What Canadian NHL Team Will Make The Playoffs?
March 29, 2012 by staff
What Canadian NHL Team Will Make The Playoffs?, This year marks the return of seven Canadian teams to the NHL, and of those seven only one is a definite for the postseason this year, making this potentially the smallest Canadian turnout in the playoffs since 1973, when the Montreal Canadiens were the only Canadian team.
There are a few teams on the cusp, with one other team above the eighth and final seed. Two sit within reach of the postseason; for one it may be a longer shot than the other.
In the Western Conference sits the only Canadian team to have secured a playoff spot. The Vancouver Canucks sit at the top of their division with 101 points, tied with the New York Rangers and two points back from St. Louis in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.
Should they manage to secure the top spot in the league, it will be the second year in a row for the Canucks. As potentially the only Canadian team to be in the race for the Stanley Cup, they are in a position to once again get to the finals.
Calgary is sitting on the cusp, only two points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the eighth and final spot. There are two teams tied with 86 points sitting just above the Flames, meaning not only do the Flames need to play well, but they also need to hope that the three teams above them perform poorly.
With five games remaining, it is not out of reach for the Flames to add themselves as another Canadian team in the playoffs. In their last five games, Calgary will play two of the teams currently sitting above them, the Kings and Avalanche. These two games are must-wins for them in order to close in on Phoenix, who have to face two teams in the upper end of the conference.
The Eastern Conference is a slightly different story, Ottawa is the only Canadian team seeded for the playoffs. Their lead is a paltry one, however, with only four points separating them and ninth-place Washington. Should Ottawa face a complete collapse they will lose their playoff spot to either Washington or Buffalo.
The big game for Ottawa will take place on April 5th, when they play the division rival and leader Boston Bruins, who only hold a three game lead over Ottawa. Of the remaining five games, three will be against other playoff contenders: Philadelphia, who has secured their playoff berth, and New Jersey, who have gone 5-4-1 in their last 10 and sit two points ahead of the Senators.
The newly relocated Jets sit in tenth place in the East, and much like Calgary they still have a chance to make the playoffs in their six remaining games. The reality is, unlike the Flames, they are eight points behind Buffalo and would have to win every game remaining.
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