NHL: Western Conference Playoff Update
With the 48-game NHL schedule winding down, there are still lots of questions to be answered in regards to playoff spots up for grabs and positioning.
As of this writing, only 4 teams in the Western Conference have clinched a playoff spot. Those teams are the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings. The Blackhawks have clinched the 1st seed out West and the Ducks, Canucks and Kings should stay where they’re currently at.
While neither the San Jose Sharks nor St. Louis Blues have officially clinched a playoff berth, both clubs are in a pretty good spot right now. Most likely the Sharks and Blues will be the 5th and 6th seeds, although it might not necessarily be in that order. Both clubs have the ability to still move up to 4th, although the Kings would hold the tie-breakers versus either club.
Below you will see that there are still 5 clubs in battle for the final 2 playoff spots. Here’s how they stack up at the moment.
(Another factor to remember is Regulation-Overtime Wins (ROW). This is the first tie-breaker).
7) Minnesota Wild – 51 points – ROW 20 – 3 games remaining – Highest possible point total 57
8) Columbus Blue Jackets – 51 points – ROW 17 – 2 games remaining – Highest possible point total 55
9) Detroit Red Wings – 48 points – ROW 18 – 4 games remaining – Highest possible point total 56
10) Dallas Stars – 48 points – ROW 20 – 3 games remaining – Highest possible point total 54
11) Phoenix Coyotes – 46 points – ROW 15 – 4 games remaining – Highest possible point total 54
Currently the Wild and Red Wings can control their own fate if they both win out. That being said, many of these teams still play each other including Monday night’s tilt between the Coyotes and Red Wings in Detroit.
Now lets look at the remaining games for each of these clubs.
7) Wild – 4/23 Los Angeles Kings, 4/26 Edmonton Oilers, 4/27 @Colorado Avalanche
8) Blue Jackets – 4/25 @Dallas Stars, 4/27 Nashville Predators
9) Red Wings – 4/22 Phoenix Coyotes, 4/24 Los Angeles Kings, 4/25 Nashville Predators, 4/27 @Dallas Stars
10) Stars- 4/23 @San Jose Sharks, 4/25 Columbus Blue Jackets, 4/27 Detroit Red Wings
11) Coyotes- 4/22 @Detroit Red Wings, 4/24 San Jose Sharks, 4/26 Colorado Avalanche, 4/27 @Anaheim Ducks
Wild: 1-1-1 = 3 points for a grand total of 54 with 21 ROW
Blue Jackets: 2-0-0 = 4 points for a grand total of 55 with 19 ROW
Red Wings: 2-1-1 = 5 points for a grand total of 53 with 20 ROW
Stars: 2-1-0 = 4 points for a grand total of 52 with 22 ROW
Coyotes: 3-1-0 = 6 points for a grand total of 52 with 18 ROW
So the Wild and Blue Jackets would flip flop, but both make the playoffs.
These are just fun predictions as this will come down to the wire. There will be probably more 3 point games as teams will battle it out into overtime and shoot-outs. The last week of the season will be very exciting in both the Western and Eastern Conferences as well as nerve racking for fans of the teams involved in the playoff races.
Going into the season in terms of the clubs currently in the 7th-11th seeds, I had the Red Wings and Coyotes in the playoffs. Judging from the information above, this will not be the case, but again it is all so close and anything can happen in the final week of the season.
For more be sure to follow me on twitter: @gregisaac33 and facebook.com/gregisaac33