Blackhawks News

Central Division Update

By Greg Boysen

Now that you all have had time to recover from your overdoses of taco dip and your hangovers its time to get back to business.  The Blackhawks key to success in the playoffs will be how they finish in the Central Division.  Obviously winning the division would be ideal, since they would lock up a top 3 seed, but that is starting to look like a pipe dream.  The Blackhawks current 5 game losing streak has dropped them to 4th place in the standings.  Here are the standings heading into this week.

Detroit Red Wings 72 pts

Nashville Predators 68 pts

St Louis Blues 67

Chicago Blackhawks 65

The Red Wings had a pretty good week last taking 5 out of 6 points. Their only slip up was a shootout loss in Edmonton on Friday night.  In case you missed it Sam Gagner had 3 more points in that contest.  His 11 points in the last 5 periods is 2 more points than Bryan Bickell has had all season!  We can all watch the Wings tonight on NBC Sports as the take on the Phoenix Coyotes.  The rest of their week has them at home playing Edmonton on Tuesday,  the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday and a big matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.  The big news of the week was that All Star goalie Jimmy Howard broke his finger in practice.  He did not play in Saturday’s game and is expected to miss at least two weeks.  Reports coming out of the Detroit is that surgery has not been ruled out yet either.  This might a chance for the Hawks to gain some ground if they can get their act together.

The Predators have been the hottest team in hockey as they showed us two weeks ago.  They just keep on plugging along.  You can pretty much give Pikka Rinne the Vezina right now.  The Predators started their week with a 5-4 at the Minnesota Wild.  They took one of the chin with a 4-1 loss in Philly.  The Preds returned home Saturday night a got a huge win over St Louis, which bumped them up to 2nd place.  Rinne made 42 saves in the win.  The Predators have a very tough week ahead of them.  They host the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.  After that they have two road games against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and the Boston Bruins on Saturday.  The Preds are the only team lucky enough to not have anyone on their injury report!

The Blues split their two games last week.  They shutout the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 on Friday night before losing in Nashville on Saturday.  They have the best goalie tandem in hockey with All Star Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak, who now boasts a 1.97 GAA after a slow start.  The Blues play in Ottawa on Tuesday and then travel to take on the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.  They return home to St. Louis to take on the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.  Jason Arnott missed Saturday’s game due to a shoulder injury but he is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday.