Another week, another shuffle in the Western Conference playoff race! Yet despite everyone shuffling in their order, the same eight teams remain in the Western Conference playoff spots. For now.
Here’s a look at the next seven days.
WINNIPEG (68 POINTS)
Record: 29-19-10 in 58 games; first wild-card in the West
- Monday vs. Edmonton
- Thursday at Washington
- Saturday at Toronto
Two of the NHL’s worst clubs face the Jets this week. Oh, and the Capitals, who are quite good. Overall, a fairly simple week for the Jets.
SAN JOSE (67 POINTS)
Record: 29-20-8 in 57 games; second place in Pacific Division
- Sunday vs. Tampa Bay
- Tuesday at Nashville
- Thursday at Dallas
- Saturday vs. Los Angeles
The week features two tough games for the Sharks and two winnable games against conference opponents afterwards. They should get at least a split. I think Flames fans are hoping they beat LA, at the very least.
VANCOUVER (65 POINTS)
Record: 31-21-3 in 55 games; third place in Pacific Division
- Monday vs. Minnesota
- Thursday at NY Rangers
- Friday at New Jersey
Let’s hope it’s a two point game on Monday – go Canucks, I guess… And then the Canucks get a tough game in the Big Apple and then an easier one in Newark.
CALGARY (65 POINTS)
Record: 31-22-3 in 56 games; second wild-card in the West
- Monday vs. Boston
- Wednesday vs. Minnesota
- Friday vs. Anaheim
The home side has a pair of tough game against established playoff teams, and sandwiched in-between is a game featuring the hottest team in hockey. This week is a measuring stick. Win two of three (or more), and you’re probably worthy of being a playoff squad.
MINNESOTA (63 POINTS)
Record: 28-20-7 in 55 games; two points back of Calgary for the final wild-card with a game in hand
- Monday at Vancouver
- Wednesday at Calgary
- Friday at Edmonton
The Wild are 8-0-2 in their last ten thanks to Devan Dubnyk’s heroics. Now they head West for two tough games against teams they’re chasing for playoff spots. Oh, and Edmonton.
LOS ANGELES (62 POINTS)
Record: 25-18-12 in 55 games; three points back of Calgary for final wild-card with a game in hand (and three back of Vancouver for a divisional playoff spot)
- Monday vs. Tampa Bay
- Wednesday at Colorado
- Saturday at San Jose
Three tough games for the defending champs this week.
DALLAS (60 POINTS)
Record: 26-22-8 in 56 games; five points back of Calgary for final wild-card
- Tuesday at St. Louis
- Thursday vs. San Jose
- Saturday vs. Detroit
Dallas’ playoff hopes are tenuous right now. So the league gives them three games against established playoff teams. Oh, and they just lost Tyler Seguin.
COLORADO (57 POINTS)
Record: 23-22-11 in 56 games; eight points back of Calgary for final wild-card
- Monday vs. Arizona
- Wednesday vs. Los Angeles
- Friday at Chicago
If Colorado gets to 10 points back of the Flames and/or the last wild-card, I might stop including them. They need wins to stay in this group. They have two tough games (and Arizona) this week. They might not be included here next week.