20. Chicago Blackhawks
Previous: No. 17
Tough sledding right now for the Blackhawks. They were summarily outplayed by Detroit and the New York Islanders before playing quite well against Tampa Bay. But it didn’t matter, as the Blackhawks couldn’t beat Andrei Vasilevskiy in net. Chicago needs to find wins, and quickly.
19. Anaheim Ducks
Previous: No. 21
The Ducks are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, but like with the Oilers, a tough start may have done in Anaheim. Rickard Rakell is still leading this group in scoring, which ought to tell you how bad the Ducks’ injury problems have been.
18. Pittsburgh Penguins
Previous: No. 18
The Pens are in a dogfight just to earn the right to defend the Stanley Cup. Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have combined for 154 points so far this season. That seems like a total that should help earn victories.
17. Philadelphia Flyers
Previous: No. 19
The Flyers have won their last three games and are 8-2-0 in their last 10. That’s allowed them to slide into the top Eastern Conference wild-card slot. Consistent goaltending from Brian Elliott is going to be key if the Flyers are going to contend the rest of the way.
16. Los Angeles Kings
Previous: No. 10
The Kings have had a rough stretch of games, going 3-6-1 in their last 10. Right now, Colorado has a game in hand, so the Avs held the second West wild-card spot going into the night even though both teams had 55 points (Colorado now has 57). In recent Kings news, Dustin Brown was fined $10,000 for his hit on Justin Schultz. More on that here.
15. Minnesota Wild
Previous: No. 15
They’ve gone 6-2-2 in their last 10, and sit right between the aforementioned Kings and Avs. The Wild are coming off a win against one of the NHL’s best in the Tampa Bay Lightning, and one of the NHL’s worst in Ottawa, but things don’t get any easier. The near future sees the Wild face off against the likes of the Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.