(Editor's note: Buffalo and Philly are only pictured because they haven't been mathematically eliminated -- yet. We'll see ya in October, fellas.)
The Devils were in rough shape entering play Thursday night. Then the Senators, Islanders and Jets won in regulation, making the six and seven seeds basically unreachable and adding yet another ROW to Winnipeg's already impossible number. Those wins, combined with New Jersey's regulation loss Wednesday, put the Devils hoping for a Jets collapse and a sweep of the two-game mini-series against the Rangers in the final week of the season. That of course assumes the Devils keep pace with the Rangers until that point, which brings me to my next point.
The Devils, for a team that is now dependent on other teams losing, shouldn't be scoreboard watching anymore (leave that to us, Pete and Lou). All they have to do is win -- and win as much as they can. Get regulation wins. Get overtime wins. Hell, even get shootout wins.
Just. Get. Wins.
Luckily for the Devils, they're playing a team six points above them in the playoff chase in Ottawa, which just stopped their own slide last night. A playoff competitor on the second half of a back-to-back coming off a skid-breaking, sigh-of-relief victory? The Senators sound ripe for a letdown game.
The Islanders, Rangers and Jets can all sit back and watch since Devils-Senators is the only Eastern Conference game on the marquee tonight.