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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 14

Canucks vs Flyers: Week 14's prediction for the Stanley Cup

Each team is now officially at least halfway through the season. The Devils are still quite useless and the Canucks are still quite strong. Boston is still ahead of Montreal by two, but hasn’t always been consistent very much at all. Now, five divisions are being led by teams that didn’t win them last season. This is a huge time for change, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, January 12, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Vancouver Canucks vs #8 Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago has been slipping since shedding talent and salary. Meanwhile, the last time Vancouver lost in regulation was December 5. The last time they lost to someone other than the Red Wings was December 11, to Tampa. Vancouver is too good for Chicago to defeat in this state.

#2 Detroit Red Wings vs #7 Anaheim Ducks

Both teams have given up 123 goals, but Detroit has scored 32 more goals than Anaheim. Not to mention their much better road record. Along with Atlanta, Anaheim has played more games than any other team, but they still haven’t gotten to Detroit’s level.

#3 Dallas Stars vs #6 Colorado Avalanche

This one could get much more interesting. Dallas has more points and a division lead, but Colorado, despite their questionable defense, has a very potent offense to make up for it. The Avs have won both meetings so far: a home shutout and road shootout win. Don’t get caught up on Dallas when Colorado is still dangerous.

#4 Nashville Predators vs #5 Phoenix Coyotes

Phoenix is doing well, but they’re the only playoff team now without 10 home wins (eight). Nashville has won six in a row to vault into #4. Also, they have the second best defense in the NHL behind Boston, with 98 goals allowed. With the roll they’re on, Nashville has the definite edge.

East

#1 Philadelphia Flyers vs #8 Atlanta Thrashers

Four wins in a row has Philly three points ahead of the Penguins and with two games in hand. Atlanta is 3-5-2 in their last 10, and at this pace, will slip behind Carolina shortly. Philadelphia is definitely in the driver’s seat.

#2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs #7 Montreal Canadiens

Tampa‘s defense is failing its offense, but they’re still at #2. Montreal has won its last three, and has only given up 100 goals. Still, eight of those were against Tampa. Montreal will need to keep up the defense while they pick their spots in order to come out on top.

#3 Boston Bruins vs #6 New York Rangers

Each team has won 3-2 on the other team’s ice. But Boston does have their defense. Hopefully, they’re able to play for a full 60 minutes after beating Ottawa handily. As long as they get stable and you know how they’ll play, New York should lose.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #5 Washington Capitals

With Pittsburgh‘s mini slump, the door could be open for Washington. The Caps are down a point, but have a game in hand. And Crosby got a week off, while Ovechkin is still healthy. Anything could happen in this series, and any team that loses a piece will lose the series.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With Boston’s tough schedule, Montreal could pick up a couple of points and move to the division lead.
  • There’s plenty of action towards the middle of the West’s pack, which could shake a lot of things up.

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