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Western Conference Notebook (Dec. 15)

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
The Western Conference standings remain tight through the first third of the season with just five points seperating the No. 8 - 15 seeds in the conference standings and only 11 points seperating the No. 3 - 15 seeds. By comparison there is a six point seperating between the No. 8 - 12 seeds in the Eastern Conference with a 11 points seperating the No. 8 - 15 seeds and a 17 point bulge between No. 3 - 15 ... This week's NHL schedule features a heavy dose of out of conference match-ups with the Western Conference playing 12 games against Eastern Conference foes, including three out of conference battles on Saturday ... This season Western Conference teams have posted a 62-32-11 record against Eastern Conference foes (.643 points percentage) ... Last season Western Conference teams went 83-53-14 against the East (.600 points percentage).

All-Star Voting Update:
Top 5 Forwards - Hossa (Det)-304,525; Kane (Chi)-301,165; Iginla (Cgy)-294,523; Datsyuk (Det)-290,344; Zetterberg (Det)-280,509 ... Top 3 Defensemen - Lidstrom (Det)-424,018; Phaneuf (Cgy)-356,702; Campbell (Det)-247,958 ... Top 2 Goaltenders - Luongo (Van)-359,803; Giguere (Ana)-185,945 ... All-Star Voting runs through Jan. 2 ... Vote at

Central Division
Chicago forward Patrick Sharp leads the Western Conference with 17 goals this season ... Columbus forward Derick Brassard and Chicago forward Kris Versteeg rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the NHL in rookie scoring ... Predators forward Jason Arnott has 9 goals on the road this season, tied for the most in the Western Conference ... Entering this week's action, Central Division teams have played 70 home games and 76 road games this season ... Central Division teams will play three games against Eastern Conference teams: St. Louis at Washington on Thursday, NY Islanders at Nashville on Saturday, and Boston at St. Louis on Sunday ... There are no intra-divisional games in the Central Division this week.

Northwest Division
Just eight points separates first place from last place in the Northwest Division, the smallest margin of any division in the NHL this season … Edmonton forward Ales Hemsky has 21 points on the road this season, most in the Western Conference ... Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff leads the Western Conference with 706 saves this season ... Northwest Division teams play four games against Eastern Conference opponents: Colorado at Philadelphia on Tuesday, Colorado at Tampa Bay on Thursday, NY Islanders at Minnesota on Friday, and Colorado at Florida on Sunday ... There are two intra-divisional games this week: Calgary at Minnesota and Edmonton at Vancouver, both on Wednesday.

Pacific Division
San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is tied for the NHL lead with 17 wins this season ... Anaheim forward Ryan Getzlaf leads the Western Conference with 36 points this season ... Anaheim defenseman Steve Montador leads NHL defensemen in plus/minus rating this season (+15) ... San Jose forward Joe Thornton has 25 points on home ice this season, most in the Western Conference ... San Jose forward Patrick Marleau has 11 goals at home this season, most in the Western Conference ... Pacific Division teams play five games against Eastern Conference opponents this week: NY Rangers at Anaheim on Tuesday, NY Rangers at Los Angeles on Wednesday, Los Angeles at Buffalo on Friday, Dallas at Ottawa on Saturday, and NY Rangers at San Jose on Saturday ... There are two intra-division games scheduled for this week: San Jose at Los Angeles on Monday and Phoenix at Dallas on Tuesday.
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