As we reach the final week of the regular season, there are still several teams in each conference battling for that final playoff spot. This week we're going to take a look at each team and who has the toughest or easiest road to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Let's start with the Eastern Conference, where four teams -- the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets -- are fighting for the final three spots. Here's what I think of each team and which is likely to be the odd one out.
Position: Sixth place, 53 points
Games remaining: at Carolina, at Philadelphia, at Buffalo
My take: The Islanders have been a great story. For a number of years people wondered if they really knew what they were doing out there after hiring Garth Snow as the GM when he had no experience whatsoever and after making deals like that massive contract with Rick DiPietro. It looked like they were really out of control. But suddenly they've drafted pretty well, they've brought in some solid veterans like Evgeni Nabokov, Lubomir Visnovsky and Mark Streit, and they've got John Tavares, who is as good a player as there is in hockey. Quietly this has become a very good hockey team, and yeah, they have to finish the season with five straight road games, but they've already won two of them and they've got Carolina next, whom you would think they would also beat. With the way this team is playing, where they are in the standings and who they've got left, I think it's safe to say the Islanders will end their six-year playoff drought.