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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 17

Rangers vs Red Wings: Week 17's prediction for the Stanley Cup

Now that we’re into February, time is beginning to become a factor for teams that need to make up ground; teams have anywhere from 29 to 34 games remaining before the playoffs begin, and while it’s not yet time for desperation to set in, concern is starting to creep up. With teams like Detroit and the Rangers pretty secure, teams like Ottawa and Minnesota are getting knocked around at the wrong time. With everyone getting ready for the home stretch, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, February 2, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Detroit Red Wings vs #8 Minnesota Wild

With Minnesota stumbling like they are, they really can’t do much of anything against Detroit‘s might.

#2 Vancouver Canucks vs #7 Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles has a good defense, but Vancouver‘s offense has them cruising. L.A. will have a difficult time keeping up with Vancouver’s onslaught.

#3 San Jose Sharks vs #6 Chicago Blackhawks

This one could get pretty interesting. Chicago has three more points, but San Jose has three games in hand. The Sharks have a goal differential 10 better than Chicago, but neither team will be able to readily pick off a game on the road. It’ll be difficult for both sides, but San Jose has the slightest of edges.

#4 Nashville Predators vs #5 St. Louis Blues

Nashville has won five in a row, 10 of 11 and 13 of 15. But St. Louis is one of the most dominant home teams in the league. However, their road record leaves something to be desired, and with just two road games in the past month, they haven’t had much practice. The Blues are one point behind, but they do have two games in hand. However, Nashville has the advantage for now.

East

#1 New York Rangers vs #8 New Jersey Devils

The Rangers are finally the last team to allow 100 goals on the season. And their offense is a little better than New Jersey’s. Don’t expect things to end well for the Devils.

#2 Boston Bruins vs #7 Toronto Maple Leafs

Boston may be having some defensive issues lately, but they’re still much better than Toronto, and have the season series to prove it.

#3 Florida Panthers vs #6 Ottawa Senators

This is the only series where both teams have a negative goal differential. While Florida isn’t exactly the best, Ottawa has lost four straight. In a match-up where defending is an issue all around, the best scoring team has an odd advantage, and Ottawa’s offense is in the top quintile in the NHL.

#4 Philadelphia Flyers vs #6 Pittsburgh Penguins

Both teams are quite good; in fact, Pittsburgh just had their eight-game winning streak snapped. However, they’re under a lot of extra pressure without Sidney Crosby in the lineup. Philadelphia can be just as deadly, and at 18-7-2, they’re the best road team in the league. If Philadelphia can stop a few extra shots and keep their offense going, they should come out on top against their division rivals.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Behind a home game against Minnesota, look for Dallas to take over #8 in the West.
  • With New Jersey’s difficult schedule, look for Washington to take over their spot, and while the Caps are at it, the Southeast Division from Florida.

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