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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angels Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, NHL Playoffs, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals