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Only The Strong Will Survive

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 2:26 PM
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Razor With An Edge Blog
Only The Strong Will Survive

In a place called Omak, Washington they hold a Stampede and at that Stampede there is a crazy-arse event called the 'Suicide Race'. It's a full gallop charge down an embankment, across a shallow river, and to a finish line at the arena. Not everyone makes it.

The 2012 W. Conference playoff stampede is a 'suicide race'

It's basically eight teams, feet in stirrups, reigns whipping backsides, going hell-bent-for-leather down a hillside, racing to be one of the first three across the finish line come April 10th.

Dallas, Colorado, Calgary, LA, San Jose, Chicago, Minnesota, and Anaheim comprise the ponies.

Health, confidence and goaltending will ultimately decide which three get in, but rest assured all eight are going to kill themselves (and opponents) to get in.

So let's handicap the insanity:

Stars - should get Benn and Morrow back in the next few days/weeks which should have quite the impact. Kari Lehtonen is as good as any netminder in the league. Any.

Colorado - currently hottest team in the race. Goaltending has a mix of veteran savvy (Giguere) and an athletic yet spasmatic youngster (Varlamov)

Calgary - is getting healthy with return of Glencross and Smith last week, Moss this week, and Stempniak eventually. Kiprusoff is their MVP and like Lehtonen he can win games by himself.

LA - has Jonathan Quick in net. That's strong to very strong - he has been phenomenal. With all the moves they've made (coach change, trades, etc.) they have the potential to surge, but will they? Or, will it be the same goal-challenged act we've witnessed?

San Jose - is currently a mess. They've lost their standing as Pacific division leader and a lot of swagger. The goaltending of Niemi and Greiss has been well short of awe-inspiring. What they do have going for them though is: experience, a returning Martin Havlat and games in hand. However, games in hand are only good if you win them.

Chicago - is a mystery. How a team with that collection of talent can have such crap special teams results is baffling. Their captain isn't healthy and that stings. In goal sophomore Corey Crawford has, not surprisingly, suffered a sophomore slump and Ray Emery looks stiff as a corpse.

Minnesota - has Nik Backstrom in net and although he sucks in Shootouts he shines in stealing games behind a very suspect d-corps. Half of that defense has been turned over in the past week. Health has been part of their problem but so has lack of NHL talent. They addressed some of that in a trade with NJ.

Anaheim - got a late start but is making a furious charge. Hiller gives them excellent netminding although his style is an acquired taste. When Visnovsky was injured they weren't very good. He isn't hurt. The only question is, can they keep up the pace or have they exhausted the nag?

Take a deep breath, dig those heals in and banshee-scream 'Hehya!!!'

And...hang-on for dear playoff life.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 61 41 13 7 186 143 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 60 38 18 4 188 151 80
4 CHI 61 36 20 5 180 146 77
5 VAN 60 35 22 3 171 156 73
6 WPG 62 31 20 11 173 168 73
7 LAK 59 29 18 12 162 152 70
8 CGY 61 33 24 4 174 158 70
9 MIN 60 31 22 7 169 158 69
10 SJS 61 30 23 8 171 174 68
11 DAL 61 27 25 9 191 202 63
12 COL 61 26 24 11 161 175 63
13 ARI 61 20 34 7 134 206 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 61 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 61 14 37 -3 51
E. Cole 56 18 14 4 32
J. Klingberg 47 10 22 4 32
T. Daley 58 16 15 -11 31
A. Hemsky 55 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 61 2 24 4 26
C. Eakin 58 12 13 -3 25
A. Roussel 59 11 11 -11 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 9 .906 2.96
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
 
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