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    Ovechkin will make the playoffs, Malkin won't? Now it all depends on Washington

    Incredible confusion at the bottom of the top 8 of the Eastern Conference The National Hockey League, where a number of teams continue to fight fiercely for the remaining two spots in the playoffs, is gradually becoming clearer. By the will of the calendar, all competitors vying for a wild card took turns performing on the same day.
    It began with a bright and juicy New York derby, in which the Rangers, through the efforts of the magnificent Artemi Panarin, finally won a victory over the Islanders. However, the “islanders” lost only in a shootout, and therefore, even taking into account the defeat, they were content with one point. This point allowed Patrick Roy's team to guarantee themselves seventh place in the East table in the coming days and increase their chances of final success.

    The Flyers also grabbed onto their last opportunity. “Philadelphia” won a minimal but vital victory over the “New Jersey Devils” at home. Moreover, the only and decisive goal came from the “pilots” when playing in the minority, and the puck was scored by none other than Travis Konecny.

    Next, the local Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning suffered a powerful blow in the US capital. The battle between the Caps and the Lightning turned out to be truly tough. For Nick Jensen, who ended the match early due to injury after a terrible hit with his head on the boards, even too much. Despite many predictions in favor of the Lightning, the victory went to Washington, which also did not allow the incredible Nikita Kucherov to extend his crazy scoring streak.

    After Washington, their main competitors, the Detroit Red Wings, entered the scene. The Red Wings had a real thriller in Toronto against the local Maple Leafs. After the first period, Detroit led with a score of 4:1, but in a classic manner managed to lose the advantage they had gained, and even allowed Auston Matthews to get one step closer to the historical mark of 70 goals for the season. But in overtime, the Red Wings still achieved their goal, although a victory in regulation time would have been more expensive for them.
    Finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins have outlined their claims to a spot in the playoffs. But it was unsuccessful. The Pens fought on their home court against one of the season leaders, the Boston Bruins, but still couldn’t cope and lost. Even Evgeni Malkin's assist did not help the Penguins. This defeat could cost Mike Sullivan’s team a lot, because now they have to rely not only on their own victories, but also on the misfires of their competitors. And there are only two games left.

    Now the standings in the hottest zone of the Eastern Conference look like this:

    • 7th place – Islanders, 90 points in 80 matches;
    • 8 – “Washington”, 87 points in 80 matches;
    • 9 – “Detroit” “, 87 points in 80 matches;
    • 10 – “Philadelphia”, 87 points in 81 matches;
    • < li class="article__list-item">11 — “Pittsburgh”, 86 points in 80 matches.

    The schedule of each of the presented teams is also interesting:
    < ul class="article__list m-circle">

  • Islanders: New Jersey (away) and Pittsburgh (home);
  • Washington: Boston (home) and Philadelphia (away);
  • Detroit: Montreal (home) and Montreal (away);
  • Philadelphia: Washington (home);
  • Pittsburgh: Nashville (home) and Islanders (away).
  • For the Islanders, it's simple – one win will take them to the playoffs. Even two defeats outside of regulation time will be enough. For Washington, the picture is a little more tense, but the advantage of Alexander Ovechkin and Co. is that they are not dependent on competitors. Two wins in two matches will make the “capital” participants in the Stanley Cup. In this situation, the Caps will not be embarrassed even by the expected two victories of Detroit in both matches against Montreal. The Red Wings obviously have a simpler calendar, but they have fewer wins in regulation time, and therefore have to wait for a misfire from Washington. “Philadelphia” also has to count on the same: one victory in the remaining game with the “Caps” does not guarantee the “pilots” anything, unless the competitors screw up to the maximum. “Pittsburgh” will definitely make either “Washington” or “Philadelphia” misfire. But even this will not be enough for the “penguins” if, surprisingly, “Detroit” suddenly does not get points in the games with “Montreal”.

    The denouement will come in the coming days.

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