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Western Conference Dominating East Yet Again

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks
The NHL changed its scheduling format this season to expand the number of interconference games from 10 to 18 per team. The way things are going, Eastern Conference teams might want to change things back.

The West has dominated interconference play since 2005-06, when the schedules were adjusted to reduce the number of East-West meetings -- and their dominance continues to grow. The West went from 79-52-19 in 2005-06 to 82-48-20 in '06-07, to 83-53-14 last season -- and is 94-59-17 this season. Western teams have a .553 winning percentage and have taken 55 percent of the available points in 2008-09.

In contrast, the East is deteriorating -- from 71-62-17 in '05-06 to 68-63-19 in '06-07, down to 63-63-17 last season and 76-77-17 so far this season. Teams from the East are winning only 45 percent of games and taking home 45.2 percent of the available points.

No team has enjoyed the extra games against the East more than Minnesota.

The Wild entered the weekend tied for seventh in the West largely due to their performance against the East. Minnesota is just 13-18-2 against its own conference; but is 11-2-1 against the East, including home-and-home wins against the conference-leading Boston Bruins and a road victory against Washington, the leader in the Southeast Conference.

All three division leaders in the West are also carving up Eastern opponents.

San Jose is 9-1-0, Detroit is 8-3-1 and Calgary is 7-1-1. Only two Western teams --Anaheim and St. Louis -- are below .500 in regulation against the East.

Boston, the best team in the East, is 7-3-1 against the West, but Atlantic leader New Jersey is only 6-4-0 and Washington is just 6-8-0. Eight of the 15 Eastern teams are below .500 in regulation against the West.

--John Kreisler,
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