Nov 21, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Grant Clitsome (24) challenges Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad (20) behind the net during the third period at MTS Centre. Chicago wins 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks have earned a point in their last 23 games, but have lost a few that could have/should have helped them pull ahead of opponents just in front of them or just behind them. Here’s a quick look at who’s gaining ground and who’s slowing down in the Central Division.
The Winnipeg Jets are the hottest team in the Central Division, winning 4 games in a row after enduring a 5 game losing streak and a coaching change. They beat the Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, and Edmonton Oilers. The Jets managed to cap it off with a 3-2 regulation win against the Anaheim Ducks. They handed the top team in the league their first regulation home loss of the season. Even last night’s shutout loss to the San Jose Sharks has some positives as they only allowed one goal against in 32 shots. They still have the worst record in the Central Division at 23-24-5 but could overtake the Nashville Predators if they keep up their new play since Paul Maurice became head coach.
The St. Louis Blues have hit what a Chicago optimist would call a slump, going 4-4-0 in their last 8 games. They lost to the Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks, with the biggest loss coming to the struggling New Jersey Devils. Their recent struggles gave the Blackhawks some breathing room and a chance to gain a bigger lead in the Central Division standings, but the Blackhawks didn’t capitalize on those opportunities as much as they could have. The Blues have 73 points in 50 games with a record of 34-11-5. Even the happiest Chicago optimist wouldn’t expect the Blues to continue in their “slump” for long.