Arizona Coyotes: Playoff Predictions For Tight Western Conference Race

These four Western Conference NHL teams have played anywhere from 69 to 71 games this long, tough season. Now, what it boils down to is the last 11-13 games to determine who gets the honor of playing in the playoffs, and who goes home.

Talk about pressure! 

For the Arizona Coyotes, it seemed not long ago that they were in the midst of a terrible seven game losing streak, but yet they are hanging around just nine points back of the Colorado Avalanche who possess the last remaining playoff slot as of 3/17/16.

Breaking it Down

Let's analyze what each team's schedule is like, and do some prognostication as to how many points it will take to qualify for one spot being fought over by four teams.

Colorado Avalanche:

Getty Images Sport Doug Pensinger
Getty Images Sport Doug Pensinger

They have 11 games remaining - five at home, six on the road.

Their current record as of 3/17/16: 36-31-4 for 76 points and eighth place in the Wild Card race.

  • ♦ They on currently on a four game road trip, where they are 1-1. They play next at Calgary, then Edmonton.
  • ♦ They have a tough schedule in that they play eight playoff teams, and only three non-playoff teams.
  • ♦ They play the surging Nashville Predators twice on the road, as well as the Dallas Stars who are tied for the Western Conference lead.
  • ♦ They must face Nashville on the road on 3-28, then face the St. Louis Blues the next night. These two games are vital for them.

Final Point Prediction:

Five wins, six losses for a season total of 86 points.

Minnesota Wild:

Getty Images Sport Doug Pensinger
Getty Images Sport Doug Pensinger

They have 12 games remaining - seven at home, five on the road. 

Their current record as of 3/17/16: 32-27-11 for 75 points and ninth place in the Wild Card race.

♦ They play six games against playoff teams, and six against non-playoff teams.

♦ They face the Chicago Blackhawks twice, once at home and once on the road. They lost both games to the Blackhawks this season.

♦ They face the L.A. Kings once.

Final Point Prediction:

Six wins, six losses for a season total of 87 points.

Arizona Coyotes:

Getty Images Sport Christian Petersen
Getty Images Sport Christian Petersen

They have 13 games remaining - seven at home and six on the road.

Their current record as of 3/17/16: 30-32-7 for 67 points and 10th place in the Wild Card race.

♦ They have the toughest schedule in that they must play against 11 playoff teams and only two non-playoff teams.

♦ They must also play the San Jose Sharks three times, the Dallas Stars twice, the St. Louis Blues, and Washington Caps all once. Tough teams to beat.

♦ They have a grueling four game road trip ending the last week of the season against the Blues, Blackhawks, Predators, and Sharks. 

♦ In order to pass the Wild and/or the Avalanche they must win at least 10 of their remaining 13 games. While that is mathematically possible, it is quite logically not going to happen. 

♦ A key factor may be if Mike Smith can continue the type of play he exhibited against the lowly Edmonton Oilers when he shut them out 4-0. He will be playing up against much more talented (well the Oilers have talent, but don't win anyway) teams, and unless he can play up to his 2011-12 level, this team is toast for the playoffs.

Final Point Prediction:

Eight wins, four losses, one overtime loss for a season total of 84 points.

Vancouver Canucks:

Getty Images Sport Rob Carr
Getty Images Sport Rob Carr

They have 13 games remaining - five at home and eight on the road.

Their current record as of 3/17/16: 27-30-12 for 66 points and 11th place in the Wild Card race.

♦ They have eight games against playoff teams, and five against non-playoff teams.

♦ Even if they win all three remaining games against the Edmonton Oilers, they still must face the St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks twice each, as well as battling the Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, and L.A. Kings. 

♦ They lost a crucial game against the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on 3/16/16, thereby losing ground to the Avalanche and propelling them past the Minnesota Wild for the final playoff berth. 

♦ They've lost six of 10 of late, and seem to be running out of gas at the time they should be making a playoff run. 

Final Points Prediction:

Five wins, eight losses for a season total of 76 points.

Final Analysis:

The Minnesota Wild squeak into the eighth and final playoff spot with 87 points, with the Colorado Avalanche missing out on the post-season by just one point.

The Arizona Coyotes, although giving it all they had, fall short for the fifth straight season and will not be enjoying a White-out this go around.

The Vancouver Canucks crashed and burned by not finishing well enough to even challenge for a playoff position. 

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