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Now that we’re into February, time is beginning to become a factor for teams that need to make up ground; teams have anywhere from 29 to 34 games remaining before the playoffs begin, and while it’s not yet time for desperation to set in, concern is starting to creep up. With teams like Detroit and the Rangers pretty secure, teams like Ottawa and Minnesota are getting knocked around at the wrong time. With everyone getting ready for the home stretch, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, February 2, before the day’s games:
This one could get pretty interesting. Chicago has three more points, but San Jose has three games in hand. The Sharks have a goal differential 10 better than Chicago, but neither team will be able to readily pick off a game on the road. It’ll be difficult for both sides, but San Jose has the slightest of edges.
Nashville has won five in a row, 10 of 11 and 13 of 15. But St. Louis is one of the most dominant home teams in the league. However, their road record leaves something to be desired, and with just two road games in the past month, they haven’t had much practice. The Blues are one point behind, but they do have two games in hand. However, Nashville has the advantage for now.
This is the only series where both teams have a negative goal differential. While Florida isn’t exactly the best, Ottawa has lost four straight. In a match-up where defending is an issue all around, the best scoring team has an odd advantage, and Ottawa’s offense is in the top quintile in the NHL.
Both teams are quite good; in fact, Pittsburgh just had their eight-game winning streak snapped. However, they’re under a lot of extra pressure without Sidney Crosby in the lineup. Philadelphia can be just as deadly, and at 18-7-2, they’re the best road team in the league. If Philadelphia can stop a few extra shots and keep their offense going, they should come out on top against their division rivals.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, NHL Playoffs, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks