Nov 3, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (11) shoots during the second period against the New Jersey Devils at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Behind Enemy Lines - Central Division Shift

 

The Central Division wasn’t as predictable as usual last week with the division as a whole putting on a strong showing raking in a 14-4-3 record.

The Colorado Avalanche are still the top team although they hit a little bit of a bump. It took a little extra hockey before they were able to beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 in overtime – their first overtime game of the season. They won 4-1 over the Montreal Canadiens but suffered a 6-4 loss against Central Division opponent Nashville Predators. Their record “dropped” to 12-2-0, good for first in the Division and second in the West and the League.

The St. Louis Blues have still played the fewest number of games in the Central Division and claim the fourth spot. They earned their second shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers – the same team that was the victim of the Blues’ 7-0 shutout earlier in the season. The Blues then lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 and cut it close with a 3-2 shootout win over the Canadiens. The Blues are now 9-2-2 on the season and could potentially jump to the second spot once they catch up with their division rivals in games played.

The Winnipeg Jets would have fared well last week if it weren’t for the Chicago Blackhawks. They lost 5-1 at home in Jonathan Toews‘ homecoming but won 4-2 the following night against the Detroit Red Wings. They didn’t do much to redeem themselves in Chicago and flew back home after a 4-1 loss. Their record is now 6-9-2 which puts them in last in the Central Division with the most games played.

On the opposite end, the Minnesota Wild won three games straight in regulation – all at home. They won 4-3 against the Canadiens and shut out the New Jersey Devils 4-0 in their first meeting since the Zach Parise signing. The Calgary Flames didn’t cause too much trouble and the Wild won 5-1. They sit just behind the Blackhawks at third place with a 9-4-3 record.

The Nashville Predators lost starting goaltender Pekka Rinne but didn’t seem to miss him too much last week with former Blackhawk Carter Hutton in net. They suffered a 5-4 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes but followed it up with a 4-3 win over the LA Kings and a surprising 6-4 win over the Avalanche. With an 8-5-2 record, they remain in 5th place in the Central Division but are within a few points of 3rd place Minnesota.

The Dallas Stars required extra hockey for all three games last week. The first they lost 3-2 in a shootout against the Avalanche but won 4-3 in a shootout against the Ottawa Senators. They also defeated the Boston Bruins in another 3-2 shootout win. They are no longer in last place with a 7-6-2 record, having moved up one slot to 6th with 2 fewer games played than the Jets.

The Central Division claims 4 of the top 10 spots in the League and the Western Conference as a whole dominates with 8 in the top 10. Who do you expect to fall out or gain ground by the end of the season?

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