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NHL Playoff Picture: Feb. 24, 2018

AS the playoffs draw closer, Sideline Intel will be taking a closer look at each conference and which teams have moved the most over the past week, as well as which teams to watch out for over the coming weeks.

Eastern Conference

Biggest mover: Philadelphia Flyers-

In the month of February the Flyers have been on a tear, winning all but three games in the entire month and are 9-0-1 in their last ten.

Even though the Flyers have only moved up one spot in the standings over the past week (sixth to fifth), Philly has looked good on the ice and shows no signs of slowing down.

Keeping on this pace would certainly give the Flyers a shot at the number one seed in the East, however the more likely outcome is ending up with the three or four seed in the playoffs.

This might be a tough match up for Philadelphia so look for the team to add another piece before the trade deadline on Monday.

Team to watch: Pittsburgh Penguins-

After yesterday’s trade the Pens seem to be all geared up for the playoffs and done making moves before the deadline.

It will be interesting to see how much of an impact Brassard has on his new team and if he can help them break the Atlantic division’s stranglehold on the top three playoff spots in the East.

To their credit, the Pens have looked good recently even without Brassard as they are 8-1-1 in their last ten, and have won their last six in a row to move into the fourth spot in the playoffs.

If everything works well for the Penguins then this team will start to hit its stride around early April, just about the time the playoffs are set to begin.

Western Conference

Biggest Mover: Minnesota Wild-

After the first three teams in the Western Conference we are witnessing one of the most competitive and one of the largest playoff races in recent memory. As it stands now, there are eight teams within six points of the first four playoff spots.

Point being, the Wild have moved up from seventh to fourth in the standings, but are only three points away from being out of the playoffs but are 6-2-2 in their last ten.

Minnesota certainly has a good team as the Wild picked up 106 points last season, so a late push toward a top three seed is not out of the question for them.

Much like the Flyers, it would be wise to keep an eye on them as we near the trade deadline because adding one or two players could push Minnesota from a projected early round exit to a potential Cup contender.

Team to Watch: Vegas Golden Knights-

This whole season has been one to watch for the Knights who are blowing even the most outlandish pre-season predictions out of the water with their play this year.

The Knights are still first in the West and seem to be breaking a new expansion team record every week with their league leading 86 points and counting.

For Vegas I think it will be interesting to not only keep an eye on them on the ice, but also see what the team does leading into the trade deadline.

While the Knights certainly do not need anything, I think the team might try to add an extra piece to push them over the top to increase their chances of making it to the Cup when the calendar turns to April.

 

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