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NHL Western Conference Playoff Update #2 (Feb 7)

The race continues to heat up as the season chugs along

Los Angeles Kings v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

The playoff push in the Western Conference continues as there wasn’t much separation over the last ten days. It continues to look like the final spots won’t be determined until the end of the season. We’ll update how each team’s playoff odds are looking heading into play on Wednesday.

All odds are from Hockey Reference

Pacific Division Playoff Spots

Calgary Flames (27-18-8, 62 pts) 3rd in Pacific: Playoff Chances = 50.2% (-1.4%)

Last Five Games: 2-2-1

Next Five Games: 08/02 at NJ, 09/02 at NYR, 11/02 at NYI, 13/02 at BOS, 15/02 at NSH

Calgary got back into the win column with a pair of victories over the Chicago Blackhawks. The wins came after two disappointing regulation losses to two of the league’s best in Las Vegas and Tampa Bay. The Flames continue on their road trip for the next five games, all tough tests against good teams. Luckily Calgary has been one of the league’s best on the road.

San Jose Sharks (28-17-8, 64 pts) 2nd in Pacific: Playoff Chances = 74.3% (-1.1%)

Last Five Games: 2-2-1

Next Five Games: 08/02 vs VGK, 10/02 vs EDM, 11/02 at ANA, 13/02 vs ARI, 15/02 vs VAN

San Jose has gotten some good goaltending over their last four games, only allowing five goals over that stretch. The Sharks season could come down to how well Martin Jones does over the next few months as Joe Thronton is out with a knee injury. San Jose has maintained a small cushion over other Pacific teams for most of the season, but it could disappear with one bad streak.

Wild Card Playoff Spots

Dallas Stars (31-19-4, 66 pts) 1st Wild Card Spot: Playoff Chances = 73.6% (+1.6%)

Last Five Games: 3-2-0

Next Five Games: 08/02 at CHI, 09/02 vs PIT, 11/02 vs VAN, 16/02 vs STL, 18/02 at SJ

Since the calendar flipped to January the Stars have been on fire, going 9-4-1. More recently they’ve won three in a row, allowing only one goal in each victory. Dallas’ downfall over the last few seasons has been their goaltending but Ben Bishop seems to have solidified that so far.

Minnesota Wild (29-19-5, 63 pts) 2nd Wild Card Spot: Playoff Chances = 59.4% (+22.7%)

Last Five Games: 3-2-0

Next Five Games: 08/02 vs ARI, 10/02 vs CHI, 13/02 vs NYR, 15/02 vs WSH, 17/02 vs ANA

The injury bug continues to strike the Wild but they’ve continued to fight it this season and stay within grasp of a playoff spot. Minnesota has had an odd last three games, blowing out both St. Louis and Vegas but then getting blown out by Dallas. Goaltending hasn’t been great this season for the Wild, and they’ll need Devan Dubnyk to step up in a tight Central Division. The Wild made a big jump in their playoff chances, we’ll see if they can sustain it.

Colorado Avalanche (29-19-4, 62 pts) 9th in West: Playoff Chances = 65.2% (-2.9%)

Last Five Games: 2-2-1

Next Five Games: 08/02 at STL, 10/02 at CAR, 11/02 at BUF, 14/02 vs MTL, 16/02 at WPG

When we talked to Mile High Hockey just last week, they pointed out that two of their biggest reasons for success were Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. They also pointed out some concerns with their depth. The Avs are now getting tested as both players are out with injury, although ti doesn’t look to be long term. The Avs have gotten elite goaltending from Jonathan Bernier over the last two months, we have to see if that holds up down the stretch.

Anaheim Ducks (26-19-10, 62 pts) 10th in West: Playoff Chances = 30.8% (-8.3%)

Last Five Games: 2-2-1

Next Five Games: 09/02 vs EDM, 11/02 vs SJ, 13/02 at DET, 15/02 at CHI, 17/02 at MIN

The Ducks finished off their Atlantic Division swing with a victory over Buffalo. However the feeling seems to be that they left a lot of points on the table during the trip. Anaheim is now on the outside looking in and their position will only get worse as the teams around them in the standings all hold 2-3 games in hand.

Los Angeles Kings (28-19-5, 61 pts) 11th in West: Playoff Chances = 69.6% (+0.5%)

Last Five Games: 3-2-0

Next Five Games: 07/02 vs EDM, 09/02 at FLA, 10/02 at TB, 13/02 at CAR, 15/02 at PIT

Some may ask why the Kings have such a high playoff chance when they’re “way down” in 11th. That’s simply because “way down” isn’t that far down. They are in fact only one point behind the Flames with a game in hand. This simulation also seems to really lean on games in hand which is why the Kings are so high. The Kings goaltending that was so good at the start of the year has started to regress somewhat and that’ll ultimately decide where this team ends up.


If you wanted proof of how close the Western Conference really is right now, look no further than how each of these seven (!) teams have played in their last five games. Each has at least five points in those games and nobody has more than six in that span. It may very well be the next team that goes on an extended win streak could guarantee themselves a playoff spot.

Which team do you think will fall out of the playoff race by season’s end?

Poll

Which team likely falls out of the playoff race?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Calgary
    (23 votes)
  • 4%
    San Jose
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    Dallas
    (2 votes)
  • 6%
    Minnesota
    (11 votes)
  • 27%
    Colorado
    (49 votes)
  • 35%
    Anaheim
    (64 votes)
  • 12%
    Los Angeles
    (23 votes)
180 votes total Vote Now