With around 30 or so games left for most teams in the NHL season, let’s take a look at how the NHL Playoff picture is shaping up in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.
There are a few surprises in which team are atop of the leaderboard and which teams are currently in a playoff position.
Western Conference Playoff Race
In the West we see some interesting developments:
- The Minnesota are atop the Western Conference standings in the NHL with 71 points through 49 games. The Wild have been the hottest team in the NHL since December 1. Could they be this year’s version of the Pittsburgh Penguins?
- The Edmonton Oilers are in the thick of it and are actually challenging for the lead in the Pacific Division. Edmonton currently site two points back of the Sharks for first in the Pacific.
- Don’t look now but the Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings are starting to make a push for post season action. Only four points separate the team in 12th in the West (Winnipeg Jets) and the team in 6th place (Nashville Predators). Which team will go on a nice run to make the post season? Could we have as many as three or four Canadian teams in the playoffs from the West? Who would have thought that at the start of the season?
Eastern Conference Playoff Race
Out East we see some familiar teams in playoff contention.
- The Capitals are currently the top team in the NHL with 72 points in 50 games.
- Pittsburgh, Montreal, and the Rangers ae right where we would expect them to be.
- Anyone pick Columbus to be challenging for the to spot in the East? The Blue Jackets are only two points behind Washington with one game in hand. Can they keep up their pace?
- The Toronto Mape Leafs are only one point out of a playoff position and have five (yes five) games in hand on the Boston Bruins who are only three points ahead of the Leafs.
- Only five points separate the 11th place team (New York Islanders) and the sixth place team (Ottawa Senators) in the Eastern Conference standings. This fake parity thing in the NHL is working… that is if you like parity.
Remember the NHL Playoff Format includes:
The teams finishing second and third in each division will meet in the First Round within the bracket headed by their respective division winners. First-round winners within each bracket play one another in the Second Round to determine the four participants in the Conference Finals. Home-ice advantage through the first two rounds goes to the team that placed higher in the regular-season standings. In the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final, home-ice advantage goes to the team that had the better regular-season record — regardless of the teams’ final standing in their respective divisions.