Before we dive into all that, let us quickly recap OGA's calls at Game 10:
Chasing Stanley: Montreal, Tampa Bay and St. Louis.
Tee Time: None.
In The Curve: Everyone else.
Got all that? Good - let's move on to the State of the League at Game 20:
New additions to this semi-exclusive club are: Philadelphia (18 NOV), Washington (19 NOV), Los Angeles (22 NOV), Boston (24 NOV), Columbus (24 NOV) and Detroit (26 NOV).
Of these calls, Columbus was the biggest surprise, but made it in with solid goaltending/team defense and timely goal scoring from the bottom two lines. The Flyers were a bit of a surprise as well, if only because nobody (outside of Flyers' management) saw rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky coming. Goaltending is also the story in Boston, as Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask look like the best tandem in recent memory. The Kings have a young and talented team with scoring depth. Detroit and Washington are, well, Detroit and Washington: Chock full o'talent and piling up the W's.
At Game 20, these teams formally entered the battle for the top pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft: New Jersey (20 NOV), NY Islanders (21 NOV) and Edmonton (23 NOV).
The entire hockey world is still in shock at the Implosion in Newark. Much has been written about New Jersey's problems, and there's no need for another blow-by-blow account here. The Readers Digest Condensed Version is this: All-World goalie Marty Brodeur has a bum elbow, but was looking VERY human before his injury, top winger Zach Parise is out for a few months with a knee injury, and the incredibly talented Ilya Kovalchuk is skating like he's carrying $100mil (in small bills) on his back. For the first time since 1995-96, the Devils will not play in the postseason.
The Islanders, on the other hand, are unsurprising. They're a young team with some talent but no depth, and two of their top players suffered long-term injuries before the regular season began. It took a game against the Devils to end the Isles' 14-game losing streak. Wait 'til next year, Long Island.
2010-11 is another rebuilding season in Edmonton. The Oilers' most talented players are still too young to carry the load, so chalk this campaign up as a learning experience, with a shot at another top draft pick at the end. On a related note, Oil Change, airing on NHL Network, is a fascinating look at what's going on with the Oilers. Check it out.
IN THE CURVE
SUMMARY/A LOOK AHEAD TO GAME 30
Through Game 20, we've called nine teams IN the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs - four in the Western Conference, five in the East. Three more teams are now OUT of the playoffs - one Western, two Eastern. That means the fates of eighteen teams have yet to be decided.
By Game 30, we should see one more team called Chasing Stanley in the East, which will leave just two open playoff slots for the remaining clubs to battle over. Also in the East, at least two teams are in grave danger of reaching Tee Time before Christmas.
In the West, an extended hot streak could get one more team into the playoffs by Game 30, while a couple of clubs will need to get in gear just to avoid joining Edmonton at Tee Time.
Check back here for team status updates. As OGA knows, so will you.
Take me back to On Goal Analysis.