Monday, April 9, 2012

The Dust Settles

After an exciting end to the NHL season, all of the playoff seeds are locked in as we get closer to The Stanley Cup Playoffs, slated to start April 11.

The dust has settled over the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs picture. Here are the final standings:

Eastern Conference:
1) New York Rangers - 109 Points, Clinched Atlantic Division, Best Record in the Conference
2) Boston Bruins - 102 Points, Clinched Northeast Division
3) Florida Panthers - 94 Points, Clinched Southeast Division
4) Pittsburgh Penguins - 108 Points (Atlantic Division)
5) Philadelphia Flyers - 103 Points (Atlantic Division)
6) New Jersey Devils - 102 Points (Atlantic Division)
7) Washington Capitals - 92 Points (Southeast Division)
8) Ottawa Senators - 92 Points (Northeast Division)

Western Conference:
1) Vancouver Canucks - 111 Points, Clinched Northwest, Best Record in Conference and NHL
2) St. Louis Blues - 109 Points, Clinched Central Division
3) Phoenix Coyotes - 97 Points, Clinched Pacific Division
4) Nashville Predators - 104 Points (Central Division)
5) Detroit Red Wings - 102 Points (Central Division)
6) Chicago Blackhawks - 101 Points (Central Division)
7) San Jose Sharks - 96 Points (Pacific Division)
8) Los Angeles Kings - 95 Points (Pacific Division)

I honestly believe a lot can be learned from these standings. Mainly, each conference has a dominant division. The Atlantic (East) and Central (West) are obviously the two premier divisions. Each had all but four teams above the 100 point plateau. Eight of the sixteen playoff teams come from these two divisions. I also believe there was at least one surprisingly sound teams in each of those premier divisions. From the Central Division, The St. Louis Blues were more or less projected to be in the hunt for one of the final playoff spot. Instead, they ended up fighting for the top seed in the NHL. From the Atlantic Division, the New Jersey Devils after looking horrendous during their 2010-2011 season and missing the playoffs for the second time in sixteen years, they were mainly written off. Top-tier analysts believed they would be fighting for the number one pick. The optimists believed they could possibly sneak into the playoffs with the eighth seed. Surprising nearly everybody, they placed sixth in the conference, ten points above seventh and eighth place, one point out of fifth place. Both of these teams are looking to make a deep playoff push starting this week.

Analysis of the first round match-ups will be published in the upcoming days

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