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Behind the Numbers: The Wild West, Who Do you Fear? Part 2

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Ok! It seems like we had 'technical difficulties' last time.{ Or, every Phoenix Coyotes relative somehow voted}. Let's try again. We want to know, "Which team (other than Vancouver) is the favorite to win the West?! And, for a quick summary of what the numbers say continue after the jump. And for a detailed look behind the numbers check here. {A look at Canuck chances coming in the next post!}

Team: Los Angeles

Why they can win?

  • Surprisingly high puck possession numbers {4th in the league}
  • Starting to score after the trade deadline - defense/goaltending is rock solid
  • Playoff success/experience {Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and coach Daryl Sutter}

Why the can't win?

  • Will not score enough and Jeff Carter injury a big blow
  • Potential west coast travel schedule nightmare especially if they finish 7th or 8th.

Team : Detroit

Why they can win?

  • Playoff success/experience {cup winners everywhere}
  • Outstanding on home ice including breaking the league record
  • Depth scoring at the forward position
  • Great puck possession numbers again {of course, they invented the stat :) }

Why they can't win?

  • Injuries to key players; are they healthy? And, are they ready for a long playoff grind? { Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Jimmy Howard, Dan Cleary etc}
  • Road record is below average and it looks like they will start the first round on the road.
  • Goaltender Jimmy Howard is unproven and also has had an injury.

Team: St. Louis

Why they can win?

  • Great 5 on 5 team {especially if refs throw away the whistle come playoffs}
  • Top puck possession team
  • Great home ice record
  • Coach knows how to get it done!

Why they can't win?

  • Not quite enough scoring
  • Overall lack of playoff experience/success
  • Play hard every night - Have they peaked too early?

Team Nashville:

Why they can win?

  • Goal scoring has improved
  • Have two defense studs (Shea Weber, and Ryan Suter) who can play 25+ minutes a game
  • New additions ad skill, experience and depth {Paul Gaustad, Hal Gill, Alexander Radulov}

Why they can't win?

  • Puck possession number still remarkably low {29th in league}
  • 5 on 5 goal differential not dominant
  • Very little playoff experience/success

Team Chicago :

Why they can win?

  • Offense still cup worthy
  • Puck possession number still strong
  • Playoff experience/success, a recent cup winner

Why they can't win?

  • Goaltending as bad as ever
  • Health status of their leader ; Jonathan Toews still in doubt
  • No defensive depth after Duncan 'cheap shot' Keith and Keith Seabrook

Team San Jose :

Why they can win?

  • Still lead the league in all 'shots for' categories { 5 on 5 and power play}
  • The return of top forward Martin Havlat a real boost
  • Size matters - one of the league's biggest teams

Why they can't win?

  • Goal scoring is surprisingly down
  • Goaltending {Anti Nemni is spotty at best}
  • Sorry! Their 'window to win' is officially closed

Team : Dallas

Why they can win?

  • full of underrated players {Stephan Robidos, ,Kari Lehtenon},
  • has a gritty, tough to play against playoff-type players - Brenden Morrow,Steve Ott

Why they can't win?

  • Happy to be there mentality
  • Little playoff experience/success
  • Goal Differential just not strong enough

Team Phoenix:

  • strong down the middle
  • Full of young underrated unheralded players
  • May catch teams taking them lightly

Why they can't win?

  • Little home ice advantage due to small fan base
  • Goal scoring stats not yet Cup worthy
  • Gary Bettman would have to congratulate himself {as team owner} for winning.

Tell us, What do you think?

We will break down the Canucks chances in depth in the next post!