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Ducks Gameday—Who will be the best third-place team ever?

Anaheim Ducks (46-20-12, 3rd in west) at St. Louis Blues (32-33-12, 10th in west)

Yesterday, with victories by both the Stars (thanks a lot, Detroit!) and Sharks, the Pacific Division became the first division to boast three hundred-point teams this year. Only the Atlantic Division was able to barely accomplish that feat last year (NJD 101, PHI 101, NYR 100); by the end of this season, by comparison, the 3rd place team in the Pacific will probably have more than the 101 points it took New Jersey to win the Atlantic last year.

Currently:

  • Anaheim 46-20-12, 104 points with 4 games remaining
  • Dallas 47-24-6, 100 points with 5 games remaining
  • San Jose 48-26-4, 100 points with 4 games remaining
Huge games remaining:
  • WED: SJS @ ANA (PJ and I will be there!)
  • FRI: ANA @ DAL
And to spice things up, if there’s a tie by season end, SJ will hold the tie-breaker (wins) on DAL, and both will hold the tie-breaker on ANA. Crazy to think how many points it will take to get you a 6th seed in the west.

Speaking of 6th seeds in the west, by the way, it’s about time I regurgitated some data from an old pattern-recognition post: Hope for the 6th-seed
The last three Western Conference Finals have featured a 6th-seeded team that finished the previous year at 12th in the west. Amazingly, twice in three years that 6th seed was the higher seed in the WCF, but in all three years the lower seed has taken the series to advance to the cup finals.

Here are the last three 6th seeds in the west, their previous year’s finish, and their WCF result:

  • 2006 6th seed – Anaheim (previous year 12th), lost to 8th-seeded Edmonton
  • 2004 6th seed – Calgary (previous year 12th), beat 2nd-seeded San Jose
  • 2003 6th seed – Minnesota (previous year 12th), lost to 7th-seeded Anaheim

Over the last three years, the highest seed to emerge from the west was the 6-seed. The lowest seed to emerge from the east was the 2-seed. And still, despite that surface disparity, it’s always come down to a seventh game out east to get a winner.

I tell ya, it’s a tough, tough west…

Prediction: I still want the 2-seed. Ducks 6, Blues 3. Goals by Pronger, Pahlsson, Penner, Getzlaf, and Selanne x2.