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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 6

Blackhawks vs Bruins: Week 6's prediction for the Stanley Cup

We’re approaching the halfway point of the abbreviated season, and things are still entertaining as ever. Aside from the Blackhawks and Ducks, just about every seed in both conferences is up for grabs. In a season that’s nearly been halved, it’s still largely about games in hand, and how they’re used. And with the value of those games in a short season, teams will need to strike even harder to land a good seed. Just about anything could happen in the last several weeks of the season, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Saturday, March 2 at 9:30pm:

West

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs #8 San Jose Sharks

21 games in and the Blackhawks have still gotten points in every game. There won’t be anything doing for San Jose in this one.

#2 Anaheim Ducks vs #7 Los Angeles Kings

All of a sudden, the Kings have won five straight. Still, they might have trouble with Anaheim‘s superior offense. Los Angeles is iffy on the road, so they’ll need to shore that up to stand a chance against the West’s very secure #2.

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs #6 Nashville Predators

The Canucks have lost their last two, but it’s not like Nashville has been doing any better. At -7, the Predators have the worst goal differential of any of the 16 playoff teams. Vancouver has the better offense, and 1-0 in Nashville a week ago. It’ll be close for sure, but Vancouver has the advantage for now.

#4 St Louis Blues vs #5 Detroit Red Wings

Now this will be a series. Both sides are very similar on both sides of the puck and in their records. This is one of those series where home-rink advantage could be the only thing that really matters. In that case, it helps St Louis that Detroit is 3-4-2 on the road.

East

#1 Boston Bruins vs #8 Philadelphia Flyers

Boston is leading the East, yet they’re tied with Los Angeles for the least games played on the season. Philadelphia is getting back on track, and they do have a good offense, but they have just as porous a defense. Philly shouldn’t be able to crack through Boston’s league-leading defense enough to negate what Boston’s power will do to theirs.

#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #7 New Jersey Devils

New Jersey has joined San Jose in being a formerly excellent team taking a big slide lately. Pittsburgh‘s 3 1/3 goals per game should be able to deal with New Jersey quite nicely, especially if Martin Brodeur isn’t back at 100%.

#3 Carolina Hurricanes vs #6 Toronto Maple Leafs

Carolina is still relying on a division title to even make the playoffs, and they’re one point away from not even having that. Toronto has offensive capabilities enough to win out, and they’re better on the road anyway.

#4 Montreal Canadiens vs #5 Ottawa Senators

Ottawa has plenty of talent, but the problem is that much of it is injured. Add to that their 3-6-1 road record and Montreal shouldn’t have too much trouble.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With games at the Rangers and versus the Penguins, Philadelphia is in danger of losing their spot. If they do, look for the Rangers, with their four very winnable games, to boot them out.

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