The NHL's Easter Conference got off to a terrible start against their Western counterparts, and much has been made of the disparity in talent between the two groups. By what margin is the West better than the East I'm not sure, but I suspect that much of this consensus stems from the rather glaring difference in point totals between the two conferences. The advent of the "Bettman point" muddies the water a bit in that there could conceivably be more ties in one conference than another over short stretches, but by and large, people seem to have stuck with this type of assessment.
Recently, I couldn't help but notice several Eastern teams stringing together wins while on the road against the West and wondered if there was any broader trend to it. I looked at all the inter-conference games this season and as it turns out, there is. Look at the point share percentages of each month this season:
|P% West||P% East|
The East has been clawing its way back to respectability ever since the beginning of the season. A poor start seems to have put quite a bit of distance between the two groups, but that is gradually eroding. I suspect that it won't disappear entirely, even over the course of the season, but it's not like the conference Corsi numbers are so different. The West has a cumulative Corsi of 50.6% while the East has 49.4%. Really, that's not a big difference.
While the West has been so far more dominant than usual this season, it's entirely possible that small sample sizes have once again fooled us into thinking there was more there than there actually is. Of course, maybe the West goes on a tear for the last half of the season and the East looks goes back to looking terrible, but I suppose we'll see.