Feb 6, 2011, 9:00 PM EST
With the All-Star break over, it’s time for the NHL playoff races to intensify. Every week, we’ll provide updates for each division’s outlook. The biggest contenders and/or closest races will receive the greatest amount of attention.
Bold = playoff contender; Italics = likely lottery fodder.
Pacific Division outlook (February 6-13)
1. Dallas Stars (30-18-5 for 65 pts; 53 Games Played)
Current streak: Three loses in a row.
Week ahead: Two home games – vs. Phoenix (Wed), vs. Chicago (Fri).
Thoughts: Dallas is still on top of the Pacific, but to give you an idea of how competitive if it is: they only have a five point lead over last place Los Angeles. Wow.
2. San Jose Sharks (28-19-6 for 62 pts; 53 GP)
Current streak: Three wins in a row.
Week ahead: Three road games – Washington (Tues), Columbus (Wed), New Jersey (Fri).
Thoughts: The Sharks won the first two games of a seven game road trip that continues this week. San Jose will then finish February with three more away games (with two games at home sandwiched in between) before a friendly March schedule begins.
3. Anaheim Ducks (29-21-4 for 62 pts; 54 GP)
Current streak: One win.
Week ahead: Two road games: vs. Vancouver (Wed) and Calgary (Fri).
Thoughts: The Ducks are in the middle of a Northwest Division tour, having beaten Colorado. They’ll finish it off in Edmonton a week from today.
4. Phoenix Coyotes (26-19-9 for 61 pts; 61 GP)
Current streak: One win.
Week ahead: At home vs. Colorado (Mon), @ Dallas (Wed), home vs. Chicago (Sat).
Thoughts: The Coyotes earned a 1-0 win playing their style of hockey on Saturday, so they should go into a very tough week with some confidence.
5. Los Angeles Kings (29-22-2 for 60 pts; 53 GP)
Current streak: Two wins in a row.
Week ahead: Two road games @ Pittsburgh (Thurs) and @ Washington (Sat).
Thoughts: The Kings have two wins and five out of six points in the first three games of their lengthy 10-game roadtrip, but this week includes two tough ones. Then again, if you had to catch the Penguins (minus Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) and Capitals (minus Alex Semin, maybe without Mike Green and/or Alex Ovechkin), this might be a good week to do it.
- Roberto Luongo records the shutout in first game back with Panthers 13
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack 42
- Canucks’ Kassian gets three games for boarding Dillon 26
- TGIF: Why Lightning fans can be upset with St. Louis 31
- Goalie nods: Luongo’s first game back with Panthers, Neuvirth makes Sabres debut 12
- Report: Kuznetsov terminated KHL deal, headed to Washington 20
- Canucks’ Bieksa: ‘If this isn’t rock bottom, I don’t know what is’ 34
- Luongo has Twitter fun at Canucks’ expense 36
- Sabres spoil Callahan’s Lightning debut, Stamkos’ return 7
- Dealing with the Devils: NHL reverses Kovalchuk punishment 49
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Report: Canucks want center, top prospect and first-rounder for Kesler (68)
- Sabres announce Pat LaFontaine resigns as president of hockey operations (66)