Sunday, November 8, 2009

Western Conference playoff race, 8 November edition


Without question, the big news this week is that the San Jose Sharks caught up to the Colorado Avalanche in the points race for the lead in the Western Conference.  As you can see, this isn't because Colorado is slowing down all that much - they added another 5 points this week - but rather that the Sharks have been stalking the Avs for a few weeks and finally added the extra point necessary to close the gap.

The other big news in my mind is that the "Top 8" playoff-qualifying bar went from 15 to 20 points this week.  Five points in a week is an awful big jump, indicative of a conference that - as a whole - has been winning a lot of games.  I'm not tracking the Eastern Conference (leave that for an Eastern Conference team's blog!), but I have to presume that a lot of those points are coming at the East's expense as opposed to the West's cellar-dwellers.  Time permitting, I'll go back and re-run the interconference win-loss-overtime records.

The Blue Jackets are in 3rd seed in the conference only by virtue of being in the lead in the Central Division.  At 20 points, they could just as easily be in 8th place as 3rd and are currently seeded ahead of two teams, LA and Calgary, that have more points.  A precarious position, indeed!  Are tough Central teams cannibalizing each other, depressing point accumulation, or are we seeing a nod to the days of "Comedy Central"?  Can't tell right now.

Big winner: Calgary.  The Flames added 6 points and sit at 21, just outside the window of division leadership anytime real soon (presuming the Avs keep up some semblance of their early season pace).  Following the Flames with 5 new points this week are San Jose and Columbus.

Big loser: Edmonton.  No new points this week makes for a sad Pat Quinn.  What's the deal there?  I thought the team with the roster health issues was Vancouver, and they were able to scrounge up 4 points in the past week.  Was the schedule that rough?  Injuries that I haven't heard of?  Just scraping ahead of Edmonton with 1 new point is Chicago.

[UPDATE: Wouldn't you know, the Oilers go and win a game late (against Chicago, no less!) on Sunday night - after I put this blog entry to bed.  We'll catch those 2 points next week.]

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