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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 5

Stars vs Penguins: Week 5's prediction for the Stanley Cup

Another week down, and the standings are starting to get shaken up. Even the Bruins are improving, though there’s still a long way to go to solidify a shot at a seed. So far, only the Stars have a multiple-game lead in their division. And for that matter, only the Blue Jackets are dead in the water. It’s still the most entertaining season we’ve seen in some time, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, November 10, before the day’s games:


#1 Dallas Stars vs #8 Phoenix Coyotes

Dallas has won four in a row and 11 overall, two more than any other team. Phoneix has been doing surprisingly well after losing their top goalie, but Dallas has been too good for them so far, especially at home.

#2 Edmonton Oilers vs #7 Los Angeles Kings

Neither team is the best offensively, but Edmonton has the best defense in the league. Los Angeles is very good themselves in that regard, but as it stands, Edmonton is just more dangerous.

#3 Chicago Blackhawks vs #6 San Jose Sharks

Chicago has been tapering off a tad lately, while the the Sharks are fiercely fighting off the non-Dallas members of the Pacific Division. Chicago’s offense is potent, but their defense, more suspect than San Jose’s, could lead to their downfall here.

#4 Minnesota Wild vs #5 Nashville Predators

Minnesota has been another big surprise this season; they’re pretty much another version of the Oilers. Nashville isn’t far behind, but their goal differential is a touch behind Minnesota. That plus Minnesota’s recent hot streak give the Wild the edge.


#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #8 Florida Panthers

Pittsburgh continues to lead the East, but several other teams are catching up. Florida wasn’t expected to be performing at this level, though they still don’t have much post-season experience. Pittsburgh is always a contender, and if Sidney Crosby can return and make an impact, their deadly offense will get that much more deadly.

#2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs #7 Tampa Bay Lightning

Both teams score plenty of goals, but give up plenty as well. However, Tampa‘s season is currently on an upswing while Toronto‘s is sliding. Two blowout losses to the struggling Bruins called Toronto’s ability into question, while we already know from last season that Tampa can maintain an offensive run.

#3 Washington Capitals vs #6 Buffalo Sabres

Washington is powerful, but after such a promising start, they’ve put together two two-game losing streaks in as many weeks, including a game to the lowly Islanders. Buffalo has won three in a row, all by one goal (two in extra time), and their losses before that were all by one goal as well. With both teams rather similar, this series looks to come down to whether or not Ryan Miller can hold off Washington’s second-in-the-league offense long enough for his own to get him a lead.

#4 New York Rangers vs #5 Philadelphia Flyers

New York has snuck their way into the #4 spot behind great defense and waiting for their chances to strike. Philadelphia has preferred a more reckless approach so far, leading the NHL with 57 goals, but also giving up 46. Record-wise, the teams are nearly identical, but New York is on a five-game winning streak. That momentum could make the difference in a close series between clashing styles, that and Henrik Lundqvist, that is.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Phoenix’s tough schedule opens the door for Vancouver to claim a spot.

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