The Western Conference playoff picture seems to change by the hour well at least every night. Heading into the Chicago Blackhawks game against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night, a loss by the Chicago Blackhawks would have meant they were inches away or 2 points from being the 8th seed, but after a huge third period come back on the road the Hawks now sit just three points out of 2nd place in the Central Division and home ice in the playoffs.
Here is a tweet from the NHL Player Safety Head Man with the Western Conference Playoff picture as of this morning .
There are so many things that could happen which will make the first two weeks of the month of April feel almost like playoff hockey with each game meaning so much to every team in the hunt for the playoffs and home ice for the opening round of the playoffs.
Only the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators have secured playoff spots, and the Ducks will be hosting a wild card team in the first round for sure. The Predators lead on the St. Louis Blues is only 3 points so nothing is guaranteed for the Predators except they will most likely be hosting a first round playoff series from Smashville.
The Pacific Division is a race that is so interesting between the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and the LA Kings. The team that finishes fourth in this division is most likely home for the playoffs yet only 3 points separates 2nd place from fourth place. The feeling this entire season was that the Calgary Flames would burn out eventually while the Kings would take their rightful spot in the playoff picture, yet with 7 games left on the schedule it’s the Flames that keep bursting this thought and the Blackhawks tonight could have a big say in these standings. One bounce of the puck could be the difference in a home series or playing golf in mid April.
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The Central Division is even crazier with the Minnesota Wild going from one game below .500 before the Dubnyk trade to riding a 25-6-4 record with him in net. The Wild just don’t lose anymore with the confidence that they have a good goalie behind them. The Wild are charging and looked to have solidified a playoff spot but will they get out of the Wild Card or will they win all the way until the season’s end and catch the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues?
The Chicago Blackhawks can finish anywhere from 4th or even 5th in the division or could catch fire and win the division if the leaders ahead of them falter down the stretch which makes the two games left with the St. Louis Blues so interesting in the standings.
The team that hold the key is the Blues, will they finish strong or will they keep leaking points down the stretch. This is supposed to be their year to get out of the first round, but where they finish the season could determine if they see the 2nd round.
Anything can happen! What first round matches do you predict in the Western Conference come April 15th?
Is It April Yet? So Close!!
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