The NHL Central Division is getting interesting as each game passes. With the Blues starting to struggle to score goals, Winnipeg has found a way to grab the top spot. Four points separate the first place team from the fourth place team. It is now time to go inside the NHL Central Division notebook by recapping the week that was.
NHL Central Division Notebook
Fly Jets Fly!!
The best team in Canada the Winnipeg Jets are sitting in first place in the Central Division. For most of the season, the Jets have been climbing up the standings. Winnipeg is now considered one of the best teams in the NHL. Who would have this coming after, the slow start the team had to the season. Players are buying into the system, and it does not hurt that your best player is your goaltender. Connor Hellebuyck is making a case for the Vezina Trophy with his performance this season. He is the main reason the Jets have been able to turn this season around. It also does not hurt that Winnipeg’s offense is averaging five goals a game. Mark Scheifele has come into his own as a player this season. And with the help of Blake Wheeler, they are an unstoppable duo.
Just a Step Behind!!
The St. Louis Blues are still one of the best teams in the NHL. Lately, though, the Blues are having issues scoring goals and that is a concern for their fan base. St. Louis is in the first slump of the season having lost three straight games. While the Blues only sit two points behind the Jets for first in the division, St. Louis needs to pick their game back up. With teams in their division only getting better, the Blues know now is not the time for any major slump. Everyone was wondering when the offense for the Blues was going to slow down. Hopefully, their scoring slump is only temporary and the Blues rebound quickly.
Music City Jumping!!
Sitting in third place is the Nashville Predators. Nashville is looking for the magic they had during their run to the Stanley Cup Final last season. With each passing week, the Predators are getting closer to finding it. Nashville picked up two wins during the week including a win over their divisional rival the Chicago Blackhawks. Nashville wants to keep pace with the Blues and Jets in the standings. Filip Forsberg is having an amazing season, but the pick up of Kyle Turris has paid dividends. Turris has added another dynamic to the team, that Predators were missing center depth. The Predators have one of the best group of centers in the league. As long as the Predators keep winning, they will be a position for the playoffs.
Best of the Rest:
– Don’t look now but the Dallas Stars are within striking distance of the top spot in the division. Dallas is in the midst of a five-game winning streak. During that streak, the Stars were able to sweep a home-home series with the Blackhawks as well as another divisional win over Colorado. This has allowed the Stars to jump up in the standings. If the playoffs were to start today, the Stars would be in the playoffs. However, the Stars know they want to be in a guaranteed spot. Tyler Seguin has been leading the way for the Stars. Seguin has made it a mission of his to carry the Stars into the playoffs. With 27 points he leads the team in points. The Stars are hoping that Jamie Benn can get back on track to lead them through the rest of the season.
-The Minnesota Wild are starting to gain ground on their divisional opponents. After having the early season, MASH unit, the Wild are getting back to full strength. This has allowed the team to climb back in the standings after a poor start. Picking up a divisional win over St. Louis helps for sure. Consistency is what Minnesota needs most right now. Hopefully, the road will be kind to the Wild as for most of December, they will be away from Xcel Energy Center. It is pretty amazing the Wild are only a couple of points back on the final wild-card spot despite everything they have gone through this season.
– What is going on with the Chicago Blackhawks? One minute, they are the climbing the standings, and the next minute the team is falling back in the standings. Chicago is looking for consistency. For a moment there, Chicago thought they had found it. Unfortunately for the Chicago, it will be a struggle this season.With the injury to Corey Crawford, the teams best player this season, Chicago will need to find some help at that position. Too bad Chicago does not have a quality back up goaltender anymore. Losing four of the past five games have dropped Chicago in the standings. Something will need to change quickly for the Blackhawks to have success this season.
– Despite being near the bottom of the standings, the Colorado Avalanche are having a better season than they did last year. Colorado has become a tougher team to play against. Nathan MacKinnon has been the only bright spot for the Avalanche this season. He was named a player of the month for the month of November. Another player that has been playing well is Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen is second in team scoring behind MacKinnon. Colorado is much better off than they were last season, but still not playing up to the standards they want to.