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Western Conference Notebook (Nov. 23)

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Entering tonight's play five points seperate the No. 2 - 13 seeds in the Western Conference, with the No. 8 - 13 spots differentiated by just two points. Detroit remains among the NHL's hottest teams with a 8-1-1 mark in its last 10 games, followed in the Conference by Phoenix (7-1-2 record in the last 10).

The West has continued to feast on inter-conference play, holding a 101-81 lead in points through 81 inter-conference games, despite the Eastern Conference winning all three inter-conference match-ups on Monday night. Western Conference teams have posted a combined 46-26-9 mark (.623 points percentage) vs. Eastern Conference foes this season. By comparison, the East has a 35-35-11 record against the West (81 points, .500 points percentage). There are another six East vs. West match-ups on the schedule for Wednesday (Nov. 24).

Central Division
Columbus forward Rick Nash was named the NHL's first star of the week for his performance last week (6 goals in three games). Nash leads all Western Conference skaters with 13 goals this season ... St. Louis is the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss at home this season. The Blues are 8-0-1 through their first nine home dates in '10-11. Last season the Blues were just 18-18-5 at home and missed the playoffs by five points ... The Central Divsion has posted a 16-3-2 record in inter-Conference play, far and away the best mark by any division in the NHL this season. The Pacific Division is next with a 19-10-4 record in inter-Conference match-ups ... St. Louis is 7-0-0 vs. Eastern Conference teams this season, but 4-5-3 vs. Western Conference foes ... Heading into tonight's play, four division teams hold down the first seven seeds in the Conference playoff race, with the fifth sitting just two points shy of the No. 8 slot (with a game at hand against eighth seeded Vancouver and four at hand against ninth seeded Anaheim) ... The division will play three inter-conference games this week: Columbus at the NY Islanders & Detroit at Atlanta on Wednesday and the NY Rangers at Nashville on Saturday ... There are three intra-divisional games on tap this week: St. Louis at Nashville on Wednesday and a home-and-home between Detroit and Columbus on Friday and Sunday.

Northwest Division
Colorado's John-Micheal Liles is tied for the NHL lead in points by a defenseman (20 points; tied with Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom) this season. Liles had 31 points all last season ... Minnesota's Brent Burns leads all Western Conference defensemen with 6 goals this season ... Vancouver (27.0%) and Minnesota (26.3%) rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the NHL in power-play percentage ... The division will play five inter-conference games this week: Calgary at New Jersey & Philadelphia at Minnesota on Wednesday, Calgary at Philadelphia on Friday, Calgary at Pittsburgh on Saturday, and Edmonton at Ottawa on Monday ... There are four intra-divisional games scheduled this week: Colorado at Vancouver on Wednesday, Colorado at Edmonton on Thursday, Minnesota at Colorado on Saturday, and Minnesota at Calgary on Monday.

Pacific Division
Brad Richards leads all Western Conference skaters with 25 points this season ... San Jose forward Logan Couture leads all NHL rookies with 8 goals this season and leads all conference rookies with 12 points. Couture's 3 game-winning goals are also tops among NHL rookies ... The LA Kings are 3-0 in shootouts this season, tied with Nashville for the most shootout wins in the NHL this season. Last season Phoenix led the NHL with 14 shootout wins ... There are three inter-conference match-ups on the schedule for this week: Los Angeles at Montreal & Dallas at Ottawa on Wednesday and Dallas at Carolina on Monday ... There are two intra-divisional games this week: Anaheim at Phoenix on Saturday and Los Angeles at Anaheim on Monday.

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