Yesterday I posted my power rankings which had the top 8 teams all from the western conference. The best eastern conference team was Buffalo sititng in 9th spot. That led Greg Ballentine of The Puck Stops Here to comment “top 8 from the west. Iâ€™m not sure I buy that the west is THAT much better.” I must admit that it is a little hard to believe, at least until you dig a little deeper.
This is almost unbelievable but the combined record of those top 8 western conference teams vs the east is an outstanding 37-13-8. I had to put that in bold because it is that good. That is equivalent to a team on pace for a 116 point season, a point total which only 1 team reached last year, and Detroit did that playing 24 games against 3 of the worst teams in the NHL (Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis). It is hard to believe that those 8 teams could dominate a conference so dramatically. Of those 8 teams, only Dallas has a losing record vs the East at 2-4-1 and only the Stars, Wild, Blue Jackets and Blackhawks have a losing record against the east. Even St. Louis is a 4-0-0 against the east and Phoenix is 5-2-0.
Conversely, the record of Buffalo, Atlanta, New Jersey and Ottawa, who I believe make up the eastern conferences best teams, have a combined record of 9-15-4 against the west and that is largely due to Buffalo’s 4-1-1 record. Buffalo, until their recent slump, was consistently in the top 5 and frequently in the top 2 in the power rankings.
It appears to me that the west is in fact that much better than the east.