The playoff races in the NHL are heating up. Some teams have virtually guaranteed themselves a spot, while others are basically out of it and will be selling their players at the deadline (Feb. 27). In this post I’m making predictions on where teams will end up in each conferences playoff positions and what match ups we can then expect in the first round. I might as well include points in these predictions too, just for fun!
- New York Rangers – 112 points
- Boston Bruins – 106 points
- Florida Panthers – 94 points
- Pittsburgh Penguins – 102 points
- New Jersey Devils – 102 points
- Philadelphia Flyers – 100 points
- Washington Capitals – 94 points
- Ottawa Senators – 93 points
You may notice that the main change in the standings I expect is for the Capitals to pass both Ontario teams. I think missing Backstrom and Green has hurt this team severely and the word is that Green could be making his return as early as this season. I was never a believer in Green before, but his teams play without him has proven to me that he is a valuable player for the Capitals. The other change I expect is for the Penguins and Devils to slightly pass the Flyers. The Rangers will continue to dominate, slowing down only a little bit, while the Bruins will continue on their pace for the season. The only team that I see having a chance at possibly pushing one of these teams out of the playoffs is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Any one of the Panthers, Capitals, Senators or Maple Leafs could be the odd team out and these teams will need to battle down the stretch to avoid being the one sitting in that horrible 9th position.
- Vancouver Canucks – 115 points
- St. Louis Blues – 112 points
- San Jose Sharks – 107 points
- Detroit Red Wings – 109 points
- Chicago Blackhawks – 101 points
- Nashville Predators – 100 points
- Los Angeles Kings – 93 points
- Phoenix Coyotes – 92 points
The Canucks have been playing incredibly and I expect this to continue down the stretch leading them to their second straight President’s Trophy. It also helps that a lot of the games late in the season are against teams in their division, which are the weakest in the West. The Blues should also continue to play like they have been and secure second in the West. This will cause the Red Wings to drop to 4th. I expect the Red Wings to give some of their top older players more rest down the stretch which will result in them missing out on some points they otherwise may have earned. The Blackhawks should find their game again and jump back up to 5th, while the Kings and Coyotes will squeak into the playoffs. Actually I don’t expect them to really squeak in because I have no confidence in the Flames, Stars, Avalanche or Wild whatsoever. In fact I think the Ducks are the only team that could potentially take a playoff position away from the Kings or Coyotes, but that is a very long shot.
What do you think about these predictions? It is extremely hard to catch up on points in the NHL with all of 3 point games that take place. It will be interesting to see the races develop down the stretch. I constantly check on teams supposed chances of making the playoffs at SportsClubStats.com.