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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 23

Blues vs Rangers: Week 23's prediction for the Stanley Cup

Only a few weeks remain in the season, and there’s barely more than 10 games left per team. Both conferences have now opened up at #1, but it’s still a race for all fringe teams involved. Half the divisions are still very much in play as well, so there’s a lot to fight for still. With that in mind, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, March 15 at 8:00pm:

West

#1 St. Louis Blues vs #8 Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche can score, but also give up a lot (hence being at #8). St. Louis can do both well. That’s why they’re #1, have the most home wins in the league and have emerged as the team to beat out west.

#2 Vancouver Canucks vs #7 Phoenix Coyotes

Vancouver has certainly been struggling lately, but Phoenix hasn’t exactly been spring chickens themselves, if I’m using that outdated phrase correctly. Offense looks to carry Vancouver through this series while Roberto Luongo tries to figure himself out.

#3 Dallas Stars vs #6 Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago is okay, but Dallas has really stepped things up, winning eight of 10. Offense and defense largely negate each others’ efforts for both teams, so recent momentum does favor Dallas in the series, as does Chicago’s 14-18-3 road record.

#4 Detroit Red Wings vs #5 Nashville Predators

Detroit has lost three in a row, while Nashville has won three in a row. However, Detroit’s abilities at home are still intact, despite not winning once on road in March. With Detroit having better stats on both sides of the puck, especially on offense, they should be able to get by, but Nashville will make it a lengthy series, to be sure.

East

#1 New York Rangers vs #8 Washington Capitals

Washington has managed to get a little bit of insurance on their playoff spot with four straight wins, but they’re still in a tough spot. The Rangers still easily have the best defense in the East, and have the ability to back it up with the puck in hand.

#2 Boston Bruins vs #7 Ottawa Senators

Boston is an absolute mess right now, no matter who’s in net. They don’t even have a solid grip on the league’s best goal differential. Most recently, it’s gotten bad enough for the offense to not do too well either. At this rate, Ottawa will pick up the series win.

#3 Florida Panthers vs #6 New Jersey Devils

Okay, so the Panthers have gotten better, but they’ll still have a tough time, especially with the Devils pretty good on the road. An abysmal goal differential for the Panthers is but one of the signs that point to a Devils victory.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #5 Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers are improving themselves, but the Penguins have won nine straight, and have a +46 goal differential. And it looks like Sidney Crosby is getting ready to return. At this point, it’ll be very difficult for anyone to stop the Penguins.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With Calgary’s recent run, at least a point in Colorado will get them Colorado’s spot. Otherwise, the Kings should claim the spot instead.

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