Mar 14, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Nashville Predators centerMatt Cullen
(7) being pursued by Chicago Blackhawks right wingPatrick Kane
(88) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks have played 7 games since returning from the Olympic break and have lost 4 of them. Their Central Division opponents that were breathing down their necks even with games in hand have now passed them in the standings. The Blackhawks have a record of 38-15-14 with 90 points and are 3rd in the Central Division.
The St. Louis Blues have finally caught up to the game range of the Blackhawks. Since coming back from the Olympics, the Blues have played 9 games with only 2 regulation losses and one overtime loss. Three of those wins came against Central Division opponents (Nashville, Colorado, Minnesota) and the overtime loss went to the Dallas Stars. Their record is 45-14-7 with 97 points, which gives them a 7 point lead over the Blackhawks and first place in the Central Division.
The Colorado Avalanche have also played 9 games since the Olympics with 3 regulation losses and one overtime loss. They bested the Blackhawks twice during that time but lost 2-1 against the Blues and 3-2 in overtime against the Winnipeg Jets. Their record is 43-19-5 with 91 points, which puts them on point ahead of the Blackhawks and second place in the Central Division.
The Minnesota Wild played 7 games since Sochi, winning 4 of them, losing once in regulation and twice in a shootout. They played against the Central Division twice and lost, 4-3 against Dallas, and 3-2 in a shootout against St. Louis. Their record is 35-22-9 with 79 points. They claim the 4th seed in the Central Division and the top Wild Card slot in the Western Conference.
The Dallas Stars have played 8 games since the Olympic break, winning 5 and losing 3. Only 2 games came against Central Division opponents, and they were both wins. They defeated the Wild 4-3 and the Blues 3-2 in overtime. They have a record of 32-23.11 with 75 points and are 5th in the Central Division. They’re hanging on to the bottom Wild Card slot by 2 points over the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Winnipeg Jets came back from the break and started the next 8 games with 2 wins before it turned into a 6 game losing streak. They played the Central Division twice and beat the Predators 3-1, but lost to the Avalanche 3-2 in overtime. Their record is 30-29-9 with 69 points. They are 6th in the Central Division and 6 points away from a Wild Card seed.
The Nashville Predators have also played 8 games since returning from Sochi, winning 4 and losing 4. They lost against the Jets and Blues but took down the Blackhawks as Central Division rivals. Their record is 29-28-10 with 68 points which rounds out the Central Division. They trail a Wild Card slot by 7 points and have 15 games left to play. Making the playoffs is still possible for the trailing team in the Central Division!
Which team do you think benefited most from the Olympic break?