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Western Conference Notebook

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Western Conference Notebook

Parity has been the word of the season in the NHL. At the top of the standings, last season 11 teams broke the 100-point barrier, this season just six teams are on pace for 100-point seasons. At the other end of the standings, the bottom five teams in the league last season posted a combined 332 points. Heading in to play Tuesday night, the bottom five teams this season have already posted a combined 330 points with three-and-a half weeks still remaining in the schedule … There are six inter-conference matchups over the next week with Western Conference playoff implications:
March 12: Calgary at Washington, Chicago at Carolina
March 13: Calgary at Atlanta, New Jersey at Minnesota
March 15: New Jersey at Colorado
March 18: Washington at Nashville

Central Division
Detroit, Nashville, and Chicago rank No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in the Conference in goals scored … Thursday (Mar. 13) Detroit plays its final game outside of the division for the regular season. The Red Wings finish the season with 11 consecutive games against Central Division foes. Detroit is currently 10-9-2 inside the division and 36-9-4 outside the division … Chicago's Patrick Kane leads all NHL rookies with 59 points. Kane and teammate Jonathan Toews ranks No. 3 and No. 2, respectively, among rookies in goals … The division features five goaltenders ranked among the league's top-15 in goals against average with Domink Hasek and Chris Osgood of Detroit sitting No. 1 and No. 2, Pascal Leclaire (Columbus) at No. 6, Manny Legace (St. Louis) at No. 13, and Dan Ellis at No. 14.

Northwest Division
The top four teams in the division are separated by two points … All four, Calgary, Minnesota, Vancouver, and Colorado, currently sit in playoff seeds … Those four teams each plays seven remaining games against the other three, with only one of those match-ups coming in this segment (Colorado at Minnesota on Mar. 17) … Colorado has the best intra-divisional record at 14-7-1, followed by Vancouver at 12-6-5, Calgary at 11-8-4, Minnesota at 11-9-3, and Edmonton at 9-12-2 … Calgary has four road games this segment, including a back-to-back set at Washington and at Atlanta on March 12-13 … Vancouver also has a back-to-back road set on March 12-13 at Anaheim and at Phoenix … Minnesota is home for all three of its games this segment … The Wild have allowed three more goals than they have scored the season, the only team in a Western Conference playoff seed with a negative goals differential.

Pacific Division
The top three teams in the division, San Jose, Dallas, and Anaheim, each rank among the NHL's top-five in points this season … The Sharks enter the segment with a 10-game winning streak dating back to Feb. 21 … Dallas and Los Angeles rank No. 2 and No. 5, respectively, in the Conference in goals scored … San Jose leads the NHL with 25 road victories this season … Phoenix's Peter Mueller leads all NHL rookies with 21 goals … Since Jan. 1, LA's Alexander Frolov has scored 17 goals, tied with San Jose's Jonathan Cheechoo for the most in the Conference since that time.
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