It’s Crunch Time: NHL Western Conference
Total Pro Sports – With the seventh and eleventh place in the Western Conference separated by 3 points it has reached that point in the season where every shift of every game is crucial. The National Hockey League has never seen parody in the sport since the dawn of time. It seems that the “new” NHL has implemented all the right rules and regulations for them to bring the fanfare back to the game.
1. Nashville Predators: (7th Place, 7 GR, 82 PTS)
The Preds do not have the big name players, however, they manage to remain in the playoff race. The Preds seemed to have cleared house a few years ago when they traded away their best player in Tomas Vokoun. Nashville decided to lean on Dan Ellis, but that has not panned out, enter Pekka Rinne, the savior that has single handily given the Preds a shot to make the playoffs has posted a 25-11-4 record with a 2.22 GAA and 7 shutouts.
2. Edmonton Oilers: (8th Place, 7 GR, 81 PTS)
The Oilers have really counted on Dwayne Roloson to carry them in the last few months, Roloson has started 31 straight games, surpassing Grant Fuhr’s Oiler record. This team is not poised to make a run in the post-season as they did in 2006, the pieces are just not there. This being said the team has been resilient considering they feature a young corpse of talent, this late season pressure will surely help them grow over the years to come.
3. St. Louis Blues: (9th Place, 7 GR, 81 PTS)
This team had no chance of reaching the playoffs a couple of months ago, but that has all changed, this team is on a roll. With the likes of Backes, McDonald, Perron, Backlund, Boyes, and a rock solid goalie in Chris Mason, the Blues are loaded and could be a scary first round opponent for either San Jose or Detroit. The Blues could be a dark horse to make a deep run in the post-season should they get there.
4. Anaheim Ducks: (10th Place, 7 GR, 80 PTS)
The same situation as in Nashville has occurred in Anaheim, the Ducks have turned to Jonas Hiller to carry the load down the stretch. J-S Giguere has struggled as of late and the Ducks cannot wait on him to regain his confidence. Ryan Getzlaf and Cory Perry have been the fuel that has ignited the fire for this team and they will have to continue to produce nightly for the Ducks to reach the post-season.
5. Minnesota Wild: (11th Place, 7 GR, 78 PTS)
The Wild are glad to have Marian Gaborik, but it may be too late for them to rekindle the chemistry. The Wild will continue to ride Niklas Backstrom as they look to get back in the hunt. They have a tough stretch of games left and are looking up at 4 teams ahead of them in the standings, not the most favorable of scenarios.
With only 2 spots available which of these teams do you think will make the playoffs and why…