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We’re well into February, and there’s certainly no shortage of drama. The Rangers are leaving the rest of the East in their dust, but the rest of the conference is dog piling over each other. It’s the same way out west, except no spot is safe there. New York is certainly the team to beat, but do they have any pretenders to their throne? Let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, February 16, before the day’s games:
San Jose continues to maintain their position and skills, but Chicago is the worst team in the league right now, having lost nine straight, getting only one point out of the streak. At this rate, even Chicago’s top notch offense won’t keep them afloat.
Nashville is doing very well for themselves, with a very good 72 points. However, St. Louis is second only to Detroit at home, and second only to the Rangers in defense. All of that should be too much for Nashville to overcome.
Ottawa is maintaining a good hold on a playoff spot, but defense keeps them from rising much higher. Boston‘s defense’s, though, has become rather porous in the past several games; their offense has had to work extra hard just to break even. They should still have the ability to get past the third-worst defense in the NHL, but it gets dicey from there.
Florida is fortunate to be a division leader, or else they’d be #7 right now. It’s not that they’re not good, but a -15 goal differential is easily the worst of any playoff team. New Jersey should be able to put up a few more goals in a tightly contested series, and should be able to keep that up for a majority of the games, home or away.
Philadelphia‘s struggles have continued; they’re now #4 based only on points percentage. Pittsburgh has the better defense, and while either team could pick off a road game, recent momentum favors the Penguins.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, NHL Playoffs, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks