As the NHL’s Western Conference careens to its April finish, it is not always easy to figure out how your team is faring, where it projects and what is coming up next. At The Hockey Writers, we’re here to help.
We’ve put together a quick and simple view of the teams locked in this close race. It’ll be updated on Thursday, to reflect the results of the Monday-Wednesday games, and it’ll be updated again on Monday to cover the Thursday-Sunday games.
We’ll start with our initial offering, ominously falling on the Ides of March.
We concede the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights are in the playoffs. We also know the Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks aren’t going to make it.
This leaves eight teams fighting for five playoff spots and it is extremely close. We’ll cover these eight as long as each team remains in contention.
Our table indicates the points each team has and provides a projected season total, based on each team averaging one point per game in each remaining game.
Notable Events, March 12-14
In the Minnesota Wild’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, defenseman Jared Spurgeon needed plenty of help to leave the ice after suffering a partially torn hamstring. He’ll be out at least a month, meaning he is out for the rest of the regular season. Spurgeon is second on the Wild in ice time per game.
Also on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Kings salvaged an unlikely point against the Arizona Coyotes, overcoming a three-goal deficit midway through the game and a two-goal deficit with under eight minutes left. The Kings lost in the shootout.
The Anaheim Ducks ended a three-game pointless streak with their win on Wednesday over the Vancouver Canucks.
Joonas Donskoi went awkwardly into the wall late in the Wednesday game against the Calgary Flames. He left the game and did not return. Donskoi has a history of shoulder injuries and it looked like another was possible.He has 13 goals this season and is playing on the top line with Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane.
The Dallas Stars scored four straight goals and held a two-goal lead entering the third period in their Wednesday game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto rallied, with Patrick Marleau scoring a 6-on-5 goal to tie the game with 15 seconds left. The Leafs won the game in a shootout. Dallas played without injured goalie Ben Bishop. Marc Methot injured his hand in the Stars loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday and did not play on Wednesday.
There are plenty of games where the eight teams will go head-to-head, with a potential four-point swing. We’ll let you know what happened the previous few days and what to look for in the days ahead.
Monday: Blues 4, Ducks 2
Tuesday: Avalanche 5, Wild 1
Thursday-Sunday Upcoming Games
Thursday: Avalanche v Blues
Friday: Sharks v Flames
ZEKE is a native of the DC area where he witnessed the birth of the Capitals franchise. After graduating from Cornell University, which had seen hockey glory before he arrived, he moved west to San Jose. There he witnessed the birth of the Sharks franchise. His wait to witness a Championship from any of these teams finally ended in 2018.