With the NHL Regular Season winding down this month, it’s going to be a tough fight to the end for the Western Conference teams looking to make the playoffs
March is here, which means the NHL playoffs aren’t too far away. The Western Conference playoff picture is starting to become clear, with teams separating themselves from the rest of the pack. It should make for an exciting stretch run.
That said, there are still some fierce battles to be had. Especially for the wild card spots, which could come down to the last week of the regular season.
As of this post (March 6), the current Western Conference playoff standings look like this.
Central Division Leaders:
Nashville Predators (93 points)
Winnipeg Jets (87 points)
Minnesota Wild (81 points)
Pacific Division Leaders:
Vegas Golden Knights (89 points)
San Jose Sharks (79 points)
Anaheim Ducks (78 points)
Dallas Stars (80 points)
Los Angeles Kings (77 points)
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It’s fairly safe to say at this point, the Central Division is pretty much set as far as their top three teams. Dallas can push for the third position, but Minnesota has to have a meltdown this month and early April. I sincerely don’t see that happening.
What Dallas needs to worry about, however, is keeping the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues off their tails. The two teams have 76 and 75 points respectively.
This Pacific Division dogfight has been intriguing all season long. No one saw the Golden Knights having the stellar season that they’re having. The Kings went from heroes to zeros for a while and have managed to rise from their own ashes with enough time left.
It’s important to note the Kings defeated Vegas twice in two nights last week 3-2 in overtime (in Los Angeles), and 4-1 (in Las Vegas). The Kings accomplished a feat that they had yet to do all season long in doing so.
San Jose has sat comfortably in second place for a while now. But with the standings being what they are now, they’re no longer a guarantee to even remain in the top three. Anaheim is starting to come alive at the right time too. After demolishing the Blackhawks this past weekend 6-3, the Ducks leapfrogged the Kings back into the third spot.
For what it’s worth, the Calgary Flames, although only having 73 points on the season, if they can get enough regulation wins while the Sharks, Ducks, and Kings have an unstable March, they can very well manage to see the ice some more after mid-April.
Let’s keep an eye out on this Western Conference race to the finish line. It sure makes for some great and important hockey to finish the regular season strong.