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Power Rankings: Presidents Cup in play but offers no assurances

by | NHL Blogger
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The Canucks are battling the Blues for the top seed in the Western Conference. (Getty Images)  
The Canucks are battling the Blues for the top seed in the Western Conference. (Getty Images)  

As we head into the final week of the regular season, we have a pretty good idea as to which teams are going to be in the playoffs and the biggest questions that remain are what order they're going to finish and what seed they will get for the postseason.

In the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers have the No. 1 spot in the playoffs pretty much locked up with a five-point lead over the Penguins with only three games to play.

In the Western Conference, Vancouver and St. Louis are still in a back-and-forth race for the top spot. Both are in the running with the Rangers for the President's Trophy, awarded to the team that finishes the regular season with the most points.

Every team wants to get these top spots, but recent history suggests that seeding, to an extent, can be a bit overrated. Since the start of the 2005-06 season, a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference has never reached the Stanley Cup Finals. You have to go all the way back to the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning to find the most recent No. 1 team in the East to reach the finals, and they're the only ones over the past nine years.

Overall, between both conferences, only four of the past 18 Stanley Cup finalists have been a No. 1 seed, and only three of them won the President's Trophy.

More important than getting the No. 1 overall seed is to simply finish somewhere in the top-four. Over the aforementioned time period the Stanley Cup finalists have broken down as follows by seed: 1) four, 2) six, 3) two, 4) two, 5) zero, 6) one, 7) two, 8) one.

Top-four seeds account for 14. Bottom-four seeds account for just four.

The Rangers, Canucks or Blues may finish at the top of their respective conferences, but that doesn't guarantee anything come playoff time.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)
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