With just 2 games remaining in the regular season there remains just one unclaimed spot in the post season. That 10th and final spot is up for grabs and 3 teams will all be looking for a post season birth this week.
After this weeks action the playoff picture is a bit clearer. Luleå continues to remain undefeated and have now put together 12 straight wins, however, Färjestad is still within striking distance of the top spot as they sit just 2 points back. With their pair of wins this week Frölunda sits comfortably in the 3rd overall position. Luleå, Färjestad and Frölunda are all guaranteed to finish in the top six, granting them a bye straight to the quarterfinal round.
However, the last 3 spots in the top six are still uncertain as Malmö could catch Djurgården, Växjö or Skellefteå who sit 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. Rögle could also find themselves in the top 6 depending on the play of the other teams hunting for a quarterfinal birth. But the real action comes at the bottom of the standings as 3 teams compete for the 10th and final playoff spot.
Both Linköping and Brynäs have been struggling giving Örebro a shot at a playoff birth. Linköping has lost 10 of their last 11, icluding all 3 of their games this past week, and Brynäs has dropped 9 of their last 11. But with their victory over Malmö back on Thursday night, Brynäs now sits in the final playoff spot with 68 points, 2 ahead of Örebro and 3 ahead of Linköping. This coming week, however, features the most important game of the season as far as playoff implications are concerned as Linköping hosts Brynäs in Saab Arena on Tuesday night. Should Brynäs come away victorious that will be the end of the season for Linköping as a loss would mathematicaly eliminate them from post season contention. If Örebro were to lose their game against Mora on Tuesday then Brynäs would secure the 10th and final playoff spot.
Game of the Week Review
Our game of the week on the world feed this week came on Saturday night in Växjö as the Lakers played Host to Färjestad inside Vida Arena. The first period started a bit irregularly as 3 powerplays were awarded within the first 5 minutes, two for the Lakers and one for Färjestad. Despite the early man advantages, however, both goaltenders would remain strong between the pipes, turning aside good scoring chances and the 1st period would conclude in a scoreless tie.
Early in the 2nd Erik Josefsson would get his stick in the face of Oskar Steen and caused heavy bleeding from the forward and Färjestad would be awarded a 4 minute powerplay. The Lakers would kill the majority of the double minor but Michael Lindqvist would find the back of the net in the late stages of the man advantage to give Färjestad the 1-0 lead. It wouldn't take long for them to extend their lead as Jesper Olofsson would score a highlight reel goal. Turning on the jets through the neutral zone Olofsson danced around Arvid Lundberg and put a perfectly placed shot up and over the left shoulder of Viktor Fasth to give them the 2-0 lead. Färjestad would cary that lead in to the 3rd period.
The Lakers came out hard in third with energy and momentum and were rewarded with just under five miutes elapsed. Kris Versteeg let a low hard shot go from the top of the circle and beat a screened Adam Werner five hole to bring the game back within one. Despite pressure from both teams throughout the rest of the frame, both goaltenders would stand strong between the pipes and Färjestad would hold on to come away with the 2-1 victory. It was a very important win for Färjestad as well as the 3 points allowed them to stay within striking distance of the top spot currently occupied by Lulea.
Top Line of the Week
Markus Svensson , Färjestad (3)
Svensson won both games he started this week and gave up just one goal per game. His week started with a 15 save performance against Brynäs on Tuesday night and faced a tougher challenge on Thursday in Behrn Arena. Svensson turned 35 of 36 shots away and was a major factor in their victory. For his performance this week, Svensson makes the top line of the week for the third time this season.
Jesse Virtanen , Färjestad (3)
With an average of 22:56 TOI this week Virtanen was one of the top players for time played this week. His offensive production also continued this week with a goal and 2 assists in their three games. He also finished the week +4 and was not on the ice for a single goal against. Virtanen grabs his third top line of the week nomination with his performance.
Kodie Curran , Rögle (5)
Kodie Curran returns to the top line of the week for the fifth time this season, more than any other player. With a goal and 4 assists in three games, Curran was instrumental in helping his team secure their first playoff birth in more than two decades this week.
Marcus Davidsson , Djurgården (1)
The younger of the Davidsson brothers makes his top line of the week debut this week. After being on the ice for 6 goals and none against, Davidsson lead the league this week in the plus/minus category. He also added a goal and two assists in three games played.
Jack Connolly , Luleå (2)
The American exploded on offense this week and helped his team continue their win streak. His first goal of the week was arguably the most important as it came in overtime against HV71 back on Tuesday night, he added an assist in that game as well. It was Conolly's eigth game winning goal of the season. The home and home series against Linköping saw him score another and add two more assists. With his 5 points this week Conolly grabs his second top line of the week nomination.
Joakim Lindström , Skellefteå (2)
Lindström was the deciding factor in the game against Djurgården back on Tuesday night. The star forward scored both goals in regulation and scored both goals in the shootout, the second of which was the game winner. He added another assist against Timrå on Thursday night a grabs his second top line of the week honours.