Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Race To The Playoffs

500 words

We are getting close to that time of year where we begin thinking of a team or teams near the bottom of the standings in each conference.  Sort of like the St. Louis Blues who were at the bottom of their conference this time of year last season, only to finish the season by raising the Stanley Cup.

If you were to visit any of the legal betting sites for US customers would you have confidence to pick one or two of the teams about to be mentioned?

Before you say no, remember the person who bet on the Blues when they were a long shot at 250/1 in January?  By mid-June, he was $150K richer.

In the Eastern Conference race, these teams are out of the playoffs at this point in time.

The New York Rangers have 31 points, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs have 30 points and the Tampa Bay Lightning have 26 points.

Below the teams just mentioned are:  Columbus with 26 points, Ottawa 25, New Jersey 22 and Detroit with 17 points.

Today I am eliminating the Wings, Devils and Senators, they have no chance of making the playoffs. Zilch, nada and no way are the words you can use.

The Blue Jackets at this time would be considered a doubtful and I am also going to include the Rangers too, although they are close to a wild card spot, I don't see them maintaining their current pace.

Left are the Canadiens, Leafs and Lightning and I see all three teams making the second season which means three teams currently in the playoffs will not make it.  A big prediction by me, but I will not back down.

In the Western Conference, you could say five teams are tied in the Wild Card race.  Of course, the tie breaking will be used if necessary.

As of today, the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames currently have 32 points.

The Nashville Predators have 29 points with the Anaheim Ducks at 28, Chicago Blackhawks at 27 and LA Kings at the bottom of the West.

I am going to eliminate the Blackhawks, Ducks and of course the Kings who have no shot at the playoffs.

So three teams down in the West which leaves five teams currently deadlocked with 32 points.  Making the playoffs will be Dallas and San Jose with Vancouver barely missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The season is still young but I feel confident with my choices, even in early December.

But and a big one, how about the teams currently projected to make the playoffs?  Will any fail, go into a prolonged slump or how about a serious injury to key players?

Ah, the great unknown and one that tells me every game counts, no matter who you are picking.

Keep watching, keep hoping and keep the faith.

The fun is about to begin, our game heats up and it is a race to the finish in the NHL.

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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