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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 2

Blackhawks vs Maple Leafs: Week 2's prediction for the Stanley Cup

Another week in, and the Maple Leafs are going strong. The Blackhawks are back on top out West, though their three closest competitors all have three games in hand, down by three points. That’s 333, which when doubled, means the Devils are currently in last place in the entire NHL. They’re followed by Ottawa and San Jose, which none of us saw coming. But it’s still early. And the Bruins still have a game in hand to move close to Toronto, and two in hand to move into 4th place. But exactly how convoluted are the standings after two weeks? Let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, October 21, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs #8 Calgary Flames

Chicago has been the busiest team thus far, playing eight games, but they’ve gotten 11 points out of it, including four straight victories. Calgary is just squeaking in, and while their defense is better than Chicago’s, their offense has only scored nine times. That’s not enough to beat Chicago, even after shedding salary cap space.

#2 Los Angeles Kings vs #7 Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus is back in the picture, but the Kings’ have allowed just nine goals, and are perfect at home, 3-0-0. After breaching 100 points last season, and with some decent pieces people have heard of, the Kings are too good to fall here.

#3 Colorado Avalanche vs #6 Detroit Red Wings

Colorado has one more point, but one more game out of hand. They’ve scored and given up 19 goals, with the Red Wings sacrificing some offense for more defense, comparatively. The Red Wings are still the Red Wings, and Colorado hasn’t been that good for a while.

#4 Nashville Predators vs #5 Dallas Stars

The Stars have one more win, but lose out on the tiebreaker because two of their wins were in shootouts. They’ve also scored 20 goals. Nashville has better defense, but two OT home losses. Plus, those two shootout wins means Dallas is better early on in close games.

East:

#1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs #8 Carolina Hurricanes

Aside from Nashville, Toronto is the only team yet to lose in regulation. It makes you wonder whether Toronto is happy they gave away Seguin for Kessel. Carolina has only played one game at home so far, but at 2-3 on the road, Toronto has got to be liking their chances.

#2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs #7 Boston Bruins

One more win, assuming it’s not in a shootout, will make Boston a better team than Tampa, but #4 because of Toronto. Boston’s defense has been great again, giving up seven goals, though five of those are Tuukka Rask’s fault. The best defense in the league, behind only Florida, should have no problem with this one. It’s a good thing Tim Thomas realized not trying gets you booted from the starting job.

#3 New York Islanders vs #6 Montreal Canadiens

Who saw the Islanders coming? Montreal has won their last two, and has a decent defense, but without Halak? The Islanders are another one of those teams with 20 goals, and that’s what they’ve been using to win. For the Canadiens to make the upset, Carey Price will need to step up to a level he hasn’t done so far.

#4 Washington Capitals vs #5 Pittsburgh Penguins

At 2-3 at home, Pittsburgh was out of the playoff picture not too long ago. They do have 23 goals, behind only Chicago’s 25, but the Caps have Ovechkin, and home rink advantage. Pittsburgh will need that unbeaten road mojo going for them to have a shot this time around.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • If Washington can solve Boston, they’ve got a good shot at reclaiming the division lead.
  • The schedule allows both Buffalo and Philadelphia a good chance to get back into the bracket; they face off in Philly Tuesday.
  • Vancouver only has two games, but if they win them both, they’ll take over for either Columbus or Calgary (whichever one loses in Columbus).

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Discussion

2 comments for “If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 2”

  1. Could you put some links in here so I can check out the teams?

    I’d like to keep up with hockey by following this blog series.

    Posted by DanPitrowiski | October 21, 2010, 5:28 pm
  2. Not a bad idea, I’ll keep that in mind for future reference.

    Posted by John | October 21, 2010, 6:52 pm

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