NHL Playoffs Preview

NHL Playoffs Preview

Collin Johnson, Sports Team

As of Feb. 28, every team in the NHL has already played half of their schedule, and most only have a certain number of games left to eventually squeeze into the playoffs.

With the playoff picture looming closer, and with the top eight teams from each division, it will be neck and neck for teams who will be ranked 9th, 10th or even 11th, to try to make it in before they know it.

The team that has been a quite shocker in the Eastern Conference is the Washington Capitals.  The Capitals have played 61 games, winning 45 of them, losing only 12, and with only four OT losses. They are in first place with 94 points. They have been playing astonishingly well.  Much more of this that comes from their offense, defense, as well as their goaltender, Braden Holtby.    

For the offense, Alexander Ovechkin has been leading his team with 40 goals and 18 assists.  

Defenseman John Carlson has been helping his team with 6 goals and 25 assists.  

The Caps goalie, Braden Holtby, is leading the league with 39 wins which is his carrer best.

“I’m not a Capitals fan, but I will have to give them credit for having 94 points, and it’s not even playoffs yet. My guess for the playoff picture would be the Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup Final.  I know it’s still far away, but these two teams have ethauntic chemistry between the two,” junior Nick Johnson said.

If the season ended today, the following teams would make the playoffs: Capitals, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lighting, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first seed will play the eighth seed, second seed will play the seventh seed, so forth and so on.  

The team in the Western Conference that has been showing significant improvement is the Dallas Stars. Some hockey fans might say the Blackhawks because they have been in the top 5 standings in the previous years, but the Stars have been proving their spot in the conference.  

The Stars are in second place right behind the Hawks with 82 points, 63 games played, 38 wins, 19 losses, and six OTs.  Jamie Benn is leading his team with 32 goals, 38 assists,  and 70 points.  Their offense have steeped this year as well as last year, with the young offense that they had.  

“During the couple games of the season, I’ve noticed  the Stars were doing really good.  They were ranking in the top five of the standings in the conference.  When they received Patrick Sharp from the Hawks, they really stepped up with him.  Even though Sharp is getting a little old, he still has some potential to help his team to the playoffs,” junior George Lind said.

The following teams would be in the top eight of the playoffs if the season ended today: the Hawks, Stars, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, and the Colorado Avalanche.  

It goes the same for both conferences  to play each other with the number of sedes in the playoffs.

Even though the season isn’t quite done, there are teams are trying to battle the last seed to make the playoffs.  It could be teams who haven’t been in the playoffs in a decade or so. When it comes down to the end of the month of late April and early May, teams will try to prove each other wrong on how much work they can do to the work to seed eighth in playoffs.