Where we sit
Is it time for a playoff race yet?
We're starting to see some balancing out now, with teams like San Jose, Anaheim, Atlanta and Nashville all starting to push into the playoff positions.
Other clubs, like the Central Division's equivalent of the Three Stooges, are sliding, and it's really going to be over the next 20 games or so where we'll see if they can hang in the playoff race. My guess is only one of Columbus/Chicago/St. Louis will be in the hunt come February.
For the teams right at the bottom, however, it's probably time to panic. Or at least soon.
Buffalo's on pace for a 63-point season, and Pittsburgh and Calgary haven't been much better. It's interesting that so far the eighth playoff spot is a pretty reachable 87 points, something that's skewed by the fact Ottawa and Detroit have been gobbling up all the points.
Washington, Phoenix and Edmonton are essentially out of the mix at this point, barring a sudden five-game win streak. Florida needs to start winning some games, and New Jersey is going to be lucky to squeak in with the problems they've had defensively under Brent Sutter.
Things are starting to get interesting.