Note: This is being written on Monday, before the Kings play the Predators. Don't be a dick about it.
As was discussed last week, trying to make sense of the Western Conference playoff bubble is quite lobotomizing. It causes people to reference Karl Marx and pubic hair. Not good. On Goal Analysis has a post called "Solving the West" that will make your brain throb.
So, instead, we'll just present a few facts and let you try to deduce what you'd like (not recommended, what with highly probable head wounds). Here's a look at the week ahead for the playoff bubble teams.
For the sake of sanity, we'll put Columbus and Vancouver in the "Nothing is fucked, dude" category and start with Dallas.
7. Dallas Stars (13 games remaining, 33-28-8 for 74 points. Five games at home, 8 on the road)
Rumor has it the Stars might get Brad Richards back in the next week or so. They're going to need him. This week, the Stars go on an absolutely brutal three-game road trip at Vancouver tomorrow, then to Calgary on Wednesday and San Jose on Thursday.
It would be a fantastic trip if the Stars could pull four points out of those three games, one would think.
8. Edmonton Oilers (14 games remaining, 32-27-9 for 73 points. Eight games at home, six on the road.)
The Oilers have consistently been the team that inspires confidence in these updates, although that has more to do with their relatively decent schedule than with any superior talent. They host St. Louis and then play in Colorado and at Chicago this week.
9. Nashville Predators (13 games remaining, 34-30-5 for 73 points. Five games at home, eight on the road.)
It seems like the Predators need to get better at losing. While their 34 wins are greater than Edmonton and Dallas's totals, they've lost more often in regulation and currently see themselves at number nine. The Preds also play quite a bit more on the road and have no games in hand on the Oilers. They're a scrappy bunch, though.
The Predators will be the enemy of California the next two weeks, as they tour the state (at LA tonight, at Anaheim Wednesday and San Jose Thursday) in the next four days.
It will be interesting to see if Nashville can stay out of the Phoenix/Colorado dead zone.
10. St. Louis Blues (13 games remaining, 32-29-8 for 72 points. Four games at home, nine on the road)
With exactly one home game in April, the Blues will probably be put to death during the final stretch. This week will be a lot like April, as they have three road games against teams that would be in the playoffs right now, with a game at Edmonton and then a back to back against Vancouver and Calgary. Thanks for trying, St. Louis. You're fucked.
11. Minnesota Wild (13 games remaining, 32-29-8 for 72 points. Six games at home, seven on the road)
While scheduling concerns made me promote Edmonton, the Wild have been whipping boys with their brutal schedule. With only one more road game than home game remaining, the Wild might be ... out of the wilderness (ugh) to some extent. But they still should miss the playoffs.
This is a light week, with a home game against Colorado and a probable slaughter in New Jersey.
12. Anaheim Ducks (13 games remaining, 33-28-8 for 70 points. Six games at home, seven on the road)
Well, at least the Ducks don't have to worry about games in hand so much anymore. Of course, sitting in 12th place means a lot of other teams aren't particularly worried about the Ducks. The Ducks host the Predators on Wednesday and then play in Phoenix on Thursday. Could the Duckies waddle* a little closer to eight place with a couple wins this week?
* Please forgive me.