Feb 132009
 

Teams have about 28-30 games left in the season but if the playoffs started now, what would they look like? Since teams have played a different number of games, instead of using points, I looked at points per game played to rank teams. In the east nothing changed among playoff teams but in the west Dallas and Vancouver swapped positions and Anaheim falls right out of the playoffs. The playoffs match ups would be:

Eastern Conference
Buffalo at Boston
Florida at New Jersey
Montreal at Washington
NY Rangers at Philadelphia

Definitely some interesting match ups there. You have divisional rivals Boston and Buffalo and New York Rangers and Philadelphia and then two less physical, more skilled teams going at each other in Montreal at Washington. A few years ago Florida at New Jersey would have been a complete snooze fest but New Jersey is a bit more interesting team now with the skill of Parise, Elias, Gionta and others and Florida, while a defense first team, has some good young players. Still, with that said, this would not exactly be the most exciting hockey one could see.

Western Conference

Edmonton at San Jose
Minnesota at Detroit
Vancouver at Calgary
Dallas at Chicago

Good news, bad news for Edmonton fans. The good news is you made the playoffs, the bad news is you face a near impossible challenge of beating the San Jose Sharks. As good as Detroit is, Minnesota with their good defense and goaltending could put up a good challenge, particularly if Gaborik can find a way to get back in the lineup for the playoffs. Vancouver vs Calgary would be a match up made in Western Canada heaven. Like Minnesota, Vancouver’s goaltending could post a threat to the Flames, but otherwise the Flames are a better all round team. Dallas at Chicago is the veteran team vs the up and comers. I tend to think that Dallas could upset the Blackhawks but this series might come down to which team gets better goaltending. Turco hasn’t been great this year but you know he has the ability and Khabibulin has been pretty good but might be the streakiest goalies in the NHL so is more than capable of going on a cold streak. Huet is a solid goalie ready to step in if needed though.

What are your thoughts? Which teams do you think will make the playoffs and do you have any dark horse candidates to make a lengthy run in the playoffs?

  5 Responses to “If the playoffs started now…”

  1.  

    I honestly don’t see the Oilers making the playoffs, but if they do, the Sharks is the absolute BEST matchup for them.

    A team that has a history of completely falling asleep in the postseason and one that Edmonton has some history of winning against.

    Sign me up!

  2.  

    Possibly, but of the four top teams, I think the team most beatable are the Blackhawks.

  3.  

    Now I’m sure my Vancouver bias is partially at play here, but i would LOVE to play the flames – there is nothing special about them at all – kiprusoff is a mediocre goalie and has been for a while now – their defense is ok, but nothing special and their offense is definately improved, but still nothing special either. I have not paid much attention to the flames, but have they had any injuries to their best players this year. We’ve had Luongo and Sundin out of the lineup for most of the year. Looking at the Flames’ goal differential leads me to believe that they are a playoff team, but not a whole lot better than that. Luongo is playing poorly right now, but he is always a slow starter and if he rounds back into form in the next month or so, he is pretty much as good as it gets, while Kiprusoff’s rebound control is pretty poor and I don’t see this flash in the plan goalie ever becoming elite again.

    Basically, I think the Nucks and Flames match up fairly evenly on offence and defence and goaltending will decide everything…I’ll take the Nucks in 6.

  4.  

    I think the Pens not having Gonchar has hurt them more than anyone thinks. If they can land Martin St. Louis they’re in it for sure. Florida’s playing over their heads right now, and maybe it’s just bias, but I just can’t see them in the postseason. Big props to Pete DeBoer though for making them such a competitive team. The Rangers and Habs will stop their freefall just in time to make the playoffs but neither will have a shot at the #4 spot for home ice advantage in the first round.

    The West is really interesting – the team that catches fire will make the playoffs. Edmonton has a history of making late drives but I think this season they will fall short. I wouldn’t count out the Jackets or Coyotes yet, but I wouldn’t put my money on them either. Anaheim is in danger of falling behind, but they’ve got too much talent to not make the postseason – the rumours surrounding Pronger are absurd.

    If the playoffs started today, I’d say…
    Bruins in 5
    New Jersey in 4
    Washington in 6
    Philadelphia in 5

    San Jose in 6
    Detroit in 5
    Calgary in 7
    Dallas in 6

    I agree with David here, Chicago’s the weakest in the top 4. Even without Morrow a veteran Dallas squad can easily take them out, but don’t expect them to go deep. Calgary-Vancouver would be a great series but Iginla’s the guy who tips the scales in the Flames’ favour.

    My preseason darkhorse was Phoenix, but if they don’t make the playoffs I’m not sure who I’d pick. I don’t think they’ll be any surprises this year. A Bruins-Caps and Sharks-Wings is what I see this year with the Sharks taking it all.

  5.  

    some of these matchups would be quite interesting and hard to pick, but on that note i notice ppl picking dallas over chicago and it think that will really depend on who in net for chicago. huet i think would get burnt by dallas but with khabibulin i think chicago will take out dallas

    van and calgary i agree completely with ted bama calgary’s an over rated team plus i think there more cup hungry players on vancouver over calgary i think loungo desire nevermind his skill advantage will overshine kiprusoff i expect sundin to have a playoff to remember so i kinda except the sundin line to cncel out the iginla line so it should come down to a battle between second lines either way loungo should be a big enough reason for van to win but i expect it to be a long series 6 or 7.

    some of these series seem like no brainers sj,det,bos, nj, phi all seems to hve huge advantages and would need a miracle to lose

    lastly washington and montreal really a tough call both for the most part finesse teams washington is a bigger team but not really physical overpowering, and i expect this to be montreals only chance at victory.
    obviously ovechkin will always be the the x factor and i should add green as an xfactor given his phenomial year. but can washington be the real deal when we all know defense is king come playoff time. This year i say no i expect price to have a bounce back post season and i think montreal crowd will really get into theodore head since there gonna be just giving it to him. also i think kovelev being in a contract year will wake up when it counts this time around and help minimize ovechkins goals i say montreal in a huge upset of 5 games

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