March 18 2017 03:37PM
As we enter the final eighth of the 2016-2017 NHL Regular Season, it's looking like the excitement will sustain itself right through to the 9th of April. The Metropolitan Division is as hot as a sunspot, the Alberta teams are neck and neck in the Pacific, and five Canadian clubs are currently positioned to make the post-season.
What a time to be alive.
MoneyPuck Playoff Odds Visualizations
Peter Tanner at MoneyPuck.com is putting together these great visualizations representing each team's odds of making the playoffs right through to the likelihood of winning the Stanley Cup. They're updated everyday at his site, where you can read a detailed explanation of everything that goes into the creating these predictions.
As things stand Saturday, here's what Peter's model has to say:
The Leafs have a particularly important matchup against the Blackhawks tonight.
The Metropolitan Division is #Fire
At this moment, the NHL's top three records live in the Metropolitan Division: Washington (95), #CBJ (94), PIT (94). A ridiculous division.— Rob Mixer (@RobMixer) March 14, 2017
The New York Rangers have 91 points after 71 games played as of Saturday afternoon—good enough to tie the San Jose Sharks for the lead in the Pacific. But the Rangers don't play in the Pacific. They play in the Metro, and that makes them no better than a measly wildcard team.
As things stand now, the Penguins and Capitals will have to get through each other just to make the Eastern Conference Final. The Rangers are actually in a better position in the first Wildcard spot, as they get to sneak off to the Atlantic where things are a little more mellow.
Penguins Sign Top College UFA Zach Aston-Reese
Aston-Reese on choosing the #Pens: "When I had time to sit down and think about it today, it just felt like it was the right place." -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) March 14, 2017
When really all he could think of was:
The draw of playing with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin continues to be strong as Pittsburgh snatched up Northeastern superstar Zach Aston-Reese this week. He had an incredible 63 points (31-32) in 38 games this NCAA season. He was also just recently named a Hobey Baker Finalist and Hockey-East Player of the Year.
Aston-Reese will report to WBS this weekend on an ATO. His 2-year entry-level contract will begin next season. -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) March 14, 2017
Bruins End Flames' Streak
The Boston Bruins ended the Calgary Flames franchise record-tying streak of ten straight wins when they beat them 5-2 on Wednesday.
Edmonton Oilers fans breathed a collective sigh of relief, only to hold their breath again as Calgary defeated the Dallas Stars last night by a score of 3-1.
Brad Marchand Ties Connor McDavid for Scoring Lead
Brad Marchand is currently tied for the NHL lead in both goals and points. He's also set career highs in both categories this season. pic.twitter.com/OM7oyIoWhV— NHLNumbers (@NHLnumbers) March 18, 2017
That $6.125 million per year extension they locked him up to a few months ago is looking even better now: https://t.co/aA0UkHK3Kl— NHLNumbers (@NHLnumbers) March 18, 2017
Speaking as an Oilers fan, if that former Stanley Cup "Champian" beats out Connor for the NHL scoring title then nothing is right in the world.
NHL March Madness? It Would Beat the World Cup of Hockey...
Brock Seguin tweeted out an interesting proposal this week, and because it's never going to happen IRL, Daily Faceoff is running the bracket on NHL 17. The simulated tournament started last night, so check out the Daily Faceoff post for results.
Because it's been a pretty dry week in the NHL world, here's a picture of Shania Twain at a Flyers game with a pretty big slice of pie.