Feb 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers defensemanDan Boyle
(22) falls while trying to pass the puck during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
#10: New York Rangers: 30-16-5
The Rangers are in prime position: three games in hand, all against sub-20th-ranked teams. Win them all, and they not only overtake the Washington Capitals for the final Metro Division spot, but move within striking distance of the Pittsburgh Penguins, as well. They’ll have to do it on the back of Cam Talbot, however, as Henrik Lundqvist is out for at least 3 weeks after taking a puck to the throat.
#9: Pittsburgh Penguins: 30-15-8
The Penguins looked impressive with back-to-back shutouts in Alberta, as Marc-Andre Fleury broke the teams’ single-season franchise record for goose-eggs in a season. They got embarrassed on the tail end of their road-trip against the Vancouver Canucks however, and the shutout was on their side of the board this time. Pittsburgh needs to string together some wins pronto, with the Rangers on their heels.
#8: Chicago Blackhawks: 33-18-3
The Blackhawks have a meager 5-4-1 record in their last 10, but began a 8-game homestand on Monday night. Though they were an inch away from a win, they lost to the Arizona Coyotes in a shootout, and need some home cooking to claw back into the Central Division’s upper echelon. Marian Hossa has now scored the Blackhawks’ past four goals, after accusations of a major slump coming on the 36-year old.
#7: New York Islanders: 34-18-1
The Islanders have split their last 10, and the rest of the Metropolitan Divison is closing the gap. With their next three against the Oilers, Maple Leafs, and Blue Jackets, all on Long Island, it’s a crucial home-stand for the team if they want to continue their Metro Division dominance into mid-February.
#6: Montreal Canadiens: 34-15-3
The Canadiens closed out their impressive season series with the Bruins this week, and continue stay in the hunt for the Atlantic Division Championship. With P.K. Subban and Tomas Plekanec exchanging jabs after a win on Sunday, however, perhaps not all is well behind closed doors at the Bell Centre.