Prior to advancing to the first all-Pacific Western Conference final in league history, Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney took some time to rep his division.
“Unlike every other division in the NHL, there are no weak teams in the Pacific. Look at the two Pacific Division clubs who missed the playoffs: after a poor start to the season, Anaheim had one of the best records in the league for 3-4 months and only faded at the very end of the season. Dallas won 11 games in a row in March and barely missed the postseason.
“You could certainly argue the Atlantic and Central divisions were strong this year. However, top to bottom, you never go into a game against a Pacific Division opponent expecting an easy night, which speaks volumes to the division’s strength and depth.”
Maloney’s got a point…sorta.
Balance was a big part of the Pacific this year. It was the only division to have three 90-plus point teams and none with less than 80, though the Atlantic came awfully close (the Rangers, Pens, Flyers and Devils all were 100-plus and the Isles had 79.)
Of course, head-to-head matchups tell a different story.
Atlantic vs. Pacific this year: 18-8-6
Pacific vs. Atlantic: 14-10-8
Central vs. Pacific this year: 56-39-5
Pacific vs. Central: 44-47-9