This year’s Elite League title battle is shaping up to be a fascinating race which could go right down to the wire.
Cardiff Devils’ 3-1 loss at Fife Flyers on Thursday leaves them two points clear of Sheffield Steelers with both teams having seven games left to play.
Nottingham Panthers are four points behind the Steelers with two games in hand, while Braehead Clan and Belfast Giants are a further three points adrift and would probably need to win all their remaining games to be in with a chance of claiming the crown.
The Devils’ final fixtures see them face the Giants three times and the Panthers twice, with their last game of the season on home ice against Corey Neilson’s team a possible title decider.
Steelers also meet the Panthers twice, while their final day trip to face Fife is a potential banana skin given Flyers’ upturn in form in the last month.
Just four of Panthers’ remaining nine games are on home ice, starting with tonight’s visit of the Giants – a game which Ladrokes have them as favourites for – but with two games each against the Devils and the Steelers they are firmly in the title race.
Having analysed the run-in we’re going to stick our neck on the line and predict the following top three:
Devils – 71, Panthers – 70, Steelers – 69.