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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 11

Blackhawks vs Penguins: Week 11's prediction for the Stanley Cup Finals

Less than a month remains in the abbreviated season, but the situation remains heated. Plenty of divisions remain up for grabs. The playoff chases for #9 and below, especially in the East, remain open. The Southeast Division is starting to look like you either win the division or stay home in May. And of course the seeding of the 16 teams is almost completely on shaky ground. With everyone on edge in the home stretch, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Saturday, April 6 at 8:15pm:

West

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs #8 St Louis Blues

Three straight wins have the Blues with a three-point cushion on the final spot. Still, the Blackhawks have both scored the most goals and given up the least in the West. This remains Chicago’s conference to lose.

#2 Anaheim Ducks vs #7 Detroit Red Wings

The Ducks are just 4-5-1 in their last 10; one of those was an OT loss in Columbus and four were home regulation losses (including three straight home losses). Two of those home losses were in consecutive games to Detroit, but even so, Anaheim remains 14-5-0 at home on the season. Detroit knows they can take the series, and very well might, but Anaheim hasn’t gotten to this point and remained there for no reason.

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs #6 Minnesota Wild

Minnesota remains just two points behind Vancouver, but has lost three in a row. Against Vancouver’s veteran strike force, Minnesota will have a difficult time if they can’t get their feet under them.

#4 Los Angeles Kings vs #5 San Jose Sharks

The Kings continue their march up the standings to #4 (good luck passing Anaheim for #2), but San Jose has quietly won seven straight games and are just a point behind LA with a game in hand. Los Angeles has the better offensive production, but San Jose has netted 23 goals during their streak, and in the end, winning is what matters.

East

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #8 New York Islanders

Yes, the Islanders have actually worked their way into the playoff seeding. Too bad for them they’re in line to face Pittsburgh.

#2 Montreal Canadiens vs #7 New York Rangers

With 89 goals, New York is tied for New Jersey and Colorado for least goals scored in the NHL. They still have a good defense, but Montreal won’t let them get away with that kind of poor production.

#3 Winnipeg Jets vs #6 Ottawa Senators

Winnipeg is fortunate they’re still in the Southeast Division. The Senators have lost their last three, but Winnipeg is just 3-7-0 in their last 10, including a five-game losing streak. With Craig Anderson back in the fold, Ottawa is in a good position to move forward.

#4 Boston Bruins vs #5 Toronto Maple Leafs

The Bruins have won their last three games, and now have veteran Jaromir Jagr in the fold. We’ll see if all of this improves their chances, but for now, it should at least give them the edge they need over Toronto.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • If San Jose can do some damage in Detroit, they’ll complete their quest for first-round home-rink advantage.
  • Except for Montreal, Washington has an easy schedule that should get them the #3 spot on points percentage.

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