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NHL Western Conference Scores And Standings: Parity? Well ... Sometimes

Recap Of Wednesday's Western Conference Games:

Columbus Blue Jackets 4 @ New York Islanders 3. A close overtime win and the Blue Jackets continue rolling in the contested central division. They are just above the St. Louis Blues and riding right along with ... the Detroit Red Wings? Holy crap! The shutout of the Sharks doesn't look so bad at this point.

Detroit Red Wings 1 @ Atlanta Thrashers 5. Well, that is something. The Thrashers picked a good time to play a complete game for the first time this season when the Red Wings came to town. Detroit now sits with the aforementioned Blue Jackets riding shotgun in the Central Division. Ondrej Pavelec was solid, with 32 of 33 saves made.

Los Angeles Kings 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 4. I hope you feel better about yourselves, Sharks fans. You drew blood on the Kings and they've been unable to recover ever since. They've lost five of their last six, with the first of that six being in San Jose. On Wednesday, Montreal continued their streak against the Kings and made it six victories in a row against them. Jonathan Bernier, in net to relieve Jonathan Quick, gave up 4 goals on 33 shots. The Kings sit behind the Coyotes in the Pacific Division and sixth in the Western Conference. San Jose sits at eighth.

Dallas Stars 2 @ Ottawa Senators 1. Dallas righted a two-game losing skid to keep themselves afloat in the division and conference standings. They are one point behind San Jose and sit at fourth in the Pacific Division with the win over the Sens. Credit Brenden Morrow for the win as he notched the go-ahead goal early in the third and was instrumental in them holding the lead throughout. Or maybe you should credit Mike Ribeiro, who worked the puck magnificently to where it needed to be. Morrow's just a biter.

Calgary Flames 1 @ New Jersey Devils 2. Ilya Kovalchuk was the only successful goal in the shootout as the Devils beat the Flames. Beautiful shot, a wrister high to the glove side that Henrik Karlsson never had a chance to stop, losing in his first career shutout. The Flames are sitting at fourth in the Northwest Division, 14th in the Western Conference, and need a turnaround very quick here.

St. Louis Blues 2 @ Nashville Predators 1. Well, the Blues won the game they needed to, so they could keep it close in the Central Division, behind both Columbus and Detroit. Unfortunately for St. Louis, those two teams don't look to be slowing down any time soon. Fortunately for St. Louis, they sit at fifth in the Western Conference standings and control their own fate.

Philadelphia Flyers 6 @ Minnesota Wild 1. Show of hands for those of us who saw this coming? I thought so. The Flyers got it done, annihilating the poor Wild along the way. Danny Briere, Andreas Nodi and Ville Leino were all good for a goal and an assist. The Wild fall further from first and second place in the Northwest Division and will need to turn things around.

Colorado Avalanche 2 @ Vancouver Canucks 4. The Avalanche's rise through the Northwest Division was halted Wednesday when the Canucks bested them to the tune of 4-2. Now the two teams share the top and control their own destinies. It was a good game, though. Ryan Kesler notched the game winner in the third period before Vancouver got themselves an insurance goal to go up two. Roberto Luongo stopped 21-of-23. Craig Anderson was pulled after a groin injury and Peter Budaj gave up three goals on only 12 shots in the final forty minutes of play.

Going Forward

It's Turkey Day in America, which means there's not a lot of hockey today. But there is some more Western Conference action, as the Avalanche take on the Oilers.

Colorado Avalanche @ Edmonton Oilers, 6:00 p.m. PST. They've just dropped one to the Canucks after a four-game win streak, but have an easier test in the Oilers and can take sole position of the division if they win. Should be a good one, if you like one-sided beatdowns.