March 18 2008 06:45PM
Making predictions is about the easiest way there is to look like a blockhead. Then again, the flipside is that once in a blue moon you get lucky and come off like a genius, a puck clairvoyant. I'm willing to roll the dice on either possibility by laying out how I see the playoff race in the Western Conference unfolding. Specifically, how it'll go for the six teams, including the Oilers, who are battling for the final three spots.
The top five teams in the Western Conference will be Detroit, San Jose, Minnesota, Anaheim and Dallas, with the only the order to be decided. I know, how bold.
That leaves Calgary, Vancouver, Colorado, Nashville, Edmonton and Phoenix, all separated by just seven points going into action tonight, dicing for sixth, seventh and eighth.
OK, OK, the fine people of Columbus would like it known they're good enough, at the very least, to vault over Phoenix when all is said and done. They're probably right, but I'm not laying out all the remaining games for the Blue Jackets. Here's how it looks to me. Or not...
RIGHT NOW (6:45pm Tuesday)
6. Calgary 37-25-10 for 84 points 7. Vancouver 37-26-10 for 84 points 8. Colorado 39-29-6 for 84 points 9. Nashville 36-29-8 for 80 points 10. Edmonton 36-32-5 for 77 points 11. Phoenix 36-32-5 for 77 points
March 18. at CBJ WIN OT 20. COL WIN OT 22. MIN LOSS 24. at COL LOSS 25. VAN WIN 29. EDM LOSS 30. at VAN LOSS OT
April 1. at EDM WIN OT 3. at MIN LOSS 5. at VAN WIN RECORD 5-4-1
March 20. at EDM LOSS OT 21. MIN LOSS 25. at CGY LOSS 25. at CGY LOSS 26. at COL WIN OT 28. at MIN WIN 30. CGY WIN OT
April 1. COL WIN 3. EDM LOSS OT 5. CGY LOSS RECORD 4-4-2
March 20. at CGY LOSS OT 22. at EDM LOSS 24 CGY WIN 26. VAN LOSS OT 28 EDM WIN 30 at MIN LOSS
April 1. at VAN LOSS 6. MIN WIN RECORD 3-3-2
March 18. WSH LOSS 20 DET LOSS 22 CHI WIN 25 CBJ WIN 28 at CBJ LOSS OT 30 at DET LOSS
April 1. at STL LOSS 3. STL WIN 4. at CHI LOSS OT RECORD 3-4-2
March 18. PHO WIN 20. VAN WIN OT 22. COL WIN 24. MIN WIN 26 at MIN LOSS 28. at COL LOSS 29. at CGY WIN
April 1. CGY LOSS OT 3. at VAN WIN OT RECORD 6-2-1
March 18 at EDM LOSS 20. LA WIN 22. ANA LOSS 25 SJ LOSS 27 at LA WIN 30. at SJ LOSS
April 3. DAL WIN 4. at DAL LOSS OT 6 at ANA LOSS RECORD 3-5-1
AFTER 82 GAMES
6. Calgary 42-29-11 for 95 points 7. Vancouver 41-30-12 for 94 points 8. Colorado 42-32-8 for 92 points 9. Edmonton 42-34-6 for 90 points 10. Nashville 39-33-10 for 88 points 11. Phoenix 39-37-6 for 84 points
—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5 pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.