With so much on the line each and every week in the NHL, teams in the Central Division are fighting for every point in order to have a better chance of making the playoffs. Time to go inside the Central Division by recapping the week that was.
NHL Central Division Notebook
Success Breathes Winning
What a road trip for the St. Louis Blues. Despite losing in Calgary, the Blues were able to pick up four points on their Western Canadian road trip. To the surprise of many Jaden Schwartz continues to amaze each and every night. Another player that is turning heads for the Blues is Brayden Schenn. Since being traded from Philadelphia to St. Louis, Schenn has found nothing but success. Many are hoping that Schenn’s run can continue as the games become more important for the Blues. With a big home-stand coming up, the Blues hope they can extend their lead over teams in the Central Division.
Canada’s Best Team
The best team in Canada is the Winnipeg Jets. For many that is hard to believe considering the start, they had to their season. Now the Jets have won six in a row and are four points back of the St. Louis Blues. Patrik Laine is on fire. Every since ripping himself in the media, Laine has recorded nine points (six goals and three assists) over this current winning streak. This shows great maturity from a player at this young of an age. Laine knows in order for the Jets to be successful, he needs to be a vital role in the offense. Another player having a career year is Blake Wheeler. The captain of the Winnipeg Jets leads the team in points with 25 and is proving to be a leader on and off the ice.
Status Quo in Music City
Nashville finds itself right in the middle of the pack in the Central Division. The Predators had a nice little week for themselves winning two of three games picking up four points. During the week, Nashville went 1-1 in division games. Nashville got a spark from a struggling player during the week as Ryan Johansen scored his first goal of the season. During the first 16 games, Johansen had registered zero goals and 8 assists, now Johansen has a goal and 10 assists through 19 games. The Predators are hoping that he can continuing scoring goals now that he has broken his goalless streak. Johansen will be vital for the Predators and their offense if they want any chance of contending this season.
Making Some Noise
There is noise coming from the Chicago Blackhawks. Only nine points out from the top spot in the division, Chicago has won two games in a row against two tough teams. Chicago defeated the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Coming off a tough loss to the Devils, Chicago was able to show the heart of a champion and defeat two teams with playoff hopes. While Patrick Kane still amazes on the ice, players like Alex DeBrincat and Jonathan Toews are finally starting to play up to the levels they are capable of after slow starts. For Toews, it is important for him to be a part of the offense. If Toews can contribute more offensively, the pressure will come off Kane and his linemates to produce in each game.
Bottom of the Barrel
– Colorado is still facing an uphill climb as the season progresses. The Avalanche have come back to Earth after having such a strong start to the season. Despite picking up points in two of three games the Avalanche find themselves still near the bottom of the division. Things do not appear to be getting any better for the Avalanche. Joe Sakic has a plan to rebuild this team and make it a contender once again, but that will take time. As each week passes Colorado inches closer to having another high draft. Colorado will compete in every game, but results will be hard to come by.
– Dallas has been such a disappointment this season. With expectations being so high, many believed Dallas would be contending for a playoff spot once again. This is not the case right now. After another poor week, Dallas finds themselves back near the bottom of the division challenging Minnesota for the worst team in the Central. While Dallas was able to stop a five-game losing streak on Saturday night, things do not get any easier. It appears that patience is wearing thin in Dallas. With all the new additions the Stars made, many thought they would be better instead it is the same old same old in Big D.
-Injuries are a part of the game of hockey. Minnesota has done well to overcome big injuries to star players. What has hurt the Wild thus far is a poor start to a season that had promise. Playing catch up this early in the season is never good for any team. Despite going on a four-game winning streak, the Wild were not able to make up ground on teams at the top of the division. The Wild are showing more and more promise each week. If key players can return earlier than expected, this could propel the Wild onto better things as the season continues.