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Breaking down the remaining schedules of West's playoff hopefuls

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The All-Star break has come and gone, and from now until early April, it's going to be a dogfight for several clubs to get inside the playoff cutline.

With that in mind, let's break down the remaining schedules of the teams battling for position in the Western Conference. Note that the NHL altered its tiebreaking procedure this season, making regulation wins the No. 1 deciding factor for teams deadlocked in the standings.

Playoff odds are courtesy of Money Puck and change every night, while average points percentage indicates the quality of opponents each team is slated to face for the rest of the season. The higher the rank, the more difficult the schedule.

Here's a look at the standings entering play Thursday.

Team (Record) Points Reg. wins Seed
Blues (31-12-8) 70 24 C1
Avalanche (28-15-6) 62 25 C2
Stars (28-18-4) 60 20 C3
Canucks (29-18-4) 62 23 P1
Flames (27-19-6) 60 17 P2
Oilers (26-18-6) 58 22 P3
Golden Knights (25-20-7) 57 19 WC1
Coyotes (26-21-5) 57 19 WC2
Jets (25-22-4) 54 18 NA
Blackhawks (24-21-6) 54 18 NA

(C = Central Division; P = Pacific Division; WC = wild card)

To see the Eastern Conference breakdown as of Wednesday, click here.

Colorado Avalanche

Current playoff odds: 97.4%
Remaining home-road split: 16-17
Avg. opponent point % (league rank): .526 (31st)

The Avalanche should have no issue making the playoffs, but their stretch run will still be greatly important. Colorado and Dallas are set to duke it out for the No. 2 seed in the Central, with home-ice advantage in the first round being the grand prize. That battle is neck and neck right now, but the Avs have been more consistent over the course of the season, are facing a soft slate of opponents, and own a significant advantage in regulation wins, making them the favorites to come out on top.

Crucial stretch: Colorado will play the easiest schedule in the league from here on out, but three of four games from Feb. 13-19 will come against some of the best teams in the NHL: the Capitals, Lightning, and Islanders.

Dallas Stars

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Current playoff odds: 82.6%
Remaining home-road split: 15-17
Avg. opponent point % (league rank): .552 (22nd)

Dallas is sitting pretty in the playoff picture after a nightmarish start to the season. The Stars lead the NHL in goals against per game (2.45), and that's helped distance them from the pack of trailing teams in the Central.

Crucial stretch: The Stars will play 10 of their 15 February games on the road, where they're just 12-10-2 this season compared to 16-7-2 at home.

Vancouver Canucks

Current playoff odds: 83.5%
Remaining home-road split: 16-15
Avg. opponent point % (league rank): .558 (14th)

The Canucks are one of five teams in the Pacific that will be grinding for position until April. Only five points separate first and fifth place in the division, but Vancouver's in a position of strength, owning the most regulation wins and games in hand on every team but the Oilers. The Canucks have been on a roller-coaster ride all season, so maintaining their recent consistency will be key if they hope to snap a four-year playoff drought.

Crucial stretch: Vancouver will play six games from March 20-28, all against Pacific Division opponents.

Calgary Flames

Current playoff odds: 82.1%
Remaining home-road split: 18-12
Avg. opponent point % (league rank): .541 (28th)

The Flames have played more games than most teams in the Pacific and also lack regulation wins, but a slew of extra home contests and a highly favorable schedule give Calgary solid odds to make the playoffs. It's a different feeling than when the Flames cruised to the division title last year, but they're still very much in control of their own destiny.

Crucial stretch: Although Calgary will play the majority of its remaining schedule at home, a five-game road trip beginning Feb. 23 is the most important chunk of contests the team has left.

Edmonton Oilers

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Current playoff odds: 67.1%
Remaining home-road split: 17-15
Avg. opponent point % (league rank): .559 (T-12th)

Can Edmonton ride Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl all the way to the playoffs? At this point, Money Puck projects that to be the likely outcome, but the league's two leading scorers will need to maintain their pace the rest of the way. The Oilers will also need Mike Smith to stay hot down the stretch, as the veteran netminder is 5-0-2 with a .920 save percentage so far in 2020.

Crucial stretch: Edmonton will play seven games in 12 nights from Feb. 25 through March 7. Such a compact schedule has the potential to make or break their season.

Vegas Golden Knights

Current playoff odds: 71.5%
Remaining home-road split: 14-16
Avg. opponent point % (league rank): .568 (7th)

It's fair to say the Golden Knights have underachieved to this point, but their playoff odds are still pretty good. Based on talent alone, it's easy to see Vegas ultimately pulling away from its competitors and qualifying, but with 53 games played, the club doesn't have much time left.

Crucial stretch: All of March. Out of 14 games in the month, 10 will come against divisional opponents or teams in the wild-card race.

Arizona Coyotes

Current playoff odds: 38.6%
Remaining home-road split: 17-13
Avg. opponent point % (league rank): .559 (t-12th)

Since Vezina candidate Darcy Kuemper went down with an injury, the Coyotes have gone just 6-8-1. Kuemper is easily the club's most important player, but Arizona must find a way to make a run without him after going all-in to end the league's second-longest postseason absence this year.

Crucial stretch: The Coyotes' opponents from Feb. 15-25 are a murderers' row of contenders. Arizona will start with the Capitals before taking on the Islanders, Stars, Blues, Lightning, and Panthers.

Winnipeg Jets

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Current playoff odds: 18.6%
Remaining home-road split: 17-14
Avg. opponent point % (league rank): .569 (5th)

The Jets are still in the West race, but their hopes are waning. A depleted blue line and a number of key injuries up front have caught up to Winnipeg and created an uphill climb. A current four-game losing streak has also cratered the Jets' playoff odds in Money Puck's eyes, but stringing a couple of wins together could get the percentages trending in the other direction. Either way, the clock is ticking.

Crucial stretch: Right now. The Jets need to stop the bleeding immediately, and they'll be tested right after their bye with games against the Bruins, Predators, and Blues (twice) from Jan. 31 until Feb. 6.

Chicago Blackhawks

Current playoff odds: 40.3%
Remaining home-road split: 14-17
Avg. opponent point % (league rank): .556 (19th)

While the Jets are sliding, a recent hot streak suddenly has the Blackhawks within three points of a surprise playoff spot. Chicago had won five in a row before a loss heading into its break, but that recent success may not be sustainable. The Blackhawks own fewer regulation wins than both teams right below them in the standings and rank 28th in expected goals rate at five-on-five (46.66%). Chicago has certainly made things interesting, but this team is likely not built to last.

Crucial stretch: The Blackhawks will embark on a five-game road trip from Feb. 9-16, during which they'll only face teams directly above them in the standings. In order, Chicago will play the Jets, Oilers, Canucks, Flames, and then the Jets again during that stretch.

Breaking down the remaining schedules of West's playoff hopefuls
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