Nashville Predators: How the Western Conference will be won

(Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Western Conference title is within reach for the Nashville Predators. Still, there is time for things to change. Here is how the West will be won.

One spot down, seven more to go. After beating the Colorado Avalanche last night, the Nashville Predators clinched the first playoff berth of the 2017-18 NHL Season. With 104 points, the Predators are perched on top of the Western Conference and show no signs of moving anytime soon. The teams closest to them are the Vegas Golden Knights (9 points behind) and Winnipeg Jets (10 points behind). Any attempts at the summit for these two teams will be treacherous.

And these are the only teams capable of such a climb.

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With the seven playoff positions remaining, ten teams mathematically have a chance to reach the postseason. Most teams have 11 games left in the season, meaning a possible 22 points on the table. Even if they won every game, the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks would fall short of points needed to make the playoffs even today. The Edmonton Oilers have 12 games left and could reach 89 points. That is highly unlikely. Not only would they have to win every game, six teams stand in their way. Sorry, Connor McDavid. You are eliminated.

Similarly, the Chicago Blackhawks do have enough games to earn a playoff position. However, they trail the St. Louis Blues by 11 points in the division, not to mention trailing four current contenders by 16 points. To borrow from Duck Dynasty, “you gone.”

Four teams are out, one team is in. Seven spots are open for nine teams to contend. How will it all shake out?