NHL: Power Ranking the Best Divisions
As the 2011-2012 NHL season is coming down to the wire, teams are frantically making their final push to get into the playoffs.
In both conferences, the battle for eighth will be tight, and each game for the rest of the season will be mammoth contests.
Here is a ranking of the best divisions in the NHL this season.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Total number of points for five teams: 394
One reason the Southeast division finished last is because of the struggles of the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning. No one would have predicted that either of those two teams would be in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Total number of points for five teams: 398
This division was surprising to me when I looked up the standings on NHL.com; the Bruins are not totally dominating the East, like they were at the beginning, and the rest of the division is somewhat mediocre.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Total number of points for five teams: 406
This division would be dead last if the Vancouver Canucks weren't so dang good.
Although with Colorado and Edmonton on the fast track to future success, don't be surprised if the Northwest is at the top of the NHL in a couple of years.
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Total number of points for five teams: 416
The Pacific is without a doubt the closest race, as two points separate first through fourth in the division. Last season, the Pacific was by far the best division, and if Dallas had won their last game of the season, all five of the teams in this division would have been in the playoffs.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Total number of points for five teams: 433
The Western Conference's supreme division, the Central has been brutal. The top four teams in the central would all have the division lead in three of the other five divisions, that's a sign of how tough that division is.
While it looks like St. Louis is going to win the division, and the conference, don't expect a cakewalk for the playoffs, with the most pressure coming from their division rivals.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Total number of points for five teams: 452
The Atlantic division is one of the most loaded divisions hockey has seen in years. The division holds three sure-fire Cup contenders in the Penguins, Flyers and Rangers, and a team that would surprise no one if they made a lengthy playoff run in the New Jersey Devils.
Add the up-and-coming New York Islanders to that list, and you have a potential division dynasty on your hands.