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Thanksgiving is now over, and things are starting to get real interesting. The Bruins are back in control of the Northeast. Pittsburgh is losing its grip. Florida and Minnesota continue to shine. Minnesota has a solid lead in their division, but all the others are just one win away from changing hands. In fact, the Northeast is separated by just four points between first and last. Just about anyone could still make a real good move to gain a lot of ground, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Friday, November 25, before the day’s games:
Minnesota has won five in a row and is 8-2-1 at home. They’ve also allowed just 42 goals, least in the West. St Louis has been hovering around the middle of the pack for awhile now, and while they have a good defense themselves, don’t have enough ability (especially on the road) to stay with Minnesota.
San Jose has won four straight, and have a defense right up there with the best in the league. Phoenix has just as good an offense as San Jose, but they haven’t always been able to hold onto games this season, while San Jose could easily pick off games in Arizona.
With 71 goals, Chicago has the second best offense in the league behind the Flyers, but their defense leaves much to be desired. Detroit has been winning lately while Chicago has been losing, leading to a much closer division. With current momentum and goal tendencies, Detroit has the advantage here.
Both teams are very close to each other. Dallas has the points percentage tiebreaker, and is 8-3-0 at home. Dallas hasn’t been that successful in recent years, while the Kings are usually in the playoff picture. If Jonathan Quick and co. can stay in early season form, they should be able to pull out a close series, but there’s no margin for error.
New York has lost its last two, but won seven in a row before that. Pittsburgh has been playing .500 hockey lately, and while they may not have New York’s defense, they have one of the most explosive offenses around. And it recently got Sidney Crosby back. With that potency and Crosby’s return (and Matt Cooke trying to cripple all the competition), Pittsburgh should have the edge.
Florida has put on a clinic lately, winning their last three to pull ahead of Washington. Buffalo is dangerous, though they have a surprisingly porous defense, giving up 70 goals so far. Florida’s stats are very good themselves, and being so underrated, could easily take down Buffalo with a pressing attack.
These two are surprisingly similar; both Philadelphia and Toronto score a lot and give up a lot, though Philly is better in both areas. It’ll be close, but Philly is the only one of the two to be successful in recent years, they have home-rink advantage and can easily take a road game.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, NHL Playoffs, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals