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The Wild, Wild (North)West

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Here we go again. The latest hot Northwest team is the Calgary Flames, who just won their 6th straight. With this streak, four of the five NW teams have had winning streaks of 4 games or more. No other division has more than two.

As of this morning, just 5 points seperate the NW division from the top (Calgary) to the bottom (um, us). That's the lowest differential in hockey (the Rangers and Sharks already hold double-digit leads over the Islanders and Kings). And it's not a surprise - the NW first-to-last differential has been tight since the lockout. In '05-'06, it was 19 points - lowest in the league (the next closest margin was 31). In '06-'07, the Oilers failed to keep pace, and the NW's 34-point differential was 2nd to the Southeast division. Last year, of course, it was a meager 10 points with all 5 teams in playoff contention until the very late stages of the season.

Top to bottom, the Northwest has been very good post-lockout.

  1. Calgary, 308 points
  2. Minnesota, 301
  3. Vancouver, 297
  4. Colorado, 295
  5. Edmonton, 265

The 1,466 total points is the 2nd best division in  the NHL:

  1. Northeast, 1,491
  2. Northwest, 1,466
  3. Pacific, 1,455
  4. Atlantic, 1,429
  5. Central, 1,388
  6. Southeast, 1,350

and, of course, the 43 points between the best team (Calgary) and worst (Edmonton) is the lowest in the league:

  1. Northwest, +43
  2. Southeast, +59
  3. Atlantic, +67
  4. Northeast, +70
  5. Pacific, +98
  6. Central, +141

Although Edmonton's 265 post-lockout points is the lowest by NW standards, they would have been 3rd best in the Central and 4th best in the Atlantic and Pacific.

There's a long way to go this year, of course. And it sure looks to be shaping up to be another wild ride.