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Central Division Watch (February 15)

Feb 15, 2011, 7:04 PM EST

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Colorado Avalanche v Nashville Predators Getty Images

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?

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