Dec 11, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (23) is congratulated by his teammates for scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Behind Enemy Lines: Central Division Review

For the third week in a row, the Chicago Blackhawks lead the Central Division in wins and points. The Blackhawks record is 23-6-5 with 51 points – that’s 8 points ahead of their most threatening Central Division opponent!

The St. Louis Blues remain the closest in points and 5 games behind the Blackhawks with a record of 20-6-3 and 43 points. They won twice last week, 5-1 over the NY Islanders and 2-1 in Winnipeg. Their loss came 5-2 against the Anaheim Ducks in St. Louis.

The Minnesota Wild jumped the Colorado Avalanche for third in the Central Division with a record of 18-10-5 and 41 points. They took a 4-3 win against the Blackhawks and won 3-1 against the San Jose Sharks. Their losses came in a 4-0 shutout by the Columbus Blue Jackets and a 2-1 loss against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Colorado Avalanche fell to fourth in the Division with a record of 20-9-0 and 40 points. They had 3 regulation losses last week including an 8-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers and a 3-1 loss to  the Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes. Their only win came 3-2 against the Calgary Flames.

The Avs have still managed to keep a bit of separation from the Dallas Stars who are fifth in the Central Division. The Stars’ record is 14-10-5 with 33 points. They earned 3 points last week with an overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Their only regulation loss came in a 6-2 shakedown by the Blackhawks in Dallas.

The Winnipeg Jets have played 32 games and earned 32 points. They earned two points in a 2-1 overtime win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but walked away with nothing in a 5-2 loss against the Florida Panthers and a 2-1 loss to the Blues. Their record is now 14-14-4.

The Nashville Predators round out the bottom three with a record of 14-14-3 and 31 points. They added two more losses to their record to round out a 5 game losing streak. The Preds lost 5-2 twice, once against the Carolina Hurricanes and again to the Washington Capitals. They broke their losing streak with a 4-1 win over the NY Rangers.

As long as the St. Louis Blues trail by a couple of games, the Blackhawks should enjoy a comfortable division lead for a while. The Colorado Avalanche are also trailing by a handful of games and could otherwise be neck-and-neck with the Blackhawks.

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Tags: Chicago Blackhawks NHL Central Division

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