by Mike Chen on 02/13/09 at 02:09 PM ET
With everything so jam-packed in the Western Conference, the number that seems to get overlooked until the last dozen or so games is that actual games-played stat. But when you convert the points into points-per-game, you get a little better look at what the separation between the fifth and 15th place team is. Here’s where teams really stand:
San Jose 1.58
Los Angeles 1.04
St. Louis 0.94
Is every team still in it? Technically, yes, but we’re getting to a point where a prolonged skid (see: Phoenix Coyotes) can turn you from a contender into a pretender really fast. Vancouver, who we all pegged as dead in the water just a few weeks back, has made a nice little comeback. The interesting thing is seeing Anaheim fall down; they’re not as good as their point totals might preclude.
From Nashville down, if those teams don’t put together a good stretch of mostly wins in the next ten games, I’d say we can whittle down the number of teams that are actually battling for those last playoff spots. Will Edmonton’s loss of Lubomir Visnovsky hurt them? Doesn’t seem that way so far, but losing streaks can make a big win against a heated rival seem like a distant memory pretty quickly.
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