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The Race For A Playoff Spot

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

With the Feb. 24 trade deadline a month away, these next four weeks will be crucial in deciding who will be a buyer or seller. And yet, chances are the playoff picture won’t be any clearer by then.

Only two points separate the fifth-place Tampa Bay Lightning from the ninth-place Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference standings, The logjam is even more bunched up in the West, particularly in the overcrowded Pacific Division.

Vancouver headed into the break in first place with 58 points, but it’s not like the Canucks have any breathing room, with the next-four teams in the division — Edmonton, Calgary, Arizona and Vegas — each having 57 points.

Consider this: if those four teams win their next game and Vancouver loses, the Canucks would go from having home-ice advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs to staring down a potential match-up against the defending champion Blues as the eighth seed.

And with ninth-place Winnipeg and 10th-place Chicago tied with 54 points — and 11th-place Nashville and 12th-place Minnesota trailing with 52 and 51 points, respectively — it’s not out of the question to suggest that Vancouver is a mini-slump away from being out of the playoff picture completely.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com