How the West will be won – NHL Western Conference


Chicago, IL — As we are headed into the last week of regular season hockey, I thought I would get myself in playoff ready shape by looking ahead. In what is shaping up as one of the wildest playoff races in sports, the NHL’s Western Conference looks like it will go down to the wire as to which teams will make the playoffs and who will be left out in the cold.  It’s fitting the West would be wild it should be.

I will give my opinion based on game observations, stats and remaining schedule how I think the Western Conference will end the 2012 campaign. Chicago, St. Louis, Vancouver, Nashville and Detroit have already clinched playoff spots, at what spot they will finish is another matter.

First I will look at the teams who have yet to clinch playoff spots and why or why not I think they will or won’t make a run to the Cup.

Los Angeles Kings – currently sitting in the third spot as potential Pacific Divisional leader however, they have the Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and the Phoenix Coyotes all pulling on the prongs of their crown to try and dethrone them. The Kings destiny is in their hands and possibly the San Jose Sharks fate as well.  To end the season they have a home and home series with the Sharks. In their previous four encounters the home team has won each game look for this to continue. This does not bode well for the Sharks as they will need to win both games in order to even have a shot at the playoffs let alone to win the Pacific. It is more likely the series will be split. The other Kings game is against the Edmonton Oilers who are playing for nothing but pride. Look for the Kings to walk out with the win in a tight one at the Staples Center.  This gives the Kings  points which should be enough for LA to keep their crown in the Pacific division and finish as the division leader. Final point total 95.

Dallas Stars – Barring a miracle fall by the Kings, Coyotes & Sharks I do not see the Stars making the playoffs because they have the hardest schedule left out of all of these clubs. The lost to the Sharks and have now dropped off the playoff berth positions. With games left against the Sharks and Nashville and St. Louis they have the toughest road to hoe.  All of these teams are first off playoff teams. Even if the teams have clinched spots they are playing for positioning, Presidents trophy and home ice so they will not just pack their bags for the playoffs yet. Their fate is in their hands but they will need to win all of their remaining games which looks bleak. They will also need the Kings, Sharks or Coyotes to lose one of their remaining games to even have a shot. Like last year when the Minnesota Wild beat them in the final game of the season to enable the Chicago Blackhawks to get in the playoffs I see Dallas missing out again this year. Changes will need to be made on this team and possibly in the front office. They let too many assets go like Richardson and Neal and are now feeling the effects.  I only see the Dallas Stars winning their home game against the Sharks. Final point total 91

 

WESTERN

DIV

GP

W

L

OT

P

ROW

GF

GA

DIFF

S/O

1

 Y – VANCOUVER

NW

79

49

21

9

107

42

239

191

+48

7-7

2

 Y – ST LOUIS

CEN

79

48

21

10

106

44

204

156

+48

4-9

3

 * – LOS ANGELES

PAC

79

39

27

13

91

33

185

170

+15

6-8

4

 X – NASHVILLE

CEN

79

45

26

8

98

41

227

208

+19

4-5

5

 X – DETROIT

CEN

78

46

27

5

97

39

240

195

+45

7-2

6

 X – CHICAGO

CEN

79

44

26

9

97

38

240

229

+11

6-5

7

 PHOENIX

PAC

79

39

27

13

91

33

206

202

+4

6-10

8

 SAN JOSE

PAC

79

40

29

10

90

32

214

201

+13

8-5

9

 DALLAS

PAC

79

42

32

5

89

35

207

212

-5

7-4


San Jose Sharks –
currently are in the final playoff spot of 8th but can still win the Pacific division with a home and home heads up series with the LA Kings.  This series I believe will determine which of these teams goes in as the third seed and which goes as the 8th seed. Both teams have excellent goaltenders but I would give the Kings the advantage on overall defense and the Sharks have the advantage on offense. If the age-old adage is true that defense wins championships this will give the Kings an advantage. San Jose’s leadership on ice is also questionable based on the past whenever big moments present themselves this team shrinks. I take the leadership of LA captain Dustin Brown over the leadership of San Jose’s Joe Thornton. I also do not see them beating Dallas at home. Sharks end with a point total of 92

For the teams that are already in, I see the Vancouver Canucks again winning the Presidents trophy. They are currently tied with the NY Rangers with total points of 107 but the Rangers have a game in hand. The Canucks however, have a very easy schedule so barring a complete collapse they should end the year with the highest point total making them the #1 seed in the Western Conference.

The St. Louis Blues can not lose the division lead which makes them the #2 seed in the West as the LA Kings will not be able to catch them in total points so the LA Kings will be #3 seed. The 4,5 & 6th seed are really interesting because any one of these three teams could flip-flop positions. I think though they will end the season the same as they are Nashville, Detroit and Chicago respectively. Also I think that Phx and San Jose will remain as they are at the 7th and 8th seeds. When the regular season finally ends I will give a brief summary of each of the series and what will be the keys. Good Luck to all the teams in their quest for the Cup.

1 the table was taken from the NHL’s website – www.nhl.com as of 4/1/12 12:19 cst as games will be played that could alter these stats.

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1 Comment

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One response to “How the West will be won – NHL Western Conference

  1. Jess

    Think you are right on.

    Like

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