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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 2

Capitals vs Stars: Week 2's prediction for the Stanley Cup

Another week has gone by, and more surprising teams are poking their heads in the race. While every has at least a point, only two remain perfect. Already, all but eight teams have been involved in shootouts. It’s been a rough start for both participants in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. That means the field is wide open and anyone can pull ahead, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, October 20 at 8:00pm:

West

#1 Dallas Stars vs #8 Phoenix Coyotes

While Phoenix is a .500 team so far after losing their star goalie, Dallas is off to a very impressive 5-1-0 start, including 4-0-0 at home. With that kind of early power, it’ll be tough for Phoenix to rally against it.

#2 Colorado Avalanche vs #7 Minnesota Wild

Colorado is off to another good start; their 20 goals are second only to Pittsburgh’s 23 (though that’s in two additional games). Minnesota is looking fairly mediocre at this point in comparison. Colorado may have lost their only home game so far, but they’re 5-0-0 on the road. With that kind of pressure, Minnesota will be hard-pressed to hold on even at home.

#3 Detroit Red Wings vs #6 Los Angeles Kings

Detroit is one of the two remaining perfect teams, 2-0-0 both at home and away. What is most impressive is that they’ve given up just five goals so far, an NHL best. Los Angeles has the offense to keep up, but their defense hasn’t been as top notch.

#4 Anaheim Ducks vs #5 Chicago Blackhawks

Anaheim is impressively 3-0-0 at home, and while they haven’t been scoring much, they haven’t been giving up much either. Chicago has the more prolific offense and a pretty good defense, and if it weren’t for a shootout loss, would be identical to Anaheim record-wise. It won’t be easy by any means, but Chicago has the tools needed to pull out a win.

East

#1 Washington Capitals vs #8 New Jersey Devils

The Devils are off to a great defensive start, but with just nine goals scored, their offense is tied for the worst in the NHL. Washington has the offense to break New Jersey, plus with their pretty decent net minding and home-ice advantage, they shouldn’t have too much trouble.

#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #7 New York Islanders

Who would’ve thought New York would have the league’s second best defense at six goals surrendered? Pittsburgh shouldn’t be too concerned, though. They’re good on both sides of the ice, and Sidney Crosby is getting better; New York can’t rest on their laurels.

#3 Toronto Maple Leafs vs #6 Carolina Hurricanes

Toronto has been very tough early on; they can thank Phil Kessel for that. Unfortunately for Carolina, the ‘Canes defense has been pretty porous, with 19 goals allowed through six games. Give Toronto that edge and home-ice, and they’ll advance pretty handily. Too bad they don’t decide games based on toughness of mascots…

#4 Philadelphia Flyers vs #5 Buffalo Sabres

Both teams are very close; Philadelphia is ahead mainly because their loss came in overtime. But with both teams at 3-0-0 on the road, Buffalo might actually have the advantage here. With Ryan Miller in net, they’ll be tough to beat anyway. Philadelphia has the slight scoring edge, but they’ll need Ilya Bryzgalov (try saying that three times fast) to be on fire to stand with Miller.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Look for Washington to fall from #1 with Philly and Pittsburgh hot on their tail.
  • While we’re at it, look for Detroit to take advantage of two games against Columbus to take over the West, especially if they can get a point out of Washington.
  • It’s finally time for Vancouver to take their place amongst the West’s eight.

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