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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 19

Red Wings vs Rangers: Week 19's prediction for the Stanley Cup

We’re well into February, and there’s certainly no shortage of drama. The Rangers are leaving the rest of the East in their dust, but the rest of the conference is dog piling over each other. It’s the same way out west, except no spot is safe there. New York is certainly the team to beat, but do they have any pretenders to their throne? Let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, February 16, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Detroit Red Wings vs #8 Phoenix Coyotes

With Detroit‘s NHL record home winning streak and 80 points, does Phoenix really stand a chance in this series?

#2 Vancouver Canucks vs #7 Los Angeles Kings

Vancouver has gotten at least a point in their last 11 games. Los Angeles is decent, but Vancouver has such a powerful offense, and two excellent options in net. Vancouver all the way.

#3 San Jose Sharks vs #6 Chicago Blackhawks

San Jose continues to maintain their position and skills, but Chicago is the worst team in the league right now, having lost nine straight, getting only one point out of the streak. At this rate, even Chicago’s top notch offense won’t keep them afloat.

#4 St. Louis Blues vs #5 Nashville Predators

Nashville is doing very well for themselves, with a very good 72 points. However, St. Louis is second only to Detroit at home, and second only to the Rangers in defense. All of that should be too much for Nashville to overcome.

East

#1 New York Rangers vs #8 Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs are going back and forth in the standings, while the Rangers are surging ahead behind stellar defense and pretty good offense too. Toronto is simply not on the same level.

#2 Boston Bruins vs #7 Ottawa Senators

Ottawa is maintaining a good hold on a playoff spot, but defense keeps them from rising much higher. Boston‘s defense’s, though, has become rather porous in the past several games; their offense has had to work extra hard just to break even. They should still have the ability to get past the third-worst defense in the NHL, but it gets dicey from there.

#3 Florida Panthers vs #6 New Jersey Devils

Florida is fortunate to be a division leader, or else they’d be #7 right now. It’s not that they’re not good, but a -15 goal differential is easily the worst of any playoff team. New Jersey should be able to put up a few more goals in a tightly contested series, and should be able to keep that up for a majority of the games, home or away.

#4 Philadelphia Flyers vs #5 Pittsburgh Penguins

Philadelphia‘s struggles have continued; they’re now #4 based only on points percentage. Pittsburgh has the better defense, and while either team could pick off a road game, recent momentum favors the Penguins.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Schedules make it likely that no major changes will take place in the next week.

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