Okay, our Boys in Blue are tied with the Carolina Tropical Depressions for the top spot in the division, both teams for the moment stalled at 56 points. The Washington Capitals and the Florida Panthers are both just one point behind us and Carolina, so one could argue that the Southeastern Division is the most competitive division in the League right now. The only team that looks like it doesn't have a shot is the Tampa Bay Lightning, but even I wouldn't rule out some kind of hot streak to give them a respectable finish.
That all has to do with the number one spot in our division, of course. Whoever clinches the Southeast Division will get the number 3 spot in the Eastern Conference and glide into the playoffs that way. I think the Caps, the Hurricanes, our Thrashers, and even the Panthers now all have a a realistic chance of being the division winner. The other way we could sneak into the playoffs, of course, is by lurching into that number eight spot. I would actually prefer this route, as I'd love to play the Ottawa Senators in the first round and humiliate them. An 8 or 7 spot for the Thrashers looks plausible when you consider the possibility of a) a Thrashers hot streak (I know we lost last night, but if we win several games in the coming weeks we can end up with a consistently badass record) and b) a collapse from one of the current Top 8. I think the Rangers or the Bruins could certainly choke and lose their position; both teams lost last night, and I think that losing to the L.A. Kings and the Buffalo Sabres (respectively) could bring about a loss of confidence and a fall from the top eight. Perhaps.
Meanwhile, the Southeast Division is in a feeding frenzy for the top spot. If enough games are won we could see at least three Southeastern teams making it to the playoffs. I'm not a great Florida or Carolina fan, but wouldn't be exciting if this year the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins choked and some combination/variation of the Thrashers, the Hurricanes, the Caps and the Panthers all made it to the playoffs?