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Detroit Red Wings: Why They're Still Favorites in the West After Deadline

Zackary LandersContributor IIIMarch 2, 2012

Detroit Red Wings: Why They're Still Favorites in the West After Deadline

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    The top of the Western Conference looks a lot like a log-jam on a fast-moving river. 

    There are currently at least four teams in direct contention for the conference crown in the standings, and the Red Wings, Blues, Predators and Canucks all look to claim the spot on top. 

    Despite the harsh competition, the Red Wings should still be the favorite in the conference for five reasons: 

Home Games

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    To say that the hallowed hockey mecca that is the Joe Louis Arena has been kind to the Red Wings this year would be a drastic understatement. 

    With 10 of their last 18 games being played in downtown Detroit, the Red Wings will continue to play excellent hockey at home, the Colorado debacle notwithstanding. 

    The spirits of these halls will not only help them win the regular season title, but will also help deep into the playoffs. 

The Blues Lack of Offense Will Plague the Notes

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    Let's kick things off with a Central Division rival who did not make any notable moves at the deadline. 

    The St. Louis Blues currently rank 20th in the average goals per game column. They are getting beat out on offense by almost all of the postseason probable teams in either conference.

    While lights-out goaltending is a great asset, it is not unique amongst top Western Conference teams.  

    With the schedule the Blues have in front of them, playing teams with high offensive firepower like the Blackhawks, Sharks and Canucks, the Blues will have a hard time winning while sustaining an average of just 2.53 goals per game.

Nashville's Lack of a Solid Backup Goalie

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    Nashville has received much hype following the deadline in response to their hefty investments. 

    While they shored up numerous short-term problems and brought in someone who can score 20 goals, the Predators still have a few weaknesses. 

    The biggest of these is seen in Anders Lindback, the backup to brick wall Pekka Rinne. 

    Lindback is a dismal 2-7 on the season, and the Predators will be in serious trouble if something happens to Rinne during the playoffs. 

    There is also the fact that at least a few of the remaining 18 games will feature him, leaving fans to hope for high offensive production. 

Vancouver's Inconsistency

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    At this point in the season, it is somewhat difficult to find major weaknesses in the top teams in the Western Conference. 

    Many problems have been solved, and the top teams are top teams for a reason. 

    However, a problem that can not be solved at a deadline or through trades is inconsistency. 

    The Canucks have battled this to an extent this year, and Roberto Luongo was the definition of the word last June.

    For example, during the first half of the year, many in Vancouver wanted to run Luongo out of town.

    The Sedin twins are currently in a mini slump, and when the Vancouver offense is slumping, the game is usually lost. 

Because They Stood Pat: Team Chemistry

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    The Red Wings of the 2012 campaign have been together for quite a while.

    While other teams in the conference and division are constantly shipping players in and out, Ken Holland takes pride in not only keeping the same core, but often the same role players too. 

    In the locker room, it is well known that the Red Wings often play jokes and have fun like any other NHL team.

    The key advantage for the Wings is that they have been doing it longer than most teams. 

    It's said that a group that works together off the ice can do wonders on the ice.

    Even Kyle Quincey, the Red Wings' recently acquired defenseman has played for the team before.

    Expect this chemistry to shine through during the rest of the year.

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