Jump to content
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Western Conference takes the NHL by Storm!




I might get a lot of flak for this, but California is not a state necessarily known for ice hockey. As a native, I feel I have the right to say this. But this season, the left coasters are giving the reigning ‘Hawks a run for their money.

San Jose is known for its physical, hard-fought games often leading to a shootout; they are third in the league with shootout wins. Veterans Thornton, Pavelski and Marleau are crucial reasons the Sharks have built something so solid and successful, with all of them ranked in the top 25 of all league skaters. San Jose has consistently made it into the first round of playoffs for the past nine seasons, but have yet to break down the Finals door. I would imagine that the vets are out to prove something as their careers have affirmatively reached their peak. On another note, the team’s intensity may also be their worst enemy if it wears them down early in the playoffs.

Anaheim is steam-rolling through at first place in the league. Shutting out the Kings in front of a sold out crowd at Dodger Stadium was testament to the level of play they’ve executed all season. Although their recent shutout loss to the Stars was disappointing, it was the first time it had happened since March 27th of last year. The Ducks’ top line of Getzlaf-Perry-Penner is arguably the best in the league, and with Hiller backing them in net, it’s obvious why they have a near-perfect home record. The Ducks are the team to watch, and it should be an exciting battle for Western champs as the next couple months approach.

With healthy Jonathan Quick as their goaltender, the Kings are still in the game, albeit barely hanging on. January was a rough go for the SoCal team, touting an intense schedule that opponents were able to take advantage of. Los Angeles does led the league in goals against, and are still in the top ten overall. Their primary problem is scoring goals; points don’t just appear and several players have expressed desperation. Forward Dustin Brown was recently named Alternate Captain for the U.S. Olympic team so he may have a renewed sense of leadership that can turn the boys around.

Let’s not kid ourselves; the Blackhawks are still a mighty bunch. As steady contenders in the stronger conference, I would be placing bets on Jonathan Toews to carry his team deep into the chase for the Stanley Cup. As proven this week though, defense and goal-tending, especially late in the game – will cost them wins to grittier teams like San Jose. Chicago is determined to defend their title and have proven they want it with the fewest regulation losses in the league. They will need to keep their momentum if they want another parade.

Lastly, the Blues are an offensively solid team that is tinkering on playoff likelihood. Even while recovering from a concussion, forward Alexander Steen still leads the team with goals, and St. Louis is third overall. Their recent inconsistency may hinder their long rush capability, but they are definitely not out of the running just yet. Will Steen’s participation in the Olympics cost them, though?

It will be interesting to see which best of the West surface in the next couple of months. It really is anyone’s game and that’s what the Cup is all about.

Written by Inside Edge Hockey News Writer - Stephanie Silva



Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...