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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, NHL Playoffs, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks