Nov 19, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) takes the puck around Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nate Guenin (5) during the third period at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Behind Enemy Lines: Central Division Switch


The Colorado Avalanche are no longer at the top of the Central Division. The Chicago Blackhawks have claimed that position but are doing a poor job of defending it. The Blackhawks are 14-4-4 and are one point above the St. Louis Blues for the Central Division lead.

The Avalanche rounded out a 3-game losing streak with a 7-3 loss to the Blues in St. Louis and a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers in Colorado. They wouldn’t do too bad for long and the Blackhawks weren’t prepared for the young team’s fight to get out of the losing streak. The Avalanche won against the Blackhawks in Colorado 5-1. Their record is 15-5-0 and sit one point behind the Blues (2 points behind Chicago) at third in the Central Division.

St. Louis has continued its win-a-few-then-lose-one strategy to accumulate an impressive record of 14-3-3. They won against the Avs 7-3 and beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Then next night, they lost to the Washington Capitals 4-1 but rebounded with a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. They have 31 points and sit second in the Central Division having played 2 fewer games than the leading Blackhawks.

The Minnesota Wild are tied in points with the Avalanche with 30, but have played 2 more games. Their last 3 wins were close and their loss was a blowout of Blackhawks proportions. They won against the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in a shootout then won by a point in a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers and 2-1 against the Winnipeg Jets. Their 6-2 loss game in Montreal against the Canadians. The Wild’s record is 13-5-4 and are 4th in the Central Division.

The Dallas Stars played all Canadian teams last week and took all 6 points available. They shut out the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 and won 7-3 against the Calgary Flames the next night. Vancouver was a little closer, but they still walked away with a 2-1 win against the Canucks. Dallas has a record of 11-7-2 with 24 points, good for 5th in the Central Division.

The Winnipeg Jets have gone to a shootout in 4 of their last 5 games and won 3 of them. Last week, they won 3-2 in a shootout against the Philadelphia Flyers, then lost a close game 2-1 in Minnesota. The Calgary Flames forced another shootout which the Jets lost 5-4. The Jets are 6th in the Central Division with a record of 10-10-3.

Finally, the Nashville Predators take the remaining 7th slot in the Central Division. They finished a 4-game losing streak in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, losing 4-1. They ended the losing streak on the Chicago Blackhawks, winning in a terrible way that Blackhawks fans will try to forget, 7-2. That win gave them a little boost as they shut out former divisional opponent Detroit Red Wings in Detroit 2-0. The Preds have a record of 10-9-2 and 22 points, just one shy of the 6th place Jets.

How long do you think the Blackhawks will be able to hold on to the Division lead?

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