NHL Playoff Picture: Capitals, Stars Sit Atop East, West At Holiday Break

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December 23, 2015

Wednesday marked the beginning of winter vacation in the NHL.

From Dec. 23 through Christmas Day, no games will be played as players around the league receive some time off to enjoy the holidays with their families.

So, while the season has not yet reached its halfway point, this seemed like a good time to take an early peek at what the Stanley Cup playoffs would look like if the postseason began today. (Keep in mind that some teams have played more games than others.)

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic Division
1) Montreal Canadiens (43 points)
2) Boston Bruins (42 points)
3) Florida Panthers (42 points)

Metropolitan Division
1) Washington Capitals (52 points)
2) New York Rangers (44 points)
3) New York Islanders (43 points)

Wild cards
1) Detroit Red Wings (Atlantic, 41 points)
2) Ottawa Senators (Atlantic, 40 points)

First-round matchups
(M1) Capitals vs. (W2) Senators
(A1) Canadiens vs. (W1) Red Wings
(M2) Rangers vs. (M3) Islanders
(A2) Bruins vs. (A3) Panthers

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Central Division
1) Dallas Stars (54 points)
2) St. Louis Blues (46 points)
3) Chicago Blackhawks (44 points)

Pacific Division
1) Los Angeles Kings (42 points)
2) San Jose Sharks (36 points)
3) Vancouver Canucks (35 points)

Wild cards
1) Minnesota Wild (Central, 42 points)
2) Nashville Predators (Central, 40 points)

First-round matchups
(C1) Stars vs. (W2) Predators
(P1) Kings vs. (W1) Wild
(C2) Blues vs. (C3) Blackhawks
(P2) Sharks vs. (P3) Canucks

Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin
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