We’re getting into the dwindling days of the 2014-15 season, as most teams still involved in the Western Conference playoff bubble have between 11 and 13 games remaining on the docket.
Considering magic numbers are around that level, as well, we’re hitting the nitty gritty here.
Here’s a quick glance at where we sit to start this week.
83 points in 69 games; first wild-card; 7-3-0 in last ten
Magic number (versus Winnipeg): 12
The Wild visit Nashville on Tuesday, host St. Louis on Thursday and Washington on Saturday. They continue to chug along on the strength of Devan Dubnyk’s white-hot goaltending. But that’s a tough string of games against teams rounding into playoff form.
82 points in 68 games; second in Pacific; 6-3-1 in last ten
Magic number (versus Los Angeles): 13
The Canucks lost their starting netminder, but are soldiering on anyway. They have a pretty decent week ahead of them: they host Philadelphia on Tuesday, Columbus on Thursday and visit Los Angeles on Saturday.
81 points in 69 games; third in Pacific; 6-3-1 in last ten
Magic number (versus Los Angeles): 13.5
Calgary lost their best player a couple weeks ago and went on a long, long road trip. They kept winning anyway. They host St. Louis on Tuesday, Philadelphia on Thursday and Columbus on Saturday.
80 points in 69 games; second wild-card, 3 back of Wild; 4-4-2 in last 10
Magic number (versus Los Angeles): 14
Like the Flames and Canucks, Winnipeg has lost key players. Unlike the Flames and Canucks, the Jets have hit a bit of tough times in games. Their goaltending hasn’t helped, either. They have a tough week: hosting San Jose on Tuesday, St. Louis on Thursday and Washington on Saturday. They need wins desperately, because they’re being chased by the Kings and Sharks.
79 points in 68 games; 1 back of Jets (1 game in hand), 2 back of Flames (1 game in hand); 5-4-1 in last ten
Magic number (versus Winnipeg): 14 (14.5 versus Calgary)
The Kings are finding ways to get points, including overtime and late-game comebacks. As a result, they’re reeling in the wild-card teams. They have a pretty balanced week: they host Arizona on Monday, visit Anaheim on Wednesday, host Vancouver on Saturday.
76 points in 69 games; 4 back of Jets, 5 back of Flames; 5-5-0 in last ten
Magic number (versus Winnipeg): 15.5 (16 versus Calgary)
The Sharks have had some trouble with consistency in the last little bit. Oh, and chemistry, as they’ve added a couple new players post-deadline. Oh, and distractions, as their former captain and their general manager aren’t getting along. Amidst all this, they’re sliding down the standings, too. They have a tough week, too, with a road trip that sees them face a desperate Winnipeg on Tuesday, a floundering Toronto on Thursday and the sharp Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
75 points in 69 games; 5 back of Jets; 7-3-0 in last ten
Magic number (versus Winnipeg): 16 (16.5 versus Calgary)
The Avalanche are off until Thursday, which is a shame because they finally seem to have some momentum. Once well out of the race, they’ve managed to gain ground on just about everybody, but they’re still a ways back and cannot afford a misstep. They play in Arizona on Thursday and Anaheim on Friday, in a tough back-to-back.
74 points in 70 games; 6 back of Jets; 5-4-1 in last ten
Magic number (versus Winnipeg): 16.5 (17 versus Calgary)
The Stars may be completely done by the end of this week. They lost Tyler Seguin and have been drifting down the standings a bit. They have a pair of tough games this week, at home against Pittsburgh on Thursday and Chicago on Saturday. They need wins, and they need everybody above them to forget how to play the game of ice hockey.