Race For The Cup, March 25

The Stanley Cup won't be handed out until June, but this is the time we see teams make a run at the playoffs. You can't win the Cup if you don't make the playoffs. Follow us daily to find out where your favorite team stands as the season dwindles.

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We keep waiting for playoff teams to separate themselves from the non-playoff pack, and nothing seems to be happening. Races are still exceptionally close, as it seems at least some teams aren't capable of getting on the kind of roll they need in order to sew up a playoff spot. Others look to be in meltdown mode at the worst possible time.

In the East
Eastern Conference, 3/24
1. y-Boston Bruins
102 pts
2. New Jersey Devils
97
3. Washington Capitals
96
4. Philadelphia Flyers 90
5. Carolina Hurricanes
87
6. Pittsburgh Penguins
86
7. New York Rangers
84
8. Montreal Canadiens
81
9. Florida Panthers
81
10. Buffalo Sabres
76
11. Ottawa Senators
74
12. Toronto Maple Leafs
73
Eastern Conference, 3/24 1.y-Boston Bruins
102 pts2.New Jersey Devils
973.Washington Capitals
964.Philadelphia Flyers905.Carolina Hurricanes
876.Pittsburgh Penguins
867.New York Rangers
848.Montreal Canadiens
819.Florida Panthers
8110.Buffalo Sabres
7611.Ottawa Senators
7412.Toronto Maple Leafs
73
Eastern Conference, 3/25
1. y-Boston Bruins
102 pts
2. New Jersey Devils
97
3. Washington Capitals
97
4. Philadelphia Flyers 90
5. Carolina Hurricanes
87
6. Pittsburgh Penguins
86
7. New York Rangers
86
8. Montreal Canadiens
83
9. Florida Panthers
81
10. Buffalo Sabres
76
11. Toronto Maple Leafs
75
12. Ottawa Senators
74
Eastern Conference, 3/25 1.y-Boston Bruins
102 pts2.New Jersey Devils
973.Washington Capitals
974.Philadelphia Flyers905.Carolina Hurricanes
876.Pittsburgh Penguins
867.New York Rangers
868.Montreal Canadiens
839.Florida Panthers
8110.Buffalo Sabres
7611.Toronto Maple Leafs
7512.Ottawa Senators
74
Eastern Conference, 3/24
1.y-Boston Bruins
102 pts
2.New Jersey Devils
97
3.Washington Capitals
96
4.Philadelphia Flyers90
5.Carolina Hurricanes
87
6.Pittsburgh Penguins
86
7.New York Rangers
84
8.Montreal Canadiens
81
9.Florida Panthers
81
10.Buffalo Sabres
76
11.Ottawa Senators
74
12.Toronto Maple Leafs
73
Eastern Conference, 3/25
1.y-Boston Bruins
102 pts
2.New Jersey Devils
97
3.Washington Capitals
97
4.Philadelphia Flyers90
5.Carolina Hurricanes
87
6.Pittsburgh Penguins
86
7.New York Rangers
86
8.Montreal Canadiens
83
9.Florida Panthers
81
10.Buffalo Sabres
76
11.Toronto Maple Leafs
75
12.Ottawa Senators
74

The Canadiens beat Atlanta 6-3 to reclaim sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They're two points ahead of fading Florida.

John Tortorella's New York Rangers continued their rebound, beating Minnesota 2-1. For the Rangers, fourth place in the East might not be attainable, but they can make a run at it if they keep playing well.

Yes, the Maple Leafs beat Washington in a shootout, but Montreal's win means Toronto's still eight points out of the eighth spot. They've had a nice little run going here in the second half, but it's hard to imagine they'll make the playoffs.

In the West

Western Conference, 3/24
1. y-San Jose Sharks
106 pts
2. x-Detroit Red Wings
105
3. Calgary Flames
90
4. Chicago Blackhawks
87
5. Vancouver Canucks
85
6. Columbus Blue Jackets
82
7. Edmonton Oilers
79
8. Nashville Predators
77
9. Anaheim Ducks
76
10. Minnesota Wild
76
11. St. Louis Blues
75
12. Dallas Stars
74
Western Conference, 3/24 1.y-San Jose Sharks
106 pts2.x-Detroit Red Wings
1053.Calgary Flames
904.Chicago Blackhawks
875.Vancouver Canucks
856.Columbus Blue Jackets
827.Edmonton Oilers
798.Nashville Predators
779.Anaheim Ducks
7610.Minnesota Wild
7611.St. Louis Blues
7512.Dallas Stars
74
Western Conference, 3/25
1. x-Detroit Red Wings
107 pts
2. y-San Jose Sharks
106
3. Calgary Flames
90
4. Chicago Blackhawks
87
5. Vancouver Canucks
87
6. Columbus Blue Jackets
83
7. Edmonton Oilers
79
8. Anaheim Ducks
78
9. Nashville Predators
78
10. St. Louis Blues
77
11. Minnesota Wild
76
12. Dallas Stars
74
Western Conference, 3/25 1.x-Detroit Red Wings
107 pts2.y-San Jose Sharks
1063.Calgary Flames
904.Chicago Blackhawks
875.Vancouver Canucks
876.Columbus Blue Jackets
837.Edmonton Oilers
798.Anaheim Ducks
789.Nashville Predators
7810.St. Louis Blues
7711.Minnesota Wild
7612.Dallas Stars
74
Western Conference, 3/24
1.y-San Jose Sharks
106 pts
2.x-Detroit Red Wings
105
3.Calgary Flames
90
4.Chicago Blackhawks
87
5.Vancouver Canucks
85
6.Columbus Blue Jackets
82
7.Edmonton Oilers
79
8.Nashville Predators
77
9.Anaheim Ducks
76
10.Minnesota Wild
76
11.St. Louis Blues
75
12.Dallas Stars
74
Western Conference, 3/25
1.x-Detroit Red Wings
107 pts
2.y-San Jose Sharks
106
3.Calgary Flames
90
4.Chicago Blackhawks
87
5.Vancouver Canucks
87
6.Columbus Blue Jackets
83
7.Edmonton Oilers
79
8.Anaheim Ducks
78
9.Nashville Predators
78
10.St. Louis Blues
77
11.Minnesota Wild
76
12.Dallas Stars
74

With the West staying close, every regulation loss is killer for the Wild. Making matters worse is Michael Russo hinting that Mikko Koivumight have skated his last shift of the season. If that's the case, it's time to unpack the golf clubs.

The Stars' free-fall continues. They dropped a 5-2 decision to Vancouver and are now four points out in the West. It doesn't sound like much, but it's going to be really tough to make it up, especially if they keep playing like they've been.

Edmonton blew a third-period lead and lost to Detroit. While losing to the Red Wings is hardly shameful, it's a lost opportunity for the Oilers, who are only one point clear of ninth-place Nashville.

It was a fantastic night for Anaheim, as they looked like the Ducks of old in a 2-1 shootout win over Nashville. A strong defense held the Predators to 13 shots in the first two periods, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere was fantastic in the third period before stoning Nashville in four rounds of the shootout. With the win, Anaheim now holds the eighth spot in the West.

Patrik Berglund scored two third-period goals in the Blues' 2-0 win over Los Angeles. St. Louis is now one point out of the eighth spot.

******
What's Next

You hate to say it at this point, but Florida-Buffalo could be a playoff elimination game, especially if it's decided in regulation.

Carolina and Ottawa are both on fire, and any chance the Senators may have of being a real factor in this race probably hinges on them continuing to win. They take a 9-1 record over their last ten into Wednesday night's game in Raleigh.

Sadly, despite their consistently inconsistent play, Minnesota heads to Long Island in the thick of the playoff race.

x - Clinched Playoff Spot, y - Division Champ, z - Conference Champ; green - Rise in the Standings, red - Fall

Race For The Cup, March 25 originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Wed, 25 Mar 2009 10:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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