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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 7

Blues vs Bruins: Week 7's prediction for the Stanley Cup

Seven weeks of the season are gone. Most teams are more than a quarter of the way through the season by now, and while the separation of the Wildcard teams from the rest of the pack is starting to appear, things are still close. It’s especially tough in the Western Conference, where all of the top eight teams are doing so well. It’s a rough world in the NHL right now, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, November 21 at 10:00pm:

West

Central Division

#1 St Louis Blues vs #W2 Colorado Avalanche

With a shootout win over Boston, St Louis has launched themselves to the top of the West, winning the points percentage tiebreaker over Anaheim. Colorado still has an incredible amount of talent, especially on defense, but with the Way the entire West has been playing, any sort of stumble, no matter how minute, will cost you. Even Colorado will have a difficult time as the second Wildcard.

#2 Chicago Blackhawks vs #3 Minnesota Wild

Both teams are doing exceptionally well, but both are still noticeably better at home. That advantage and the aura that comes with being defending champions gives Chicago a big edge over Minnesota.

Pacific Division

#1 Anaheim Ducks vs #W1 Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles has won four in a row and taken points from their last seven. Even so, it can’t be ignored that Anaheim is 8-0-1 at home. They also have the second-best offense in the league, behind only Chicago. Los Angeles definitely has all the tools needed to capture another Cup, but Anaheim isn’t about to lay down and play dead.

#2 San Jose Sharks vs #3 Phoenix Coyotes

This is another one where the teams are very close, but Phoenix is 9-0-1 That’ll keep them in the series at least, but that still means they have to win in San Jose. The Sharks have a much tougher defense to crack, but it can happen if Phoenix defends their home ice and strikes hard enough on the road.

East

Atlantic Division

#1 Boston Bruins vs #W2 Montreal Canadiens

Boston leads the East, but if they were transplanted to the West, they wouldn’t even be in the playoffs. It’s a good thing they’re in the East from that standpoint, but it’s always a rough and tumble, close contest when the Bruins and Canadiens get together. In that case, as Tuukka Rask goes, so goes the series.

#2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs #3 Toronto Maple Leafs

Tampa has lost their last two games, though Toronto hasn’t been the best either. Tampa hasn’t completely collapsed without Steven Stamkos, but it’s certainly gotten harder for them. In a seven-game series, Toronto could make Tampa crack under the pressure if Tampa can’t hold their ground.

Metropolitan Division

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #W1 Detroit Red Wings

Detroit is in good position for the first Wildcard, and is tied with Toronto in points, but have still been having problems. Pittsburgh is just too good right now for Detroit.

#2 Washington Capitals vs #3 New Jersey Devils

New Jersey has a pretty good defense, but has been having problems putting together goals. Washington gives up more goals, but can score with the best of them. Especially with a losing record on the road, New Jersey is in big trouble here.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • It’s a tight race out West, and any slip-up will throw the race for #1 wide open.
  • Detroit could definitely move up the ranks at Toronto’s expense, while we’re at it.

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