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Western Conference Notebook (Nov. 9)

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Entering tonight's play only four points seperate the top-8 seeds in the Western Conference and just three points seperate the No. 6-13 seeds in the conference. Only three teams have points percentages below .500.

There were eight shutouts around the NHL last week, seven by Western Conference netminders, including two by Mathieu Garon (Nov. 2 vs. Montreal and Nov. 4 at Atlanta) and one each by both of St. Louis's goalies (Jaroslav Halak on Nov. 4 vs. San Jose and Ty Conklin on Nov. 7 at NY Rangers). Niklas Backstrom (Nov. 2 vs. San Jose), Jonathan Quick (Nov. 4 vs. Tampa Bay), and Peter Budaj (Nov. 6 vs. Dallas) posted the other Western Conference shutouts this week.

Central Division
St. Louis has been on the power-play 13 more times than their opponents this season, the best differential in the Conference and second-best in the NHL (Atlanta, +14). The Blues have been shorthanded just 46 times this season, fewest in the Western Conference, however they are the third most penalized team in the NHL with 19.1 penalty minutes per game ... Nashville has been shorthanded just 47 times this season, second-fewest in the Conference ... Columbus is the only team in the divison that has been shorthanded more times than it has been on the power-play (52 power-plays, 57 times shorthanded) ... Chicago, though, is the least penalized team in the Conference with 9.9 penalty minutes per game ... There are three intra-divisional match-ups this week: St. Louis at Columbus on Wednesday; Nashville at St. Louis on Thursday; Chicago at Nashville on Saturday.

Northwest Division
Colorado plays in the highest scoring games in the NHL this season, an average of 6.61 goals per game. The Avalanche lead the NHL with 3.38 goals scored per game, while allowing 3.23 goals per game (fifth most in the league) ... Vancouver and Minnesota are the top-two power-play units in the NHL this season. Vancouver leads the NHL with a 29.4% success rate, while Minnesota is second in the NHL at 27.1% ... Calgary has scored 18 first period goals (second most in the NHL), but just 16 goals after the first intermission ... There is one intra-divisional game on the schedule this week: Calgary at Colorado on Tuesday.

Pacific Division
Dallas forward Loui Eriksson led the NHL with 7 points in three games over the past seven days (4g-3a, 2 power-play goals). Detroit's Dan Cleary was second in the NHL with 6 points in four games over that same time frame ... Eriksson's 4 goals were tied for the most in the league over the past seven days with Vancouver's Raffi Torres ... San Jose leads the NHL with 35.0 shots per game this season ... San Jose is the most penalized team in the NHL with an average of 20.2 penalty minutes per game. Anaheim is second with 19.4 penalty minutes per game ... There are four intra-divisional games on the schedule this week: Anaheim at San Jose on Tuesday; Dallas at the LA Kings on Thursday; Dallas at Anaheim on Friday; LA Kings at San Jose on Monday.

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