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2018 NHL Playoffs Projections & Analysis
At the start of the season, AccuScore predicted 8 teams in each conferences would reach the playoffs, so let’s take a look how season has progressed so far and AccuScore's projections of the final stretch of the regular season.
When comparing the Eastern Conference predictions to current standings, six teams predicted to reach playoffs are currently within the top 8: Tampa Bay, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia and Columbus. With a strong start to the season, New Jersey surprised the projections. Even though they are currently sitting on the edge, it looks like they will make the playoffs this year.
Boston has discovered the form it had a few years ago. The Bruins are cruising to the playoffs and are prepared for a long run in the playoffs. These two teams were not projected to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, but right now, the season simulations show them as being Stanley Cup Finals contenders.
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In the Western Conference, the season has been a bit more unpredictable with high flying teams from a year ago like the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks are currently on the wrong side of the playoffs line. In the predictions before the season five out of eight teams predicted to reach playoffs are currently going to the postseason: Nashville, Winnipeg, San Jose, Anaheim and Dallas.
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Los Angeles and Minnesota are current playoffs teams, which isn't a shock to the system because they were both predicted to be in the playoffs battle before the season. However, the Las Vegas Golden Knights have played beyond any expectations. They are almost sure winners of their division and with the way they have played this season, success during the postseason is not out of the question.
Season simulations show that all 8 teams currently in line for the postseason will continue to the playoffs. The toughest competition will be between the Los Angeles Kings (65% probability to reach playoffs) and the Colorado Avalanche (38% probability to reach playoffs). More detailed article about the playoffs probabilities can be found here.