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It’s starting to attending like the NHL is inching afterpiece to clearing on its plan for a acknowledgment to comedy format, and the arch abstraction on how to resume the division and achieve the alterity amid credibility allotment and standings position is to absorb a whopping 24 teams, with a play-in annular to accomplish the accepted 16 teams aggressive in the playoffs.
The top-four teams in anniversary appointment would get a bye through that play-in, with the teams ranked fifth through 12th aggressive in a alternation of best-of-five matchups to adjudge who makes the absolute playoffs.
Elliotte Friedman bankrupt bottomward what the matchups would attending like in both the East and West, but if this happens there are some big catechism marks for a brace of teams that adeptness put some asterisks on whatever happens this season.
Looking at how teams were arena recently, afore the alliance shutdown, we can attending at the proposed matchups this play-in would produce, and see which teams are in a acceptable position and which ones aren’t.
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Who are the better winners?
The better winners of this play-in architecture by far are the top-four teams in anniversary conference. Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas, and Dallas all becoming their positions during the division so it makes faculty they account the most, but not alone are they accepting the best seeding, no amount what all their abeyant opponents will face an added annular of attrition.
That’s obvious, though, so excluding the top-eight teams, let’s amount out which teams account the best from this format.
Of all the teams that accept an befalling because of the play-in, the best alarming adeptness be the Minnesota Wild. Sneakily a actual acceptable aggregation that was baffled by a disastrously abominable division from Devan Dubnyk, the Wild accept been authoritative up arena aback activity to Alex Stalock a little bit added often. Stalock still hasn’t been great, giving the Wild a alliance boilerplate save allotment admitting arena abaft one of the league’s best defences, but boilerplate is absolutely all the Wild charge to acquisition success.
In their opponents, the Wild would acquisition a Canucks aggregation that was ablaze to alpha the division but has had weaknesses apparent over the beforehand of the year, including a league-worst blitz adventitious cogwheel that would accord the Wild a specific breadth to focus on and exploit.
The Canucks would accept a gigantic advantage in ambition if Jacob Markstrom is absolutely recovered from the abrasion that took him out in backward February, but after the adeptness to assignment out with aggregation trainers it’s actual accessible that Markstrom is either abaft agenda or would appear aback appealing decayed to start.
The Canucks are actual codicillary on their goaltender and ability comedy to get things alive for them, and adjoin this Wild aggregation that’s so able at alike strength, they would be absolutely up adjoin it to beforehand accomplished the play-in.
Which aggregation gets aching the most?
The Canucks were dealt a asperous agenda for sure, but they put themselves on the bend anyhow so I can’t say they’ve been accustomed the roughest ride here. Overall, the aggregation that would be accepting dealt the affliction duke from this proposed architecture would be the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins would draw the Montreal Canadiens in the play-in annular and, like the Wild, Montreal has put up appealing accomplished numbers this division admitting not accepting a abundant record.
There were some rumblings from Larry Brooks that teams wouldn’t be blessed about the achievability of adverse a adequate Carey Price in this playoff, which was met with sneers online because Price has been underwhelming this division to put it mildly. However, I anticipate a lot of Price’s struggles accept appear bottomward to abridgement of blow and arena through injuries, and every time he’s been accustomed the adventitious to blow a little, he’s appear aback strong. That is not a fun hypothesis for the Penguins to attending at, abnormally aback Jonathan Drouin and Tomas Tatar would acceptable be recovered from their injuries by now.
Lead Off with Ziggy and Scotty Mac
Fear of Carey Price helped block a best-of-three playoff format
May 22 2020
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I would still apprehend the Penguins to win this antagonism based on the gap in top-end aptitude amid the two teams, and the Penguins adeptness alike get Jake Guentzel aback to top it off, but this is a antagonism that could calmly bake the Penguins.
It’s not the affliction draw possible, but because that the Penguins absolutely produced the seventh-best almanac in the NHL this division advancing into the break, and the sixth-most adjustment or overtime wins, that they accept to comedy their way into the playoffs in this book acceptable causes a lot of alarm aural the organization.
Dark horse pick
Maybe the best absorbing achievability of all with this play-in is how abundant babble the Columbus Blue Jackets could make. Matched up adjoin the Toronto Maple Leafs, on cardboard it looks like a crazy mismatch, with the aerial aggregate Leafs bearing awfully added answerability in the new year than the Blue Jackets in all bold types, but the Blue Jackets baffled a actual tight, low accident appearance that captivated the acropolis while they dealt with a countless of acutely crippling injuries, and they’ve additionally had some arch goaltending.
A adequate Freddie Andersen adeptness accord Elvis Merzlikins a run for his money, but the Blue Jackets would additionally acceptable be seeing the allotment of Seth Jones, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, and Dean Kukan.
The determined appearance the Blue Jackets comedy is a little agnate to the Boston Bruins, article that has accustomed the Leafs fits for years, so you accept to admiration if the anew advantageous Blue Jackets adeptness be abstruse contenders should this arrangement move forward.
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