We are a week past the NHL’s All Star Game and all teams are now back to a normalized schedule as the stretch run heats up. There are less than two months remaining in the regular season season and there is still a lot to be decided.
At the moment the Calgary Flames are on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture, but are right there fighting for a wild card spot. With the Pacific Division being extremely close, and a few Central Division teams nearby, let’s look at where things stand heading into this week.
On the Bubble
Nashville Predators (25-19-6, 10th in West, 5th in Central, 32 GR)
Last Week (1-1-0): 2-07: 1-5 L vs VGK, 2-11: 2-1 OTW vs PHI
This Week: 2-13 vs ARI, 2-16 vs BOS, 2-18 vs FLA, 2-19 at MIN
The Predators continue to hang around the playoff picture, sitting four points back but holding multiple games in hand on teams ahead of them. Nashville has won six of their last eight games overall but are currently dealing with an injury to Filip Forsberg that occurred during their win in Philadelphia. Nashville is a team that seems to be mired in the mushy middle of the league and doesn’t appear to have a Cup window anymore, but they also don’t have any major assets to sell on expiring contracts this year either. It’s quite possible they just stick with the status quo and see what happens.
Calgary Flames (25-18-10, 9th in West, 5th in Pacific, 29 GR)
Last Week (1-1-1): 2-06: 4-5 OTL at NYR, 2-09: 1-2 L at DET, 2-11: 7-2 W at BUF
This Week: 2-13 at OTT, 2-16 vs DET, 2-18 vs NYR
Calgary continues to bounce along the path of mediocrity, slipping in and out of the finally wild card position on a daily basis. On some nights they show flashes of the dominant team from last season, and in others they are losing to bottom five teams. They need to put together a solid win streak over the next few weeks to really ensure that they are in the conversation down the stretch.
Wild Card Spots
Minnesota Wild (28-20-4, 8th in West, 4th in Central, 30 GR)
Last Week (1-3-0): 2-06: 2-3 L at ARI, 2-08: 1-4 L at DAL, 2-09: 1-5 L vs VGK, 2-11: 3-2 SOW vs NJ
This Week: 2-13 vs FLA, 2-15 vs COL, 2-17 vs DAL, 2-19 vs NSH
Minnesota salvaged an otherwise bad week with a 3-2 comeback win in the shootout over a strong but injury weakened New Jersey team. The Wild haven’t won in regulation in their last nine contests and have shown some cracks as of late, falling back into the final wild card spot after being closer to the top of the Central earlier in the season. The most intriguing thing to watch with Minnesota will be their trade deadline approach as they are slated to have among the most cap space of playoff teams. Capfriendly currently puts the at ~$16.5M of cap hits they can add at the deadline.
Los Angeles Kings (29-18-7, 7th in West, 4th in Pacific, 28 GR)
Last Week (1-0-0): 2-11: 6-0 W vs PIT
This Week: 2-13 vs BUF, 2-17 at ANA, 2-18 vs ARI
Los Angeles has shown some cracks as of late but a resounding 6-0 win over Pittsburgh brought them out of their All Star break on the right note. The Kings have three very winnable games on their docket this week which could really solidify their positioning in the short term. There is pressure to take care of business this week because they embark on a five game road trip against very good teams (MIN, NJ, NYI, NYR, WPG) the following week. A storyline worth watching for LA will be whether or not they end up landing Jakob Chychrun in the coming days. They seem to be the favourite in the race to acquire him from Arizona.
Divisional Playoff Teams
Colorado Avalanche (28-19-4, 6th in West, 3rd in Central, 31 GR)
Last Week (1-1-1): 2-07: 1-2 OTL at PIT, 2-09: 0-5 L at TB, 2-11: 5-3 W at FLA
This Week: 2-14 vs TB, 2-15 at MIN, 2-18 at STL, 2-19 vs EDM
Mainly choosing to include Colorado in this for the time being because they have the same number of points as the Flames. However with games in hand and a roster that is moving towards being fully healthy for really the first time this season, I expect them to gradually pull away and solidify themselves into a top 3 team in the Central.
Edmonton Oilers (30-19-5, 5th in West, 3rd in Pacific, 28 GR)
Last Week (2-1-1): 2-07: 5-2 W at DET, 2-09: 1-2 SOL at PHI, 2-11: 6-3 W at OTT, 2-12: 2-6 L at MTL
This Week: 2-15 vs DET, 2-17 vs NYR, 2-19 at COL
I ultimately still believe that the Oilers are going to end up winning the Pacific Division based on their star power. but for now they are still in the clump of teams racing to secure a playoff spot. They have played among the best hockey of anyone in the West as of late although it will be worth watching how their goaltending fares down the stretch with Jack Campbell bouncing back after a bad start but Stuart Skinner struggling of late.
Seattle Kraken (30-18-5, 4th in West, 2nd in Pacific, 29 GR)
Last Week (1-3-0): 2-07: 0-4 L at NYI, 2-09: 1-3 L at NJ, 2-10: 3-6 L at NYR, 2-12: 4-3 W at PHI
This Week: 2-14 at WPG, 2-16 vs PHI, 2-18 vs DET
Seattle has fallen off slightly since their eight game win streak at the start of January, but for the most part they are still sitting comfortably in a playoff spot. It has been an impressive jump from last year’s horrific season buoyed mainly by getting some goaltending and a stronger overall roster. The Kraken don’t have a ton of wiggle room at the deadline to make a big addition, but it doesn’t really look like they need to either.
Head to Head/Games to Watch
February 15 - Colorado at Minnesota
February 19 - Edmonton at Colorado
February 19 - Nashville at Minnesota
Here are the latest playoff odds per Moneypuck.com
Which team currently in the playoffs is most likely to fall out by the end of the season?
This poll is closed