A pattern has developed in both conferences. In fact, the East and West mirror each other.
Both have a dominant division.
In the East it is the Atlantic.
New York leads the conference. Both Pennsylvania teams, Pittsburgh and Philly, are on fire, and New Jersey looks like a quality six-seed that could upset the Southeast Division leader.
In the West it is the Central.
Detroit has cooled off, but they’re Detroit. St. Louis is playing great hockey right now, lead the conference, and are built for a playoff run. Nashville and Chicago could make deep playoff runs.
Both conferences also have a garbage division.
In the East, it's the Southeast.
Florida will probably win that division by default. Tampa and Washington took big steps back. Winnipeg is young and has an awful travel schedule. Carolina is built for the future.
In the West, it is the Northwest.
Vancouver won this division by mid-season. Minnesota started hot, but have struggled in the second half. Edmonton showed some promise a couple months ago. Colorado and Calgary are on the bubble, but both could miss the playoffs.
Finally, Washington and San Jose are mirror teams.
Both are in non-traditional markets, but have built up large fan-bases.
Both have an underachieving superstar (Marleau/Ovechkin).
Both were supposed to win their division.
Both could miss the playoffs.
In the end, say what you want about the NHL’s parity—I love it.
Despite having three-point games and close division races, the results aren’t random.
In fact, they are eerily similar in both conferences.
Last week: 30
The Jackets only have one regulation win since their four-game win streak earlier this month.
It was a 5-1 win over Carolina. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
Last week: 28
The Wild picked up two wins before losing to Buffalo.
That brings this month’s win total to three…
Last week: 22
I’m going to try not to say anything mean, but this team is struggling.
Last week: 27
Montreal only have one win in their last five games.
Last week: 26
The Islanders only have four wins this month.
Last week: 29
Edmonton has gone into a shootout in three of their last four games.
They may be down and out, but they’re still kicking.
Last week: 25
The Ducks have wins over San Jose and St. Louis after losses to LA and Nashville.
All four of those teams could potentially make the playoffs.
Last week: 23
It’s been a rough month for the Lightning, but it’s always nice to play the Oilers and Islanders.
The Bolts picked up wins in both contests.
Last week: 24
Getting crushed by Columbus after winning four games has to be painful for the wonderful people of Raleigh.
Last week: 18
Winnipeg finally got a win away from home this month.
To be fair, they are always on the plane (how fitting, right?).
Last week: 19
With only one win in their last five games, the Caps have put themselves in a putrid position.
They may not make the playoffs this year.
Last week: 17
With five straight losses, the Flames are fading from the playoff picture.
Last week: 20
Buffalo has won four straight and looks like the front-runner to get the eight-seed in the East.
Last week: 15
With only two wins in their last seven games, the Sens are not taking advantage of Boston’s struggles.
Last week: 16
Losing to both SoCal teams always sucks, but San Jose beat Boston and Phoenix to stay in the playoff hunt.
Last week: 21
The Coyotes have not strung together two wins in a row this month.
They are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs… and could also win their division.
Last week: 14
Colorado remains in the running for a bottom seed in the West, but can’t slump now.
They’ve lost their last two games after getting points in six straight.
Last week: 11
The Kings are winning at the right time.
They’d won six in a row before losing to Boston on Saturday.
Last week: 6
With losses to Winnipeg, Chicago and Vancouver in their last five games, the Stars are losing valuable points on the board at a time when they need them more than ever.
Last week: 13
After winning five games in a row, the Panthers got beat by Carolina and Edmonton in back-to-back contests.
They’re still leading their division because, well, everyone else is so bad.
Last week: 10
The once-mighty Wings only have three wins this month.
This perennial playoff squad may be backing into the postseason this year.
Last week: 12
Boston has won three of their last four, including an 8-0 rout of Toronto, and remains atop the Northeast Division.
Last week: 9
Having won only two of their last six games, the Devils could potentially slip to the seven-seed if Ottawa gets hot.
Last week: 5
The Preds have cooled of a bit.
They lost to Edmonton and Pittsburgh by a combined score of 11-4 before beating Winnipeg on Saturday.
Last week: 7
The Rangers have won three of their last four.
The loss to Buffalo is a little baffling, though.
Last week: 8
The road trip looked rough at first, but Vancouver has pulled off two wins to even it out.
Last week: 4
The Hawks have won five games in a row and are still fourth in their division.
That’s how good the Central is.
Last week: 2
Losers in four of their last five contests, the Blues must have thought the season ended when they clinched a playoff spot…
Last week: 3
The Flyers are 7-2-1 in their last ten and have secured a playoff spot.
Last week: 1
The Pens suffered their first regulation loss of the month on Saturday.
That sounds good until you read the box score: Ottawa routed them 8-4.