Colorado Avalanche v Nashville Predators

Central Division Watch (February 15)

Every week, we’ll provide updates for each division. The biggest contenders and/or closest races will receive the greatest amount of attention.

Bold = playoff contender; Italics = likely lottery fodder.

Central Division outlook (February 15 -21)

1. Detroit Red Wings (34-16-6 for 74 pts; 56 Games Played)

Current streak: Two wins.

Week ahead: Three road games: vs. Tampa Bay (Thursday), Florida (Friday) and Minnesota (Sunday).

Thoughts: The Red Wings are rounding into scary form as the playoffs approach. Are the Vancouver Canucks really the favorites in the West if Detroit goes in healthy?

2. Nashville Predators (30-19-7 for 67 pts; 56 GP)

Current streak: Two wins.

Week ahead: Three home games – vs. San Jose (Tues), vs. Vancouver (Thurs), vs. Phoenix (Sat).

Thoughts: Say what you want about the pieces they parted with to acquire Mike Fisher, he sure makes a lot of sense for the Predators. On paper, at least.

3. Chicago Blackhawks (28-22-6 for 62 pts; 56 GP)

Current streak: Two losses.

Week ahead: Three home games – vs. Minnesota (Wed), vs. Columbus (Fri), vs. Pittsburgh (Sun) and one away game against vs. St. Louis (Mon).

Thoughts: Hey, look on the bright side, ‘Hawks fans: Dustin Byfuglien would only have been affordable for this season, anyway.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets (28-23-5 for 61 pts; 56 GP)

Current streak: Two wins.

Week ahead: home vs. Los Angeles (Wed), @ Chicago (Fri).

Thoughts: At this point, I don’t know what to make of the Blue Jackets … except I don’t think they have much of a chance in the playoffs. At least as they are currently composed.

5. St. Louis Blues (25-21-9 for 59 pts; 55 GP)

Current streak: Won one.

Week ahead: @ Buffalo (Fri), home vs. Anaheim (Sat), home vs. Chicago (Mon).

Thoughts: The Blues better rest up, because they have a tough couple weeks ahead of them. Then again, has anything come easy for St. Louis this season?

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: