The Western Conference has had its way with its brethren from the Eastern Conference in recent seasons, but the move of a perennial power in the Detroit Red Wings (and the young and improving Columbus Blue Jackets) in realignment was expected to shift some of the balance of regular-season power.
It hasn't materialized to this point. Teams from the Western Conference were 31-11-4 in games against Eastern Conference foes through the end of games Wednesday, which equates to a pace of nearly 118 points in a full season.
In the new divisional playoff format, a fifth-place team from one division can usurp a Stanley Cup Playoff berth from the fourth-place finisher in the other. If there could be crossover between the conferences, 10 teams from the West would be in the playoffs if they had started Thursday.