Monday, November 2, 2009

Western Conference playoff race, 1 November edition

The question on everyone's lips in NHL circles is, "How long can the Avalanche keep it up?" The answer, it seems, is, "Another week." They added another 4 points yet lost the chance for 2 more in getting shut out last night.

The star students this week, however, were the San Jose Sharks, who tacked on 8 points this week in closing a dominant Eastern Conference swing, running home to dispatch the Kings and Avs(!) and then starting another "eastern" swing by dismantling the reeling Hurricanes. (I put "eastern" in quotes this time because the swing will include visits to Columbus and Detroit.) I tell you, those Eastern Conference teams just don't know what hits them when a Western Conference team comes to town.

6-point jumpers include: Vancouver, Phoenix and Nashville. Phoenix, as CBJ fans know, plays solid, unremarkable hockey that keeps them in games. I haven't seen a lot of Vancouver but gather that they racked up the illnesses and injuries this week. Next week's jump will be interesting to see. As for Nashville, they beat Western Conference foes Dallas, Minnesota and Chicago. Might Team Vader be getting its act together? (I'll never count Nashville out as long as Barry Trotz is behind the bench.)

Low-jumpers, with only 2 points, are Calgary, Edmonton and St. Louis. No real insights here, other than Calgary is too talented to fail by any other means than mental lapses, Edmonton is a rebuilding team that will have good weeks and bad (I think flu was an issue up there when the CBJ last visited) and St. Louis has had issues getting on track since coming back from Europe. 7 points since returning would indicate as such.

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