A year ago today, both of the teams that are now occupying the eighth and final playoff spots in their respective conferences (Boston and Detroit) were right at the top of the NHL standings, and widely regarded as favourites to win the Stanley Cup. Given how little both of these rosters have changed since that time, it may then seem rather unlikely that both of these teams have actually gotten that much worse, or that so many of the other teams which are now ahead of them have actually gotten that much better, and yet, both of these teams now find themselves fighting to even get into the playoffs. As such, there is very little doubt that the injuries and misfortunes that both of these teams have had to endure this season have been major contributing factors to their falls in the standings.
Now that both of these teams cling tightly to the final playoff spots in their conferences though, there may not be a better time for them to finally start playing at their bests, and last year’s standings would be some indication of how good these two former powerhouses can actually be. Furthermore, Boston’s 6-3-1 record over their last 10 games, and Detroit’s 6-2-2 record over their last 10, have also been sure-fire signs that both of these teams have reawakened from mid-season slumps, and are now ready to make a push for the finish line.
Don’t be surprised if either Boston or Detroit manage to turn back the clock (maybe not all the way), and begin playing like it’s 2009 again, and make sure to be watchful of this trend, if it should start here on Monday. As we have seen, both of their positions in the standings are not the most accurate indications of what these squads are capable of.
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