Three teams have already clinched their playoffs positions. Who will be the final squad joining them in the postseason from the NHL West?
Vegas, Colorado and Minnesota are the three franchises who have staked their claim for a shot at the Stanley Cup. Only one more team can join them from the West. Still primarily left in the race are the Arizona Coyotes and the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis currently holds the final position with a record of 21-19-6 and 48 points. The ‘Yotes are 21-23-5 with 47 points, just one point behind the Blues.
St. Louis Blues
At a glance, it seems like St. Louis is in a prime position, considering they have 10 games remaining to further their advantage. Also, they just vaulted over Arizona in the standings with a big win over the Colorado Avalanche. But after taking a closer look, they have five contests against the third placed Minnesota Wild and a pair against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Vegas leads the division outright with 70 points and the Wild are cruising in third place with 65 points. The Golden Knights have won their last nine consecutive matchups, outscoring opponents 40 to 15.
The Wild have built a nice streak for themselves at seven wins in a row. Not to mention their offense is led by rookie sensation #97 Kirill Kaprizov. Kaprizov has 41 points from 22 goals and 19 assists. On the other side of the ice, their penalty kill ranks in the top three with an 84% success rate.
Arizona’s remaining schedule sees them play the San Jose Sharks thrice, Vegas twice and a pair of tilts against the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks and Kings are in sixth and seventh spots in the West at 43 and 42 points respectively. Although in Arizona’s previous meeting with San Jose, the Sharks had their number and took the win. Despite going down by four, Arizona was able to battle back, but in the end, it just was not enough.
The Coyotes appeared to be almost out of playoff contention earlier in the season, but have since rebounded and are now fighting for that final spot. If they can continue to keep their noses to the grindstone, they could definitely take that final position.
So despite having three more chances for points, the Blues’ schedule looks much more difficult as we approach the final stretch. Arizona’s week has the Sharks on Wednesday and back to back battles with Vegas starting Friday night. St. Louis will face off against the Wild three times this week on Wednesday, Thursday and then Saturday.
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