All of a sudden the Central Division may not have five playoff teams

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The free-falling Nashville Predators have created a possibility that many would have summarily dismissed just a few weeks ago.

Could only four teams from the Central Division make the playoffs?

It’s not just the Preds’ struggles that have us asking this question. In the Pacific Division — the same one that looked so, so terrible just a short time ago — here’s what’s been happening:

— The Arizona Coyotes are 9-2-3 since their December swoon, thanks in large part to unlikely hero Louis Domingue.
–The Anaheim Ducks are on a 7-3-2 run. They even scored a whopping four times last night.
— The San Jose Sharks have won three straight, clearly motivated after being called out on this here blog.
— The Vancouver Canucks are 6-2-2 in their last 10. They’re getting healthier, too.
— The Calgary Flames keep hanging around. They’ve won three of their last five, including last night’s 6-0 drubbing of the Panthers.

Here are the wild-card standings today:

Standings

Here they were a month ago:

Standings3

Still a long ways to go before the postseason, but the landscape has definitely shifted these last few weeks.

Related: The Preds are concerned, and they should be