on to get the final spot. The Pittsburgh Penguins 7-1 loss eliminates them from the hunt. What ashame as the Pens played great all season until the past month or so when they totally collapsed. In fact the New York Rangers, playing under the radar have overtaken Pittsburgh for 5th place after they defeated the Flyers, 5-2.
Over in the Central Division it's still a two team race for the top spot. Both Ottawa and Nashville won their games to stay tied with 64 points. Chicago's 3-2 comeback win over Toronto keeps them in 4th and eliminates the Maple Leafs. The Leafs squandered a 2-0 lead in this devastating loss. The Saint Louis Blues came back down to earth as they lost, 6-3 to the Senators. The Blues are still holding onto the 3rd spot, just one point ahead of the Blackhawks. Detroit won its showdown with Montreal, 8-3 in a surprise route. The win keeps the Red Wings close but there is still lots of work to do.
Over in the Pacific Division the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames each won their games and they too share the top spot with 63 points. The big news is the Anaheim Ducks who went into Winnipeg, got outplayed by the Jets but came out 2-1 winners. The win puts them into third place and greatly helps their playoff chances now with 57 points. The Jets fall back into 4th place with 56 points. Another showdown of sorts took place in Edmonton when the Vancouver Canucks paid them a visit. The much-anticipated hard fought battle saw the Oilers surface to victory,5-3. The loss just about kills the Canucks chances but the Oilers at 54 points still have hope with 3 games left to play. At the bottom of the division the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings fell deeper after losing. Both have been eliminated from the playoff hunt.
The next meeting with be June 12th in Pasadena. And in looking at the 15 games on the schedule, all look to be meaningful. So hold onto your hats and let's see what takes place.
43RD MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Another league meeting and there are still playoff spots to be determined. Each team has now played 56 games of the sixty game schedule and only a few teams have clinched playoff spots and just a few more have been eliminated. In the Eastern division there is still some flip-flopping going on with all 4 playoff spots. The current leader is once again the New Jersey Devils. The Philadelphia Flyers have moved into a points tie with them but the Devils have more wins. The Devils and the Buffalo Sabres skated to a 2-all tie whereas the Flyers shut down the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1. The Broad Street Bullies are the league's hottest team, having allowed just 11 goals in their past 7 games. Their goals against average is by far the best in the league. With the battle still raging hot and heavy atop the East, the Washington Capitals took a devastating loss at Boston (5-2) to remain in the 5th spot, now 3 points back of the 4th and final playoff spot. Their playoffs chances now look improbable at best. The Pittsburgh Penguins learned of a different fate after their 4-3 loss at New York. They rallied late against the Rangers but fell short. The loss knocks them out of the playoff picture. The Pens led the division a good portion of the season and had been 17-9-6 as of early January. Now they sit just one point ahead of the Rangers in 6th place. Speaking of the Rangers, they have been doing a good job playing the spoiler roll. They've beaten the Devils, Sabres and Penguins and have a chance to do more damage; perhaps move into 6th place.
Taking a look at the Central division the Ottawa Senators remain at the top after beating Chicago, 5-4. They can't relax because the Nashville Predators are hot on their heels after a 5-4 road win at Detroit. Although the teams are tied with 62 points, the Senators own the tie-breaker. The good news is: With both teams having won, they clinched a playoff spot. The Saint Louis Blues are still rocking as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-1. The Blues have won their last 4 games and 6 of the past seven to remain hot. Goaltending seems to be the key here as Ryan Miller has stayed hot. The Montreal Canadiens are also playing quite well. After handing the Minnesota Wild a 5-4 loss, they are 6-1-1 in their past 8 games. Before this streak they looked like a beaten team. The rest of the division didn't fare too well as the Red Wings also lost. Currently the Blackhawks have a 2 point lead for the final playoff spot. However they haven't played well and find the Canadiens and Red Wings breathing down their backs.
Taking a look at the Pacific division there is still alot of uncertainty. All eight teams still have a chance for the playoffs with just four games remaining. However the Calgary Flames have once again leap-frogged the San Jose Sharks for the top spot after beating the Anaheim Ducks, 7-3. The Sharks hung tough as they battled to two (3-3) ties. The Winnipeg Jets moved into sole possession of 3rd place as they skated to a tie with the Sharks and handled the Colorado Avalanche rather easily, 6-2. The Ducks could only muster one point and sit just one point behind the Jets in 4th place. Of the bottom half of the division, two teams did well and the other two, not so well. Starting off with the Vancouver Canucks they played the Ducks to a 3-3 draw, then went into Los Angeles to play the well-rested Kings and took care of business there, 6-2. The Edmonton Oilers did the same as they hammered the Flames, 6-1, then flew out to San Jose and drew with the Sharks, 3-3. Both teams are very much in the hunt for the final spot. Unfortunately the Avalanche had the Jets to deal with. After going 2-0-1 against Winnipeg on the season, the Jets finally got the upper hand and dominated the Avs with a 6-2 thumping. The timing couldn't have been worse for Colorado. As mentioned earlier, the Kings loss keeps them in the basement with the Avs. Their chances look bleak but both teams still have an outside chance.
Stayed tuned for more...this is just getting started!!
42ND MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
With each meeting we find more exciting changes and this one didn't disappoint the viewers. Most teams have now played 55 games and the 60 game mark is looming just around the corner. Tonight's focus was on the Pacific Division as most of those teams participated in two games. What we know after this meeting is this: The Eastern division will see heartache and more than likely come down to the final meeting to determine the fate of the remaining 7 teams fighting for playoff spots. Sadly we learned after tonight that the Tampa Bay Lightning have been eliminated from contention even after their 8-4 pounding over Pittsburgh. The New York Rangers staved off eliminated after they beat Buffalo, 4-1. It seems like they like playing the roll of spoilers, having just dealt New Jersey with a 9-4 drubbing just last week. As well the Penguins fate looms close when they suffered the loss to the Lightning. They now sit six points out of the final spot with just 10 points on the table. Moving into the Central Division we now find someone else occupying the top spot other than Nashville. Hello Ottawa! The Predators continue to fall apart defensively and have been outscored 22-7 in the past three games. The Senators took advantage of their recent 9-1 loss and beat Toronto, 2-1. Both teams are actually tied with 60 points but the Senators own the tie-breaker. In other developments, Saint Louis woke up and have started to play for their lives as they won two bigs games (7-1 at Minnesota and a 4-2 home win against Chicago). They now sit alone in 3rd place, just 4 points out of the top spot. Oddly enough it looked like Nashville had wrapped up this division about a month ago after they had (2) eight point leads. Can the Predators pick it up? It's not too late. Next we come to the Blackhawks who lost both of their games and now site alone in the 4th spot. However they have close company in Detroit, Toronto and Montreal who have shown that they aren't done just yet. But one thing we can say for sure is that the Minnesota Wild have now been officially eliminated from the playoff hunt. However they haven't showed any quit as they promptly beat the Red Wings, 4-3 moments after learning of their unfortunate fate. Looking back into the Pacific race, things don't seem to be any more clearer there either. With San Jose and Calgary jockeying for the top spot in recent weeks, the Sharks now claim 1st place after rallying back late for a 2-2 tie at Colorado. Earlier in the evening it was the Flames turn to take the top spot after overcoming a 2-0 deficit against Vancouver and finishing with a 4-2 win. It's quite probable that both teams will be going to the playoffs with a nice 5 point lead over 3rd place Anaheim. Now the rest of the division is another story. The Winnipeg Jets now occupy 4th place and have a 4 point cushion over the rest of the division (Edmonton, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Colorado), all who have 49 points. What a mess this has turned out to be!
So stay tuned for more. This is going to be a barn-burner of a finish!
41ST MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Each article talks about how the league is winding down and all the races that have yet been undecided. This article will follow suit because finding it hard to imagine, the races are getting even tighter after our latest 15 games. At this point of the season most teams have now played 54 games so that means every point is of utmost importance. See below for the exciting detail summaries:
The Buffalo Sabres were thinking "clinch" and hoping to wrap up a playoff spot as they had two home games scheduled. Unfortunately they faced the two hottest teams on the planet in Philadelphia and Boston. The Flyers checked their way to a 3-2 win and Boston pulled a similar stunt when they nipped the Sabres, 4-2 in game #10. With that being said, the New Jersey Devils got quite a beating in their only game of the night when they were dominated by rival New York, 9-4. With the top two teams losing it left the door open for the other hungry teams sitting just below. The Flyers had a tough task ahead with two road games but came through in full color when they later added a win in Pittburgh, 6-2. The two wins put Philly just 2 points behind league-leading Buffalo with six games remaining. To make the logjam a bit more interesting, the Washington Capitals defeated Tampa Bay by a 4-1 margin to pull 2 back of Buffalo as well. The top 5 teams are now separated by just a mere two points in what has become the best race in the league! In a side note, the Lightning loss eliminated them from any chance of making it to the post-season.
Like the Sabres in the Eastern, the Nashville Predators were looking to clinch a playoff spot as they had two games on the schedule. The problem was is that they forgot to show up and lost both (6-3 to Chicago and 7-3 to Ottawa). In contrast to the Predators, the Senators had two road games and came through strong with a 6-4 win in Detroit and the forementioned win (7-3) at Nashville. The Senators are now just 2 points behind the Preds for the division lead (60-58). The Blackhawks kept their #3 spot with the win against the Predators and the Saint Louis Blues jumped into the #4 position with a hard-fought 3-1 win at Montreal. The Red Wings home loss certainly didn't help their chances and now they have tight company with Toronto who picked up a 3-point night with a 7-3 home win over Minnesota and a 4-4 draw with the Canadiens. The Habs only picked up 1 point but are still in the thick of the race. The Wild loss still leaves them hanging by a thread. The best they can do now is finish in the #3 spot but that looks highly unlikely as they trail the fourth place Blues by 9 points with only 14 attainable points left on the board.
The story here is who will finally step up to claim the division. For the past few meetings the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames have flip-flopped in the top two spots. Once again we see the Sharks back in first after going into Calgary and handing them a 6-3 shellacking! The Jets didn't do themselves any favors either as they took a 6-4 loss in Los Angeles. They still keep the third spot in the division but now have close company as the Anaheim Ducks took it to Edmonton, 9-2. The Ducks now trail Winnipeg by just one point. Vancouver was impressive in their balls to the wall win in Colorado, 3-2. For the time being they are claiming the final playoff spot, just one point ahead of the Kings. Bringing up the rear are the Avalanche and the Oilers who are tied at the bottom with 47 points. Nevertheless both teams are still very much in the hunt as they both sit just 5 points out of the picture. Perhaps one, if not both, will turn it on down the stretch to make the playoffs? Only time well tell.
40TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
After the most recent series of games, most teams are up to 53 games played. We are now on the stretch run. It looks like only a few teams may be out of the playoff hunt but no team is officially eliminated...yet. In the Eastern division, things continue to be tight. With Buffalo winning and New Jersey getting a tie, the Sabres are now on top of the division and the league with 62 points. The Boston Bruins are once again on a hot streak as they had a win and a tie to pull into 3rd place with 59 points. They are once again a threat to take the division. As well the Washington Capitals are hot. They won both games (home and away) and are knocking on the door to 1st place. The Pittsburgh Penguins went on the road and lost both games. They are in real trouble of not making the playoffs. After the season they've had, it would be a shame for them to miss out of the big dance.
Over in the Central the Nashvillle Predators are still rolling along after a 4-2 win against Toronto. The Predators now lead the division by six points. Ottawa and Saint Louis lost their games which didn't help them but it did help Detroit, Chicago and Montreal who are coming on strong. What a logjam this division has become! The Minnesota Wild probably cost themselves a chance at the playoffs as their late rally fell short at Chicago (4-3 loss).
Over in the Pacific division, Calgary and San Jose have been flip-flopping in the top spot. After this past session of games the scenario is no different. The Flames reeled off a 4-2 victory over the slumping L.A. Kings. The Sharks lost a home game (5-3) to the Anaheim Ducks who won't go away. The Winnipeg Jets got a stellar game from Al Montoya as they blanked Vancouver, 4-0 to vastly improve their playoff chances. Meanwhile the Colorado Avalanche's chances took a swift kick to the groin with a 3-2 setback to Edmonton. The loss almost certainly knocks the Avs out of contention but not mathematically. On the other side of the coin, the win for the Oilers puts them back in the hunt.
Stay tuned for more hockey on Thursday, May 7th in Pasadena!
39TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The games are getting hot and heavy now that we've passed the 50 game mark. In fact all teams have now played 51 games on the season and only nine more remain. Amazingly the races are still on in every division and most are still very tight. All divisions are so tight that we expect to see standings change by the game. Perhaps only Tampa Bay and New York might be out, barring a miracle run. This leaves 22 of the league's 24 teams still in the hunt! Now for the action:
In the Eastern Division: There are now two teams tied for 1st after New Jersey battled to a 3 all game with Washington and Buffalo lost a tough road game in Pittsburgh (4-3). Both teams lead the league with 60 points. Six of the 8 teams were involved in ties so there wasn't alot of change in the standings. As the season winds down the races have gotten tighter. New York was hoping to get a home win against lowly Tampa Bay and pull a bit closer to the pack but the Lightning had other ideas. Both teams battled to a 1-1 tie instead. Perhaps this tie damaged the Rangers hope for a playoff spot. As it stands now the Lightning are 11 points out of the final playoff spot with only 18 points remaining. Doing the math, their chances look slim at best.
In the Central Division the Nashville Predators continue as the leaders although they looked bad in a 5-2 home loss to Saint Louis. In fact the top three teams all lost and have left it up to the middle teams to make a move. The Blues saw the opening and took it. They now have sole possession of the final playoff spot, only one point ahead of Detroit who beat Toronto, 4-1. And let's not forget Montreal. Carey Price has now posted back-to-back shutouts as the Canadiens easily handled Chicago, 4-0. The Habs now sit just 4 points behind the Blues for the final spot. But perhaps the biggest story within the division is the Minnesota Wild after they desperately defeated the Senators, 4-3 in Ottawa. A loss would have more than likely eliminated them from post season hopes. If the Wild can play like this then they're not finished yet. However Minnesota still sits 7 points out of the 4th spot.
In the Pacific Division the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames have flip-flopped a few times as that race has really tightened. In the latest games the Flames fell short in two road games and got handled easily in both. That didn't bode well with the coaching staff as they fear the team could collapse as they did last season. They were outscored, 11-4 in the two losses. On the other side of the coin, the Sharks made certain that they were well rested and came out and hammered Vancouver, 7-2. The win allows the Sharks to jump the Flames for the top spot again. Winnipeg played two strong games but only collected 2 points with a 5-1 win over the Flames. The Anaheim Ducks had a chance to jump into a comfortable spot but could only get one win. However it was enough (at least for now) to grab the 4th spot all alone. The Canucks played a 4-4 tie, then lost their second game to get one point. The Los Angeles Kings looked bad in their only game on the night, a 5-3 home loss to Edmonton. L.A. fans could be heard booing loudly throughout that game. And to make matters worse, the two bottom teams in the division had very productive nights. The Colorado Avalanche played lights out with two big wins (1 home, 1 away) to move just one point back of the Ducks for the 4th spot. As well, the Oilers did themselves a huge favor and picked up 3 points on the road! The "last place" Oilers now find themselves just three points out of the playoffs. Wow!
Stay tuned for our crazy and exciting stretch run!
37TH AND 38TH MEETINGS INCLUDES 30 GAMES!
There were back to back meetings this week in the POTHL (Wednesday and Thursday) so the 30 games played will be combined into one. All teams played multipled games and all but six teams are now up to the 50 game mark on the schedule.
In the Eastern Division a new leader sits atop the pack and it's the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo has lost just 2 of their past eighteen games and benefited from New Jersey's mini 3-game loss streak to take over the top spot with 60 points, one ahead of the Devils. The Boston Bruins are still staying strong and have moved up into the thick of things and have both the Sabres and Devils looking over their shoulders. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are going at it hard and are very close behind. In a change of events, the Washington Capitals have fallen on hard times with recent losses including a 9-3 whipping by the Bruins and an 8-3 thrashing by the Sabres.
In the Central Division the Nashville Predators continue as the leaders although it hasn't been easy. Constant pressure from the Ottawa Senators continues but now they've falled 4 points back. In the middle there are 4 teams in a dogfight and that's Toronto, Chicago, Saint Louis and Detroit. These teams have jumped all around in the standings over the past month or so and that trend looks to continue until the season's end. Montreal and Minnesota have played too inconsistently to be in this conversation.
In the Pacific Division the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames have flip-flopped a few times as that race has really tightened. And now with just ten games remaining, one can only imagine how that will turn out. In the middle of the division the Winnipeg Jets seem to be the most consistent team as they have 3rd place all their own after a few higly offensive games. The remainder of the division doesn't see any standout teams aside from possibly the Vancouver Canucks who now have back-to-back wins in which they've scored 8 goals in each. If that trend continues, the Canucks could be the sleeper team. And for all intense and purposes it looks like the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche will be on the outside looking in. Perhaps time will tell.
Stay tuned for our crazy and exciting stretch run!
36TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The league started back with inter-divisional play as teams played game #47 (some have now played 48). It's been awhile since these matchups last met and alot has happened since. The Eastern divisional play got it started and with that, play-off style hockey. Talk about nail-biters? Many of these games were very low scoring and went down to the buzzer to decide fate. The front-running New Jersey Devils suffered two rare losses, losing 3-1 to New York then lost to Boston, 3-2. The Buffalo Sabres won two games in similar fashion (2-1 over the Bruins and 3-2 over the Rangers. The Boston Bruins went 1-1 in similar game fashion. The Washington Capitals broke out of their quiet streak by winning two games (4-3 over Tampa Bay and 7-1 over Philadelphia) and moved right back into the thick of things. To sum up the East, it's going to be a barn-burner until the end and some very good teams are simply going to miss out.
In the Central division, Nashville did what it had to to stay atop the division with a 4-all tie with Ottawa. That was quite the battle. Montreal showed some life by downing Toronto, 4-2 and Minnesota surprised Saint Louis, 6-2. In the other divisional game, the Red Wings and Blackhawks skated to a 3-3 tie. The race in the standings is still a logjam of sorts with the Predators maintaining a slim 2 point lead over the resurgent Senators.
In the Pacific divsion, each team played one game on the day. Front-running San Jose easily disposed of slumping Colorado, 5-1 to keep a slim hold at the top. Meanwhile, Calgary played a nice road game at Vancouver and handed them a 5-2 drubbing to keep pace with the Sharks. Other big winners were the Edmonton Oilers who surprised the hot Winnipeg Jets, 6-2. This game was acutally close until the 3rd period when the Oilers pulled away for the win. The Anaheim Ducks were also winners as they rallied back to beat the Los Angeles Kings, 4-2. As it stands now, the Avalanche look out of the running as they have slipped further in the standings in their loss to the Sharks. They have an EVEN plus/minus and showed that they can stay in games but now will have to play even better to get back in the hunt.
Stay tuned for more!
35TH MEETING INCLUDES 27 GAMES!
As of this writing, all teams have reached the 46 game mark and are ready to play teams in their own divisions again. In our latest meeting we played a marathon of sorts as we spent several hours on Saturday playing a total of 27 games. All teams participated and some (Ottawa & Calgary) played four games each. Needless to say there was plenty of action to be seen and a good shift in league standings by its conclusion. We had some surprising results and some not so surprising results. The league saw some bottom teams take control and start a charge and some other bottom teams take a deeper plunge into the unknown. Perhaps the most unfortunate turn of events came by way of Montreal as the Canadiens suffered two key injuries in the same game. The center and right winger were able to continue play but limped along throughout their three losses. Such is life in the POTHL!
Now for the action:
The New Jersey Devils are back on their usual tear as they won both games (3-0 over Winnipeg and 5-2 over Nashville) to remain #1 in the division and #1 overall. Their defense and goaltending are doing a tremendous job dominating games and looks to be a favorite to win the POTHL cup as of this posting. The Buffalo Sabres did just enough (2-2 tie with Colorado) to keep in the 2nd spot but the Boston Bruins 7-2 win over the Avalanche moves them within 1 point of Buffalo. The Philadelphia Flyers kept with their stingy defensive style and nipped Edmonton, 3-1 to keep the pressure on the top as both Washington and Pittsburgh took a step back. As of now, both teams are out of the playoffs if the season ended today. Further down in the division, the New York Rangers woke up and took in 5 points (2-0-1) as they look to make a playoff push again. Tampa Bay racked up 3 of a possible four points and served notice that they are not done either.
Division leading Nashville knew they had a tough task at hand on their 3-game road trip (Edmonton, Calgary & New Jersey) and were hoping to put a stranglehold on the top spot in the division. Hope? Not so fast. Although they played pretty well in all games, they lost all three. Their 8 point lead has dwindled down to two as the Ottawa Senators had a 2-0-2 run and now have momentum for the stretch run. Saint Louis and Toronto split their two games and Detroit could only muster a 2-2 tie with Pittsburgh to stay in the pack. But the big surprise in the division was watching the Chicago Blackhawks go on the road for two (Calgary & Washington) and shut down both teams to pick up a big 4 points. What a race we now have in this division! It looks like two teams will suffer heartbreak when it's all said and done, but which two will it be? Looking at the logistics, one might have a better chance than to just flip a coin and see who wins. With 16 games remaining we can't wait to see how it all plays out. Getting to Montreal....did they cash their chips or not? The Habs lost all three games and looked bad in the last two. They started off the morning against San Jose and had them, 4-3 when they fell apart, only to lose, 6-4. In game #2 against Vancouver they suffered two injuries only minutes apart (center and right wing). Both players continued on but were ineffective. No call-ups allowed during play. In game #3 on the road in Tampa Bay, they looked flat in a 4-1 loss. They will need both healthy for the final run. The Minnesota Wild had two games and looked frightfully horrid in the first one - an 11-1 schellacking in Winnipeg! Things could only go up from there but not so fast as they lost, 7-5 while visiting the Sharks in San Jose. Both Montreal and Minnesota look done!
The San Jose Sharks still remain atop of the division as they won both games in a home/away set. They rallied against the Canadiens to win, 6-4 then came home to rally once again to beat the Wild, 7-5. They really needed those 13 goals to win both games. The Calgary Flames were in the drivers seat coming into the day with 2 games in hand but could only muster a 2-2 record to keep one point behind the Sharks for the top spot. The Winnipeg Jets looked like they were going to finally catch 2nd place after an 11-1 pounding over the hapless Wild at home but deeply disappointed the organization when they fell, 3-0 later in the day to the hottest team on the planet, the New Jersey Devils. The Devils put on a clinic and served notice that the Jets have some learning to do. Strange that the Jets could not carry over after their 11 goal performance.
The Los Angeles Kings took a step backwards after losing both games (5-3 to Ottawa and 5-4 to the Blues) and the Avalache did themselves no favors as they could only capture 1 point on the day (2-2 tie at Buffalo). However, the winners of the day had to be the Vancouver Canucks as they went 3-0. They took the first two road games (8-3 at Boston & 6-2 at Montreal) before coming home to a great stirring crowd and handing the Blues a 5-3 setback. The Canucks are far from done! Success also played into the hands of the Edmonton Oilers as they won a couple of home games before running into a defensive buzz saw at Philadelphia. The Anaheim Ducks suffered a terrible defeat earlier in the day as they lost a crazy barn-burner at New York, 9-7! What's more, they took a 4-0 lead into the 2nd period and were still playing well with a 6-3 lead. What happened next is anyone's guess.
So the races continue and the drama carries on. So don't count anyone out....not quite yet....but almost.
34TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The league is moving fast towards the end of the season. Teams are starting to feel the heat now. In our latest meeting, all teams participated except for Saint Louis and Anaheim as we close in on the stretch run. All the games were close and most of which were played in a defensive style in mind. At the outset, 20 games were planned but the league decided after fifteen games to call it a night. As usual there were some exciting contests and surprises along with some shifts in the standings. In the recent past, the Eastern division has been an ongoing battle towards the top with all teams in overdrive. For the most part, that trend has continued. There looks to be some certain heartbreak when all is said and done because a few very good teams are probably going to miss out of the playoffs.
Now for the action:
The New Jersey Devils had their eleven game undefeated streak snapped when they ran into a hot Los Angeles Kings squad that relied heavily on Jonathan Quick to get the victory. The Kings offense had apparently watched some video and realized that Marty Brodeur could be beaten to his short-side. It was true, L.A. scored 3 goals that way to post a 5-3 win. The Devils didn't dwell on that loss as they came out to Colorado and pounced on the Avalanche, 6-0 before yielding a goal. New Jersey won the contest, 6-4. Other developments in the East has the Boston Bruins looking like the old world-beaters again as they won both road games (6-4 scores over Ottawa and Montreal) to run their win streak to seven games. The Philadelphia Flyers are on a roll. They won both of their road games (8-4 over Vancouver and 5-1 over Calgary) to move into 5th place, just 3 points behind the Devils for the division lead. The Pittsburgh Penguins actually lost ground (2 spots in the standings) despite winning a great road game against San Jose, 3-2. That shows you how tight this division is at this time. The Washington Capitals opened the evening with a nail-biting 2-1 win over Calgary. In later action, Buffalo yielded only five goals in two games but only registered a single point with a 3-3 tie at Nashville. Tampa Bay pulled out a 3-3 tie with Winnipeg and New York got hammered by Chicago, 6-1.
Division leading Nashville was rather fortunate to get away with a 3-3 tie against the Sabres. Buffalo saw a 3-1 lead disappear as the Predators scored two shitty goals to come out with a point. Their lead now stands at 8 points after a loss by the Senators (6-4 to Boston). Saint Louis was idle but wins by Detroit (2-1 at Buffalo) and Chicago (6-1 over the visiting Rangers) puts four teams in a tie for second place. What a race! The Toronto Maple Leafs don't seem to be giving up either as they won an important game (5-2) at Colorado. That marks only the second time this season that they won consecutive road games. No better time than now. Minnesota got it together as they took advantage of home ice and scored some goals. They beat Edmonton, 5-3. Montreal has totally come undone after suffering their third straight loss and 5th out of the last seven games. They took a 6-3 loss at Winnipeg and came home, only to lose again, 6-4 to the red hot Bruins.
The San Jose Sharks still remain atop of the division despite a tough 3-2 home loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Stellar goaltending was the hightlight of this remarkable game indeed. Marc Andre Fluery and Antti Niemi made save after save to keep the score down. The Sharks did have a 2-1 lead and were looking to close out the win but the Pens got (2) last period goals for the victory. The Calgary Flames had two games on their schedule and could only muster two goals on the night. The suffered a 2-1 road loss at Washington then followed that up with a 5-1 home loss to the high-flying Flyers. Suddenly, the once-explosive offense of the Flames has been doused. They've scored just 16 goals in their past 7 games. In doing so, they are 0-4-3 during that stretch. The Los Angeles Kings managed a nice home win when they snapped the Devils 11-game unbeaten run (5-3), however they are now joined in the race with the Jets as they registered 3 out of a possible four point night. Winnipeg skated to a 3-all tie at Tampa Bay then came home to outplay the Canadiens, 6-3. Vancouver, Colorado and Edmonton have all fallen apart as the three teams combined to go 0-4 for the evening. Perhaps, worse of all was the (2) home losses suffered by the Avalanche. They now have lost 9 consecutive games to fall to 16-23-4. With all of that said, they are still a +5 overall. The Anaheim Ducks were not scheduled.
Reviewing the league standings will tell the reader all they need to know. DON'T COUNT ANYONE OUT!
33RD MEETING INCLUDES 14 GAMES!
The league is moving fast towards the end of the season. Teams are starting to feel the heat now. In our latest meeting, all teams participated as we moved past the 40 game mark. There was one descrepancy as Montreal and Calgary played for a third time but league officials have made a decision to scratch that game. More about the rescheduling for both teams later. All but one game was tightly contested and that was the first game when Saint Louis bea Washington, 6-1. However this game was only 2-1 going into the final period. So we did have some great battles.
Now for the action:
In the Eastern division the New Jersey Devils had their league record 10 consecutive win streak snapped by Ottawa but still moved to a 11-game undefeated streak with a 3-3 tie. This was a game that the Senators looked ready to win (leading 3-1 with 61 seconds left) but saw the Devils score two quick goals to gain the tie. In other Eastern action, Washington lost two tough road games and Pittsburgh took an unlikely stumble at home versus Vancouver to shock the rest of the division. However, Buffalo, Boston and Philadelphia all looked very good as they each won their games to gain ground on the leaders. In fact even New York won (5-3) over San Jose to keep in the hunt. This division in the most exciting right now as there doesn't seem to be any quit in any team.
This division saw lots of action last night. The division leading Nashville Predators looked great against Washington to skate away with a 4-2 win. The victory keeps the Predators in a good place with a solid lead over both Ottawa and Saint Louis. Speaking of the Blues, they had a great night with two wins. Ryan Miller has started 3 of 4 games since coming over from Buffalo and has won all three, allowing only 4 goals. He has been the difference. The Blues beat the Caps, 6-1 and defeated the Avalanche, 2-1. Other action in the division saw Chicago getting only 1 point out of a possible four and Toronto won their only game. Detroit followed suite with the Blackhawks as they fought Anaheim to a 3-3 tie to get their only point on the night.
It was tough times for the San Jose Sharks as they dropped two very tough road games. Having outplayed Buffalo they came up short with a 5-4 loss and did the same against New York. Let's just say they were two very bitter setbacks. Los Angeles and the Ducks could only scratch out 1 point on the night but watched as the Winnipeg Jets flew into Hockey Town to surprise the Red Wings, 5-2 to gain on them. At the bottom of the division things have really tightened up. The Oilers pulled out a 4-3 win over the Lightning to move into a 3-way tie with winless Colorado Vancouver who also had some tricks of their own. The Canucks jumped all over the Penguins (4-0) then had to hold them off for a 5-4 win. All three teams are now tied for the last 3 spots in the division.
Reviewing the league standings will tell the reader all they need to know. DON'T COUNT ANYONE OUT!
32ND MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
As the league closed in on the 40 game mark (39 games for Ottawa) things are still shaping up. Perhaps things will always be shaping in this league. In our most recent action of fifteen games, every team participated. The action started off right away with a big home win for Boston as they took care of Anaheim, 6-3. And like they did in the last meeting the Eastern division continued to make a strong impression as the "division to beat". On the night they played out to a 4-2-4 record. The Bruins had two home games and won them both. They are certainly starting to look like the Bruins of old again. And just in time as the top teams continue to roll and grab points. The season is officially 66% complete but with so many teams still in the hunt, who knows how it will all play out.
Now for the action: As stated above, the Boston Bruins are back! They have won the last 4 games (3 at home) and are climbing back into this tough Eastern division race. They beat the Ducks (6-3) and Toronto (4-3) and have officially pulled ahead of Philadelphia for 5th place. The New Jersey Devils continue to set league records as they recorded their 10th straight win in defeating Montreal, 4-3. The win keeps them atop of the league points race with 48. Washington and Buffalo each had ties to keep the Devils from running off and Pittsburgh suffered a surprising home loss to Winnipeg to stay at 44 points. In the Central division the Nashville Predators continue to keep a somewhat comfortable lead after defeating Colorado, 5-3. They now have 47 points. An Ottawa tie moved the Senators to 41 points and control of second place. The tie was bitter sweet for them as they coughed up a 4-0 home lead to Calgary. Detroit and Saint Louis didn't make much headway (tie for Blues) but the night saw Chicago record a nice road win (6-1) over Edmonton to move into the mix. The middle of the Central is now a log jam. Over in the Pacific division the San Jose Sharks continue as the leaders after they hammered Saint Louis, 7-3. The win puts them at 46 points. The Flames pulled out an unlikely tie against the Senators to fall just one point back. Los Angeles and Winnipeg wins put them back into the thick of the division because the Ducks could only register a point ouf of a possible four point night (3-3 tie with Flyers). Vancouver had a 4-4 tie with Tampa Bay as they lost two leads in that game and Edmonton could only register 1 point out of a possible four when they tied Washington at 4-all. The Oilers had leads in both games (the other was a 6-1 loss against the Blackhawks) as has been their style lately. Obviously they have to get better at holding leads.
So after some great action, here are our current leaders:
Eastern Division: New Jersey Devils - 48 points
Central Division: Nashville Predators - 47 points
Pacific Division: San Jose Sharks - 46 points
31ST MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
We had our second meeting just three nights apart and alot of action played out. The only teams not participating were the Boston Bruins and the Edmonton Oilers. The action started off right away with a doozy of a high-scoring game which saw New York hold off the Saint Louis Blues, 7-5. As the rest of the games played out, there seems to be a power switch in effect. The Eastern division has taken the stronghold of power as the top 5 teams have reached the 40 point range. The Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in the 5th spot in the East but would be in 2nd place in the Central. The Central and Pacific divisions seemed to have lost some steam as most teams are struggling.
Now for the action: As has been in recent meetings the league never ceases to surprise its owners. That said, there is a new overall leader after the action settled. Hello New Jersey Devils! For the first time in league history the Devils are now the overall #1 seed. The Devils again recorded a win last night (4-2 over Minnesota) and continue their hot streak of 9 straight wins. The league has also seen the steady climb of the Ottawa Senators to the #2 spot in the Central. They won again 5-4 over Colorado. Quickly to the East, the Buffalo Sabres are tightening their defense and winning some games. Their undefeated streak is at 7 games after two wins tonight (4-3 over Chicago and 4-2 over Winnipeg). The Philadelphia Flyers remain on a climb after pulling out a 4-2 win over visiting Detroit. But perhaps the big news of the night is the concern of the Calgary Flames after falling apart in an 11-3 ass-whipping by resurgent Tampa Bay. The Flames had a 3-1 lead early on. Having tightened up their defense after a defensive collapse in the Cup Finals last year, the Flames duplicated their efforts in this game. The shocking loss has management and their fans very concerned. The loss not only was devastating but it knocked the Flames out of first.
Here are our current leaders:
Eastern Division: New Jersey Devils
Central Division: Nashville Predators
Pacific Division: San Jose Sharks
30TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
In our most recent meeting, we were back from the Olympic break and 15 games were played. The only teams not participating were the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The action started off right away with the road teams winning the first 4 games but all were close. In fact all but two games were very close throughout the schedule. The league continues with 15 more games tonight and there has been talk about a one day marathon in which up to 40 games may be played.
Now for the action: As has been in recent meetings the league never ceases to surprise its owners. That said, there is a new overall leader after the action settled. Hello New Jersey Devils! For the first time in league history the Devils are now the overall #1 seed. Having won both games last night (2-1 over Detroit, 3-2 over Calgary), they now have won 8 straight games! No one saw this coming. The league has also seen the steady climb of the Ottawa Senators to the #2 spot in the Central. Perhaps the big question is: Are the Boston Bruins back on track? They won two games last night in old style fashion (tight checking/tight defense) and have tightened things up in the Eastern. The Philadelphia Flyers pulled out 3 points out of four with a drag-out, knock-down tie with Los Angeles (3-3) to keep hot in the East.
Here are our current leaders:
Eastern Division: New Jersey Devils
Central Division: Nashville Predators
Pacific Division: Calgary Flames
Stay tuned for more as the league continues its schedule tonight (2/28/Friday).
29TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Last night the league welcomed even more intense action and got it. All teams participated on this night except for the Buffalo Sabres. And now for the highlights:
In the East, four teams are now within two point of each other so things are really starting to heat up. Washington fought hard to get a point from Calgary to retain the lead along with Pittsburgh who won (7-3 over Montreal) their only game of the night. With Buffalo idle, the New Jersey Devils came knocking on the door with a convincing 5-1 win over Vancouver in a game that they could have won in a landslide had it not been for Roberto Luongo. The Devils and Sabres are now tied (19) for the most wins in the league although neither team leads the division. Perhaps the hottest team in the division is still in the basement and that's the Tampa Bay Lightning. They had two wins (5-1 and 5-4) on the night and now are just one point behind New York who also won, 7-2 over slumping Edmonton.
Over in the Central, the Nashville Predators are still leading the division although they took a 5-1 home loss to Anaheim. Detroit moved a point closer after thrashing Washington 9-5 and Saint Louis won a sqeaker at Philadelphia (3-2) to keep just one point behind the Red Wings. As well, Ottawa remains red hot as they hammered San Jose, 6-2 on the road and Chicago won a hard fought 5-4 game against the Boston Bruins to keep in the mix. Minnesota managed a win in two games but still remain in last place although both Toronto and Montreal lost (Habs lost both games).
And last but not least, the Pacific division saw some fine action again this week. Calgary remains the division and league leader after a 2-2 tie with Washington. They now have 44 points. But perhaps the biggest news in the league comes from the Anaheim Ducks. They won two games (5-1 and 4-3) and jumped from 5th place to sole possession of 3rd place! They now have 38 points and have gained a newfound respectability around the league. San Jose and Colorado both lost and Los Angeles did manage a win in two games to keep on the heels of Anaheim. Vancouver and Edmonton lost their games as both teams performed poorly. On the other hand, the Winnipeg Jets got it going on the road with an 8-2 romp over Toronto.
As of this writing the league has played 61% of its games and is slowly creeping towards the playoffs. By the looks of it, only time will tell who comes out to represent the 12 playoff teams. We bet that many spots will be decided during our last meeting of the regular season, so stay tuned!
28TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Last night the league welcomed even more intense action and got it. All teams participated on this night. And now for the highlights:
In the East, a new leader now sits atop of the division. The Washington Capitals lost their only game (4-3 to San Jose) but still remain the leaders as the Pittsburgh Penguins didn't fare too well either (5-1 home loss to Los Angeles). The Buffalo Sabres are stepping up their game lately as they nipped Vancouver, 6-5 and rallied in the 3rd period to tie Calgary (2-2). The Sabres are now tied with the Penguins at 40 points for 2nd place. The big winner in the East on this night was the New Jersey Devils after winning (2) 4-3 games. They are now up to 38 points and moving up quickly. Philadelphia and Boston each had a tie, New York fell again as they continue to play terrible hockey but Tampa Bay won a convincing 7-3 contest against Saint Louis. The Lightning now sit just three points behind the Rangers and are looking to jump out of the cellar for the first time all season.
Over in the Central, the Nashville Predators are still leading the division after they played a 6-all tie with Philadelphia. They now have 41 points. The Saint Louis Blues quickly fell from grace as they took a 7-3 beating by the Lightning. They are now in 3rd place because the Detroit Red Wings got a nice 4-2 road win against the Rangers. We're guessing that these leads are going to change with each and every meeting until the bitter end. The Central teams seem to be struggling a bit with the exception of the hottest team in the division, the Ottawa Senators. They continue to roll along, beating the Jets (5-3) in Winnipeg. Other noteworthy news for this division is the Minnesota Wild and their sudden lack of scoring. With another 5-1 loss coming at the hands of the Calgary Flames, they have now scored just 8 goals in the past five games. The only thing going in their favor is the defense and the fact that the middle of the pack is slumping at the same time. The Wild have plenty of time to get out the basement but a move should be soon before it's too late.
And last but not least, the Pacific division saw some fine action again this week. All eyes were on the Calgary Flames and the three road games that were on their schuedule. No problem; they started off by handly beating Montreal, 5-2 before flying down to Minnesota and stopping the Wild, 5-1. Their next leg of the trip would be in snowy Buffalo. They battled the Sabres to a 2-2 tie. They started off slow but kept Buffalo from getting untracked. Trailing 1-0, the Flames scored two and took a 2-1 lead. Buffalo found the back of the net midway through the third period to draw the tie. With a 5-point night, the Flames find themselves atop the division AND the league with 43 points. San Jose got a win and a loss to keep right on the heels of Calgary while Colorado maintained their hold on third place even with a 4-3 loss to Montreal. Los Angeles and Anaheim each had a win to keep on the move while Vancouver and Winnipeg each took a loss. The Oilers found themselves very lucky in a 4-4 tie with Boston to gain a point. The Bruins right-winger made an errant pass in his own end that eluded an unsuspecting Tuuka Rask in the game's closing seconds to allow the Canucks the surprising tie.
At of this writing the league has played 58% of its games and is slowly creeping towards the playoffs. By the looks of it, only time will tell who comes out to represent the 12 playoff teams. We bet that many spots will be decided during our last meeting of the regular season, so stay tuned!
27TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Last night the league welcomed even more intense action and got it. All teams participated wtih the exception of San Jose and Montreal. And now for the highlights:
In the East, a new leader now sits atop of the division. The Washington Capitals took advantage of their one game and the Pittsburgh Penguins losing two tough road games win a 5-3 home win against Toronto. Washington now has the most points in the league with 41. Keeping pace with the Caps are Buffalo with a 4-2 drubbing over Los Angeles, Philadelphia with a 5-3 road win over Ottawa and New Jersey with a 3-2 home win over Edmonton. And don't look now but the Boston Bruins are reeling after a 9-4 ass-whipping to Nashville and now sit alone in 6th place.
Over in the Central, the Nashville Predators registered 3 out of four points to solidify their division lead with 40 points. Other important movement in the division saw the Saint Louis Blues (35 points) pull alone into the 2nd spot after getting a 6-5 win at Calgary. Both Toronto and Detroit lost to fall back in the standings. The Ottawa Senators continue their move towards the top with a 6-4 road win at Anaheim. They later lost a tough game at home against the Flyers whereas they outplayed Philly but never earned points for their efforts. They will be seeing Ray Emery saves in their nightmares for awhile.
And last but not least, the Pacific division saw some fine action as well. The big winners here are the Colorado Avalanche and their two wins (1 home/1 away). They have pulled within 3 points of idle San Jose and 2 points back of the Flames who lost a hard-fought 6-5 contest to the Blues. The Kings lost their only game of the night (4-2 to Buffalo) and have dropped back into 5th place. Vancouver got by Minnesota, 4-2 with the help of Roberto Luongo and moved into 4th. Winnipeg and the Ducks also got wins to really tighten up this race.
At of this writing the league has played 57% of its games and is slowly creeping towards the playoffs. By the looks of it, only time will tell who comes out to represent the 12 playoff teams. We bet that many spots will be decided during our last meeting of the regular season, so stay tuned!
26TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Last night's action was intense like always. All teams participated except the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville. The surprising team of the night was the Toronto Maple Leafs as they won both games (4-2, 6-2). The Winnipeg Jets managed 3 points to move into the middle of the Pacific division. The Pittsburgh Penguins remained on top of the Eastern after a strong showing against resurgent Anaheim, 6-4. Over in the Central, the idle Predators are still on top after Detroit could only manage 1 point out of a possible four when they tied Calgary, 5-5. In the Pacific, it's still San Jose on top although they lost a tough one to Chicago, 4-3. Calgary moved one point closer after their tie with the Red Wings and now trail the Sharks but just one point. See more details below:
In the Eastern Division
The Pittsburgh Penguins were back to scoring again as they defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 6-4 to remain on top with a league-leading 40 points. The Washington Capitals remained on their heels with a 3-3 tie against Winnipeg to drop one point behind. Amazingly, the rest of the division all won their games to keep pace with the leaders. Don't look now but the Tampa Bay Lightning are out of the doldrums and are pressing New York for 6th place, just 4 points back.
In the Central Division
The Nashville Predators had the night off and still remain atop the Central. Detroit failed to win either of their games (a tie) and pulled within 3 points of the leaders. Toronto made a nice leap in the standings as they pulled into a 3rd place tie with Saint Louis. The Blues took one on the nose as they were surprised by New Jersey, 8-3. This happened as the Maple Leafs were winning both games (4-2, 6-2). And in a change for the better, the Ottawa Senators finally got out of the basement with a 5-3 win over Edmonton. Taking over the bottom spot now is the Minnesota Wild after they suffered yet another heart breaking loss (2-1 to Philadelphia). Later they lost to Buffalo, 4-1. But something tells me they won't be in the basement for long. To pull out of the basement, the Montreal Canadiens won a tough battle on the road against the stingy Flyers (3-1).
In the Pacific Division
The San Jose Sharks lost their only game on the night (4-3 to Chicago) but still remain one point ahead of Calgary. The Flames had to come back 3 times from 2-goal deficits to gain the tie with the Red Wings. The well-earned point gives them 38 points (one behind the Sharks). With the rest of the division either being idle or having bad nights, the bright spot in this division was reserved for the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets registered three points to move out of the basement and into the thick of things. Perhaps the biggest surprise was how the got their last point (a 3-3 tie with Washington). They were down 3-0 to the Capitals and looked like they were about to roll over. They showed hope as they stormed back on the road to gain the tie.
Stay tuned as we expect lots to change before the season reaches the 60 game mark.
25TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Last night actually the start of the second half of the season. From our last meeting, the old puck was put back into play and all teams are glad to have it back. And from what league owners mentioned at the end of last night's schedule, all were in agreement that the old puck should stay put. With that being said, the second half kicked off with a few tight games right off the bat. All teams were in action last night and as usual there were a few surprises. For details, see below:
In the Eastern Division
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been caught atop the East! They lost in perhaps the best game of the night when the Saint Louis Blues do what they do best and smothered the high scoring Penguins, 2-1. The loss, coupled with the two wins for the Washington Capitals, puts the Pens in a tie with the Caps at 38 points. The Buffalo Sabres have grabbed third place with a revengeful 5-2 win over Montreal. With Philadelphia and New Jersey wins, the East is really getting interesting. And also don't forget about the resurgent Tampa Bay Lightning. They picked up 3 points and now are on the heels of the quickly-fading New York Rangers.
In the Central Division
The Nashville Predators shook off a recent loss (10-2) to Tampa Bay and won a nice, tight game agains the San Jose Sharks, 3-1. The Predators still remain in the top spot of the division. With the Red Wings loss, the Nashville lead is now at 3 points. But now Detroit has to share 2nd place with the Blues after their great win over Pittsburgh, 2-1. This division is now logjammed as Minnesota, Toronto, Chicago and Montreal (2 losses) all lost. In contrast to this the Senators look to be on the right track as they are now scoring goals and gaining steam. Their latest game resulted in a 4-4 tie with Los Angeles. There are now 5 teams either tied or 1 point back in the hunt for 4th place!
In the Pacific Division
The San Jose Sharks had a win and a loss to keep two points ahead of the league's hottest (no pun intended) team in the Calgary Flames. The Flames went into New York at hammered the Rangers, 8-2 with some late game excitement. As well, Los Angeles kept pace with two ties (4-4 against Ottawa and 3-3 against Nashville). The Colorado Avalanche gained a bitter-sweet point as they allowed the Lightning to recover from being down, 4-0 then rally to a 4 all tie. Just last week they had lost two heartbreakers on the road (Chicago and Boston respectively). Anaheim and Vancouver both picked up 2 more points to keep up with the Jones's and now look to be serious contenders in the playoff hunt. The Ducks also seem to like their new throwback jerseys as they now have won both games using them. Edmonton and Winnipeg both lost their games so they'll have to wait until next time to make up for them.
And now, as we enter the second half of the season, we shall look back at today's division leaders and see...if any...who will still be standing. Stay tuned!
24TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
For starters, the POTHL adapted a new game to start the 2nd half of the season along with a new puck. The experiment with the new puck didn't go so well as pucks were sliding, rolling and bouncing all over the place. Goals were being scored at record numbers so the league reverted back to the older style puck to keep the game in perspective.
In the Eastern Division
The Pittsburgh Penguins remained atop of the division after a wild 6-6 tie with Detroit. The Penguins have only lost 4 of their past twenty games! The Tampa Bay Lightning somehow have found a clue as to how to win and that's by scoring goals. They registered 3 points by scoring 15 goals in the two games. As well, the New York Rangers look to have rebounded from their long 13-game losing streak and have now won their past two games. Not much else to report in this division.
In the Central Division
The Nashville Predators took a serious loss (10-2) to the Lightning but still remain atop the division. With the Red Wings tie, their lead is now just one point. This division is now logjammed as Ottawa, Minnesota and Toronto all won to create the new tension. The Senators look to be on the right track as they are now scoring goals and winning games. There are only 7 points that separate 1st from last so with the second half of the season to go, look for plenty of changes ahead.
In the Pacific Division
The San Jose Sharks had two ties to keep pace with perhaps the league's hottest team in the Calgary Flames (no pun intended). With each team having recorded two points, the Sharks lead is still at 2 points. With the Flames win, it was a tough road win against another very hot team in the Saint Louis Blues. Anaheim and Vancouver both picked up 2 points with Edmonton getting just the one point in a 3-3 tie with the Blues. But the worst news in this division came at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche as they lost two road games against very tough home teams (Chicago and Boston respectively). They had been on an upswing recently and these losses were hard to take.
And now, as we enter the second half of the season, we shall look back at today's division leaders and see...if any...who will still be standing. Stay tuned!
23RD MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The 23rd meeting included 15 more games. Some of the teams were getting a bit festiv as they entered the arenas and many of the players were feeling nice as they took to the ice surfaces. To start off in the Eastern division, the Pittsburgh Penguins took advantage of home ice and defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-4 to keep a strong lead. Below them, the once mighty Boston Bruins have now lost six in a row and scoring has been non-existent. In lieu of their fall, the Washington Capitals are sneaking up the charts with a nice road win in Chicago and have moved into 2nd place. The Buffalo Sabres grabbed 3 out of 4 points and now sit in the third spot. In the Central division, the Nashville Predators played it safe and grabbed a point in a 2-2 tie with Winnipeg. They sit alone atop of the division. But watch out for the Saint Louis Blues as their defense has carried them into the thick of the race after a 6-1 win at New York. And finally in the Pacific division, the idle San Jose Sharks remain #1 but now have the Calgary Flames creeping up on them. The Flames scored an impressive 4-2 win at Philadelphia to close the Shark lead to two points. And perhaps most impressively was the Anaheim Ducks getting 3 points on the night. They rallied from a 5-2, 3rd period deficit on the road against the New Jersey Devils to get a 6-5 win. Their next game was also on the road as they fought tooth and fin to grab a 2-2 tie with Buffalo. Amazingly, there is now only a 9 point gap from 1st to last in the Pacific division!
Stay tuned for more!
22ND MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
For our 22nd meeting, 15 more games were played. This meeting was a rare Sunday morning one in which the only teams not participating were the Winnipeg Jets, Detroit Red Wings and the New York Rangers. The big winners on the day were the San Jose Sharks (4 points) and the Calgary Flames (4 points). The Pacific division continues to heat up. In the Central, Nashville and Saint Louis continue to stay hot and keep pressure on the rest of the division. Over in the Eastern, the Pittsburgh Penguins are starting to get a hold on the top spot as they won in a 7-6 shoot-out with Edmonton. On a downer note, the Boston Bruins are still in a funk as their losing streak has now reached five games with a 3-2 road loss in Los Angeles.
See more of the website for further details.
21ST MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Our last outing included 15 more games which now brings the league to the 44% completion mark. Some of the highlights and lowlights are listed below. For starters, the Boston Bruins are falling apart and the blame can be placed on the offense Tonight marked their worst losing streak since they've been in the league and to add insult to injury, they scored a meager goal in tonight's two game set. TD Garden fans are besides themselves.
Other disturbing news is how some of the league's better teams are starting to find themselves in the middle of hard times. In actuality, there seems to be parity among us as the races are really tightning up. Then there's the continuing decline of the New York Rangers who can't win for losing. Tonight the Rangers lost two more and that brings their current slide to a 12 game winless streak and only one win the their past 15 games.
Some of the good news has to be that of the continuing rise of the Saint Louis Blues. They have pulled themselves into the thick of the Central race and have knocked off some of the league's best recently. Fresh off of a 6-0 win over the San Jose Sharks, they also shut out the Boston Bruins on the road. Teams are definately starting to notice the Blues.
After these games, the division leaders shape up like this:
Most teams have played 27 games and a few with twenty-six played. The division leaders are as follows:
Eastern Division - Pittsburgh Penguins (33 points)
Central Division - Nashville Predators (31 points)
Pacific Division - San Jose Sharks (31 points)
Stay tuned for more!
20TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Last night we played another 15 games. We planned on 20 but never made it. There were some game malfunctions that slowed down play a bit. First, the upside of things and that would be the Edmonton Oilers winning both of their games (home). They have caused a log jam in the Pacific Division. The only other big winner on the night was the Philadelphia Flyers with 3 points. They did it the hard way with a tight 5-4 win at Los Angeles, then another tight-checking game at home against the Vancouver Canucks (3-3).
Other stories from the league include the cooling off of two of the league's premier teams in the San Jose Sharks (4-4 tie) and the Boston Bruins (7-2 defeat against Calgary). On the night, there were three ties and Buffalo remains the league's only team without a tie (13-12).
Most teams have played 25 games and a few with twenty-four played. The division leaders are as follows:
Eastern Division - Pittsburgh Penguins (30 points)
Central Division - Nashville Predators (29)
Pacific Division - San Jose Sharks (31)
Stay tuned for more!
19TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
We turned around and played another 15 games tonight (30 in the past two nights). The results were somewhat shocking for the most part. The story around the league is none other than the San Jose Sharks sudden collapse. They started out the night on the road against Saint Louis. The league's #1 offense was totally dominated by the resurgent Blues, 6-0. The Sharks couldn't wait to get home and take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Later in the night, the Sharks were again flat as a pancake as the Leafs kicked them good, 7-0! Nothing like this has ever happened in the 3 years of this league. Let's just hope the Sharks hit a flat patch rebound quickly from this.
Another first for this league was the amount of shutouts. Shutouts are somewhat rare. The most in any night was one. Tonight, there were 4 in the first ten games! With that, some of the league's lower placed teams did very well; not so much for the league's top teams.
There are 60 games this season. They way things are shaping up, who knows how things will pan out.
18TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
We played another 15 games last night and have scheduled 15 more for tomorrow night. Saint Louis, Pittsburgh, Washington, Colorado and Winnipeg did not play. The big winners on the night were the Vancouver Canucks with (2) 5-2 wins which pulled them out of the Pacific basement. Other notables were the Kings and Oilers with 3 points each.
There was only one real blowout game and that was the Edmonton Oilers embarassing the Buffalo Sabres, 8-2. The fans in Buffalo are totally frustrated with the team and its inconsistent play. Although they are #2 in the league with 13 wins, they have lost their last two home games by a combined score of 15-3! Perhaps they should stay on the road...
16TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Last night, we had our 16 meeting of season #3. For the most part, it was status quo. All teams participated. There was a 20 minute delay in the action during the Toronto vs. New York game. The Rangers left winger had to be worked on by team physicians during a 2nd period fall that saw the New York winger go down with a pull ham-spring. Yes, ham-spring. At the time, the Maple Leafs owned a 4-2 lead and the game was up for grabs. After the delay, Toronto scored 3 unanswered goals enroute to a 7-2 beating. In other action the Boston Bruins lost back-to-back home games for the first time this season (only once all last season) to fall out of first place in the Eastern. And on the flip side of that, the Minnesota Wild won two games (both 3-2 scores) for a gain of four points on the night. In the Pacific, the San Jose Sharks solidified their lead with a tough 4-3 win over Detroit. So the races are on in all divisions. A look over in the East sees the top teams being challenged by the lower teams as that division is now a log jam of sorts!
17TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Last night was our second meeting this week. Every team was represented with the exception of the Montreal Canadiens. Perhaps the biggest story of the night was the Saint Louis Blues and their two dominant road victories. In the first game against the Buffalo Sabres, the road Blues gave the Sabres no chance. They came out hard and remained steady until the final buzzer sounded. Games like this have Buffalo fans reeling in doubt and disgust. With the Blues winning their first game on the day quite easily, the equalled the task during their next game. Saint Louis went into Winnipeg and pulled the same trick. They scored the 3 quickest goals in league history (two by the RW) and had the lead before the Jets even started their engines! Although Winnipeg matched the Blues the rest of the game, the damage was already done in this 5-1 victory. Other successes had the Nashville Predators winning both games (4 points) and the Boston Bruins and the Calgary Flames picking up 3 of 4 points on the day.
Stay tuned for more!
15TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
It was nearly two weeks since our last meeting in Pasadena. The outage was due to some pluming repairs in the arena but the contractors gave the league the "OK" to resume play. We played 15 games and offense was the story. There were more goals scored during these fifteen games than on any other night in league history! To boot, the home teams dominated. Only 3 teams were idle (Boston, Minnesota and Edmonton) and some played two games. For the winners: Saint Louis gained 4 points out of a possible four and Vancouver recorded 3 points out of a possible four. On the losing end, the Washington Capitals lost (2) 5-4 heart-breaking home games and the Detroit Red Wings lost (2) one-goal road games. It was an interesting night in the POTHL and there are many more to come.....
14TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
As usual, our last meeting included 15 more games. As the season takes shape, there are a few surprising developments unfolding. The San Jose Sharks just took both games to move into the league's top spot with 25 points. No one has been saying much about the Sharks but they will now. A few other news worthy mentions are the Ottawa Senators 6-5 upset over New York and the late game winner by the Tampa Bay Lightning (4-3) over the Minnesota Wild, which concluded our evening. It is good to see the lower teams in the league post much needed victories....finally!
Stay tuned for two more meetings this week.
13TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
In our most recent meeting, we played the standard 15 games. All teams with the exception of Winnipeg skated on the ice. And as of this writing, the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks are playing excellent hockey. The Sharks have now won back-to-back road games in which they scored 8 goals. The Sabres are just playing well against all comers (home and away) and are doing what it takes to get victories. They now lead the league with 11 wins. The Boston Bruins are doing their standard play as they continue to win and the surprise start-up Colorado Avalanche are the scary team as they lead the Pacific. On the downside, the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning are playing horrid hockey. But we feel it's only a matter of time before they break out and climb back into the pack.
So stay tuned and watch the standings!
12TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The POTHL played another 15 games on Friday night. Things ended as they started with the Boston Bruins keeping hold of the league's top spot with 20 points. More concerning is the quick demise of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and the Ottawa Senators. It has now become very important for each of these teams to step it up before it becomes too late. On the other hand, the Colorado Avalanche, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks are all playing very well and look to be on their way to successful seasons.
Stay tuned for more as the league is just starting to heat up!
11TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The POTHL met again on Tuesday afternoon and was able to play fifteen more games. Most teams have played 14 games now so we are starting to see some of the teams look established in their respective divisions. The Boston Bruins are not surprisingly back in the league's top spot with 18 points. The mystique and luck is still going Boston's way this season. It is seriously something with this team that we cannot figure out! In the Central, the Red Wings stand alone at the top with 17 points and over in the Pacific, it's the surprising Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks atop with 17 points.
We've also noticed so far this season that there seems to be more teams closer together than either of the first two seasons. We're quite sure things will change...perhaps alot more will change before all is said and done.
Stay tuned for a thrilling season #3!
10TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The league met to play fifteen games on a rare Saturday morning. And with that came two wins for the Nashville Predators. They were the only team to rack up 4 points. The Saint Louis Blues continued to hang tough although their offense didn't do much as they only scored 1 goal in two games. However that would be enough to pull out one point as they skated to a 1-1 tie with the Detroit Red Wings. In other games, the Buffalo Sabres hammered the Tampa Bay Lightning, 8-4. It marked a big turn around so far for the Sabres because it took them 34 games last season to record their 7th win. It took just 13 games this season to accomplish this mark.
In other games, the Calgary Flames looked like they might turn things around as they destroyed the Winnipeg Jets, 7-1. In retrospect, the Jets have now lost 4 straight and have allowed a slew of goals in that span. As well - watch out for the suddenly resurgent Colorado Avalanche! They've taken over first place in the Pacific with a 7-3 2 record.
The rest of the league looks like they're all in for a good dog fight so hold onto your hats!
9TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
On this night, the league played another 15 games. Every team participated and some teams played twice. The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers were winners tonight as they both won both games. The Colorado Avalanche are playing some surprising hockey after going into Calgary and dealing the Flames a 6-4 setback. On the other side of that coin, the Buffalo Sabres fell short of their goals and lost both games.
Stay tuned for more as were are just staring to get really warmed up!
8TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The league did meet again on Saturday morning for the 8th time this season. 15 more games were played and with that, the league is at its first milestone of the six. All teams have now played at least 10 games and parity is the defining factor so far. The bottom teams are competing to keep in the race in all three divisions so it looks to be a tough season ahead. As well, the top teams are very close as there doesn't seem to be any breathing room - even for a day. The expansion teams (Nashville, Winnipeg and Ottawa) are all holding their own as if they've been in the league since its inception. So keep that word in mind as the season plays on - PARITY!
7TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
Tonight was Friday night....and the league managed to pull off 15 more games. Most teams at this juncture have played 9 games and there are quite a few races going on. However, no surprise have been the Boston Bruins. They are now at a league best PLUS 11 and are now tied for first place with New York in the Eastern Division. They blew out New Jersey, 7-4. What's more interesting is that the lower teams in all divisions stepped up and won or at least gained a point in the standings so the races are on! The Tampa Bay Lightning looks like they are regaining their form from last season so watch out.
If I can make a prediction today, it's that this season will be the best we've ever had. With the league up to 24 teams, the races are looking tighter and tougher so keep your eyes peeled to see how things transpire. As an added bonus, the league meets again on Saturday morning at 10AM and will play 15-20 more games.
6TH MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
On Wednesday night, September 4th, the POTHL played another 15 games. Most of the games were very close, showing the league has parity. The New York Rangers found out the hard way as they suffered a 4-3 loss to rival New Jersey. Similar story lines can be said for Buffalo as their rematch with Boston proved fatal in a 5-3 home loss. The worst result of the night was two home losses suffered by the Minnesota Wild (6-3 to Toronto and 7-3 to Saint Louis). The Wild were really hoping to get out of the gate quickly this season but so far, they've gone 1-5-2 and find themselves in the basement of the Central division.
At this point of the early season, most teams are still finding their legs. Stay tuned as we close in on the 10 game mark which should be here by this weekend.
4TH & 5TH MEETINGS INCLUDE 30 GAMES!
These meetings were a day apart so updating this section was combined after the two meetings (30 games). There's not alot to tell just yet but the New York Rangers have taken ahold of the Eastern Division with some surprising strong play. Likewise in the Central, the Detroit Red Wings are leading (4-1-1) and in the Pacific, the surprising upstart Winnipeg Jets are off to a very strong start at 4-1-1 as well. As the league closes in on its first report card (10 game mark), there may be a few surprises to come. So stay tuned and follow along!
3RD MEETING INCLUDES 15 GAMES!
The league got off to a rare, early morning Saturday start, and knocked out 15 games. Some of the teams protested the early start because it impeded their Friday night fun. Too bad. But from the looks of it, the Calgary Flames aren't big fans of Saturday morning games as they went 0-2 and dropped to the basement of the Pacific, a total flip-flop from last season. In the Eastern, the Tampa Bay Lightning remain winless, however they pulled out a 5-5 tie with Boston. They had the game in the bag, but blew a late lead.
The big winners from Saturday are the Detroit Red Wings and the San Jose Sharks, both going 2-0. And what's up with the Pittsburgh Penguins! They now sit atop of the league with 7 points (3-0-1) and have crushed their opponents. On this day, the hammered the New Jersey Devils, 10-5 in a game that saw them trail by 3-0 early. Thus far they look to be the scariest team in the league. Going back to last season, the Penguins played very good hockey in the second half of the season but by that time, it was too late. It's really no surprise that Pittsburgh came out of the gate playing so well. It was expected.
League officials were discussing the way the league is shaping up and figured that a good gauge would be the 10 game mark. With most teams having played 4 games already, it won't be long before we make that report.
So for now, keep watching the standings!
2ND MEETING INCLUDES 11 GAMES!
The 2nd night in the POTHL went not as good as expected. With 20 games on the docket, only 11 were played. Just moments after the Blues finished playing the Maple Leafs, the Saint Louis coach was seen barfing into its own trashcan! How ironic was that?! Night over...good night.
If there are any surprises surfacing in this early season, it can be said that Tampa Bay had better wake up as they lost their first 3 games and is in a bit of panic mode. They have been beaten soundly thus far. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Winnipeg Jets have easily won both of their contests by scoring a modest 14 goals.
Perhaps we won't get ahead of ourselves just yet but this season is looking like it'll be a dozey! Action will pick up again tomorrow morning in Pasadena as play will resume then. Word came down on Friday afternoon that the home team head coach has been cleared by POTHL doctors. The league will be shooting for 15 more games on Saturday so stay tuned for more!
SEASON #3 IS FINALLY UPON US!
Season #3 of the POTHL is finally upon us! Twenty games were played in which every team participated in at least one game. Lots of fun was had, especially with the addition of 3 new franchises (Nashville, Winnipeg and Ottawa). The crowds were great in Nashville and Ottawa, but the Jets have yet to play their home opener to their multitudinous crowds.
Opening night did have a few surprises. Two goals were scored that the league hadn't ever seen in its first two seasons. Firstly, there was a goal that entered the net from behind the goal, bouncing off the top of the net and in. Secondly, two goals were scored that spun like a raging twister from behind the net and circled in - getting between the post and the goaltender. Strange goals indeed. But perhaps the most embarrassing moment of the night came when the Colorado Avalanche took to the ice in San Jose and realized their left winger arrived in an inebrirated state! Needless to say, he was in no condition to play in the contest, therefore, the Avs had to borrow a left winger from the idle Montreal Canadiens that just happened to live in the area. Colorado lost the game, 4-3 and that could have very well been part of the reason. This one will be talked about for years to come.
The attendance was up for the first night as many fans showed up to support their teams in this new season.
UPDATE: As of August 2nd, the unnamed Avalanche player has resumed skating after serving a 3 day suspension and is expected to play against the Kings in the Colorado opener next week.