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Over half of Canadian based teams poised to miss 2014 playoffs

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It may be way too early to suggest the season may already be over for several Canadian teams but I'm going to anyway. The stats paint a pretty clear picture even at this relatively early point in the season. Recent history shows that teams five points back or more in December simply don't make it. Evidence of this reality surfaced today with the Flames unloading their General Manager Jay Feaster. In a league where 3 points are awarded all too often, it is nearly impossible to make up significant ground even while playing at a plus .600 clip.

The Canucks, on the back of a five game win streak have pulled themselves back into the bottom end of the playoff picture in the West but most teams around them have several games in hand so they will need to keep the winning steak going for a while yet to have any sense of post season security. To move up, they will have to record regulation wins against Pacific rivals.

Back East, the Habs are, or were the hottest team in the NHL until they played a real team from out West. The Kings hammered the Canadiens 6 – 0 the other day and once again reinforced the troubling disparity between East and West. Regardless, if their goal tending remains as strong as it has been, they should draw in to a playoff spot in the weak East. As for the Ontario teams, the Leafs have slipped but are still in eighth four points clear of the ninth place Rangers after equal games. Ottawa is out and on the bubble at best as they sit five points back of Toronto with no games in hand. They will need a few winning streaks to close the gap but if they don't start making up ground soon, the playoffs are doubtful.

Heading back West we have the bottom dwellers with virtually zero chance of a post-season appearance in 2014 with three of the bottom four spots occupied by Canadian based teams. I’ll save the gory details except to say that the closest team, Winnipeg, is eight points back of the last playoff spot but have played three more games than eighth place Colorado. The way this season is shaping up, if Vancouver doesn't sustain the improved results of late, no Canadian team will make the playoffs out West while back East, only Montreal looks safe right now.

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