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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 2

Sharks vs Lightning: Week 2's prediction for the Stanley Cup

The NHL season is well-underway, especially considering the greatly shortened length of the season. With that being said, the standings don’t look like they usually do, partly due to the low number of games played, but it also has a lot to do with the urgency felt by every team earlier than usual. The Maple Leafs and Islanders are doing well for them, while the Flyers, Rangers and defending champion Kings are opening their years with terrible slumps. The Flyers, in fact, are a point away from the league’s worst record. It’s looking to be a topsy-turvy season, at least at this point, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Saturday, February 2 at 8:00pm:

West

#1 San Jose Sharks vs #8 Minnesota Wild

Minnesota is one of those teams nobody though would do much, but here they are. They still don’t have a road win, though. Meanwhile, the Sharks are a perfect 7-0-0. It’s certainly looking like the Wild won’t get far at this rate.

#2 Chicago Blackhawks vs #7 Edmonton Oilers

Perhaps even less people saw the Oilers making much noise, but at 6-0-2, the Blackhawks have taken points from every game this season. Don’t expect much from Edmonton against that.

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs #6 Detroit Red Wings

Vancouver has the third seed by virtue of leading their division, but they haven’t put any semblance of room ahead of their competition in the Northwest at all. If they can’t do that, then Detroit can take advantage of Vancouver’s lack of an early identity.

#4 St Louis Blues vs #5 Anaheim Ducks

Both teams have been doing well enough early, but St Louis has the noticeably better offense. And they have two high-quality goalies. The Ducks will need to ratchet up the pressure to stop that kind of one-two punch.

East

#1 Tampa Bay Lightning vs #8 Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto may have won two straight to make it to this point, but the Lightning are too good. They have the NHL’s most productive offense so far, and have dropped just one game all year. And every win has been by multiple goals.

#2 Boston Bruins vs #7 New Jersey Devils

The Devils may have four losses already, but they’ve gotten points out of three of them. Still, the Bruins have been one of the league’s better teams so far. Even in the rough loss to Buffalo, Boston put up four goals. A rare lapse is possible for anyone now and then, and the Bruins certainly have the firepower to make sure that’s what that loss was.

#3 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #6 New York Islanders

Ironically, the Penguins have a losing home record, but have more than made up for it away from home. The Islanders aren’t too far behind, only a win away (their game in hand) from taking over the division. Still, when the teams are close, you have to go with the one that’s a perennial playoff team.

#4 Ottawa Senators vs #5 Montreal Canadiens

Both teams are eerily similar. Both are easily in the conversation for a top three seed. It’s an interesting spot after the Canadiens were the third-worst team in the league last year while the Senators nearly took down the Rangers in the opening round. When the teams are this close, the tendency is to go with the one with home-ice, and the Senators certainly aren’t a bad team.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Winnipeg has a good shot to take Toronto’s spot after hosting them next Thursday.
  • With Montreal having home games against both Boston and Ottawa, they have a chance to put some distance between them and the others for the Northeast Division lead.

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