If you’re an Atlantic Division team looking at the current playoff seeding, why would you want to go after the division crown? That’s what Pierre LeBrun wonders in his latest column for TSN. The top Atlantic team will have to face one—most likely the New York Rangers—of the four dominant Metropolitan teams, all of which have more points than the currently leading Montreal Canadiens. That system may need some tweaking argues LeBrun, who suggests going back to the straight divisional playoffs that brewed long-standing rivalries.
For what it’s worth, it doesn’t seem like the GMs have much interest in changing the format, with one telling LeBrun “it’s all cyclical. Some years some divisions are stronger.” It may not even matter, as Montreal has dominated the Rangers this season. With a 3-0 record, they are likely looking forward to a first round matchup.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets have activated Lukas Sedlak from injured reserve today, as he has healed completely from the oblique strain that’s kept him out for a month. The 23-year old has 12 points in 55 games this season, his first in the NHL. Never much of an offensive player, Sedlak prides himself on his defensive and faceoff success and the analytics show it. The young centerman has been an elite shot suppressor in his first season, exactly what you want from a fourth-line player.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to Brayden Point to lead their team again tonight as Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov and Cedric Paquette remain out. Byron Froese was recalled earlier today and will figure into a lineup that was already missing Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula and Brian Boyle from the start of the year. Point will have to get by a former teammate in Morgan Rielly, who he played as a 15-year old for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.