Traffic jam in Pacific Division
How ridiculous is the Pacific Division right now? By the end of tonight, any of three teams — Phoenix, San Jose or the Kings — could be in first place in the division. Phoenix is currently in first place with 69 points, followed by San Jose, Anaheim and Dallas with 68 points and the Kings with 67. Top to bottom, the division is separated by two points. How does that compare to the other five divisions? The next-closest top-to-bottom spread is in the Central Division, in which first-place Detroit leads fifth-place St. Louis by 15 points. The other spreads are 19 points (Southeast), 24 points (Northeast), 32 points (Atlantic) and 41 points (Northwest).
There’s an outside chance that all five Pacific Division teams could make the playoffs. Since the NHL went to its six-division format, that has never happened, and the chances aren’t really that good this season, because the number of intra-division games late in the season might make things difficult. Tonight in relevant games, Nashville hosts Vancouver, Phoenix hosts Atlanta and San Jose hosts Washington.