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NHL Predictions at Olympic Break

Magnus JohnsonCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 09: Goalie Craig Anderson #41 of the Colorado Avalanche guards the net against Paul Gaustad #28 of the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena on January 9, 2010 in Buffalo, New York. Colorado won 4-3. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

While all the NHL's stars go to Vancouver to play in the Olympics, the managers stay behind and ponder their team's position playoff-wise.  No team is officially out of it, but teams like Toronto, Edmonton, and Carolina need a miracle (and a lot more of them) to make it.  Other teams, like Detroit, Dallas, and Tampa Bay find themselves on the outside looking in, but just barely.  More teams, like Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Buffalo,  find themselves safely in the playoffs but subject to a wild change of events. And Finally, teams like Chicago, Washington, and San Jose are on top of the world.

Once the season starts up again, who will make a push for the playoffs, and who will have a rusty re-start that sends them plummeting down the standings? Let's take a look:


The Eastern Conference

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1. Washington Capitals - Ovechkin and Backstrom lead the Caps to an Eastern No. 1 seed.

2. Ottawa Senators - An 11-game win streak propelled the Sens to the top of their division, and they won't relinquish their grasp.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins - Not to be outdone by Ovie, "Sid the Kid" helps his team to a division title.

4. New Jersey Devils - The Addition of Kovalchuk keeps the Devs alive in the East. 

5. Buffalo Sabres - Ryan Miller acts as a stone wall and sends Buffalo safely into the postseason.

6. Tampa Bay Lightning - Lecavalier and St. Louis star in an epic second half of the season that secures a Bolt's playoff spot.

7. New York Rangers - Marion Gaborik's fantastic season helps the Ranger's continue their playoff season streak. 

8. Boston Bruins - The Bruins save their season and deny the Habs of a second straight No. 8 seed.

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9. Montreal Canadiens - Carey Price suffers his first season of just 82 games. 

10. Florida Panthers - Vokoun brings the Panthers close, but no cigar. 

11. Atlanta Thrashers - Kovalchuk can't be replaced, on the ice, or in the hearts of their fans.

12. Carolina Hurricanes - The 'Canes play well late, but have dug themselves too big a hole.

13. Philadelphia Flyers - A late losing streak denies Pronger and Richards the playoffs.

14. New York Islanders - A franchise becoming less and less relevant doesn't help themselves with this finish. 

15. Toronto Maple Leafs - Despite the additions of Giguere and Phaneuf, the Leafs just can't get it going.

Western Conference

1. San Jose Sharks - A stacked team gets its money's worth in an incredible season.

2. Chicago Blackhawks - The dynamic duo of Kane and Toews are unstoppable late.

3. Colorado Avalanche - Duchenne helps the Avs redeem themselves from last year.

4. Phoenix Coyotes - The 'Yotes play well but can't top the Sharks for a Top 3 seed.

5. Vancouver Canucks - After hosting the Olympics, the city of Vancouver has another thing to celebrate as the Canucks make it in yet again.

6. Los Angeles Kings - A young team with a ton of stars reenergizes a franchise.

7. Detroit Red Wings - The Wings have a disappointing season but they still manage to make the postseason. 

8. Anaheim Ducks - Koivu, Getzlaf, and the Ducks get a late-season run to play for the cup.

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9. Calgary Flames - Iginla is left as a lone star after the Phaneuf trade, and can't make it by himself.

10. Dallas Stars - The Stars are left in the dust of the Wings and Ducks.

11. Nashville Predators - The Preds miss the playoffs for the second straight year. 

12. St. Louis Blues - The Blues sit in the same position as before the break, making no push for the playoffs.

13. Columbus Blue Jackets - After a great season a year ago, the Jackets will be watching the playoffs from home once again this year. 

14. Minnesota Wild - A team with little stand-out stars is overwhelmed in the wild west.

15. Edmonton Oilers - With a minus 58 goal difference at the break, the Oil just can't get it going after it. 

Playoffs- Round 1

1. WAS def. 8. BOS, 4-1

2. OTT def. 7. NYR, 4-2

6. TBL def. 3. PITT, 4-3

5. BUF def. 4. NJD, 4-3

1. SJS def. 8. ANA, 4-3

7. DET def. 2. CHI, 4-2

3. COL def. 6. LAK, 4-2

4. PHX def. 5. VAN, 4-3

Playoffs- Round 2

1. WAS def. 6. TBL, 4-3

5. BUF def. 2. OTT, 4-3

7. DET def. 1. SJS, 4-2

3. COL def. 4. PHX, 4-2

Playoffs- Round 3

5. BUF def. 1. WAS, 4-3

3. COL def. 7. DET, 4-2

Stanley Cup Finals

5. Buffalo Sabres def. 3. Colorado Avalanche, 4-2

Finals MVP: G Ryan Miller

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