Feb 16, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT
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.
Atlantic Division outlook (February 16 -22)
1. Philadelphia Flyers (37-14-5 for 79 pts; 56 Games Played)
Current streak: One win.
Week ahead: Three road games: vs. Florida (Wednesday), vs. Carolina (Friday), Rangers (Sunday) and one home game: vs. Phoenix (Tuesday).
Thoughts: Once again, the Flyers’ biggest opponent is in a different conference: the Vancouver Canucks. It’s between Philly and Vancouver to take the Presidents Trophy right now.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (35-19-4 for 74 pts; 58 GP)
Current streak: Two losses.
Week ahead: @ Colorado (Wed), @ Chicago (Sun) and against Washington (Mon).
Thoughts: The Penguins are in survival mode, especially until/if they make a trade. It doesn’t seem like passing the Flyers is much of a goal at this point.
3. New York Rangers (30-24-4 for 64 pts; 58 GP)
Current streak: One win.
Week ahead: Home vs. Los Angeles (Thurs), @ New Jersey (Fri), home vs. Philadelphia (Sun), @ Carolina (Tues).
Thoughts: After losing six games in a row, the Rangers finally earned a win against the free-falling Penguins. They should be well-rested coming into a tough six-day stretch.
4. New York Islanders (21-29-7 for 49 pts; 57 GP)
Current streak: Four wins in a row.
Week ahead: Three home games: vs. Boston (Thurs), vs. Los Angeles (Sat), vs. Florida (Mon) and @ Toronto (Tues).
Thoughts: The Islanders and Devils both seem to be on some odd winning streaks. Is it all to make the Ottawa Senators’ lives easier, or what?
5. New Jersey Devils (22-30-4 for 48 pts; 56 GP)
Current streak: Four wins.
Week ahead: Home vs. Carolina (Wed), home vs. Rangers (Fri), @ Carolina (Sat) and @ Dallas (Tues).
Thoughts: This turns out to be an interesting week for the Devils. Two wins (especially in regulation) could be a good gap-bridging for the Hurricanes, while they play two other games against playoff caliber teams who are struggling mightily. It’s an interesting chance for the Devils, although it could just as easily be a final shutting of the door.
- Julien thinks diving crackdown is ‘step in the right direction’ 8
- Holland doesn’t see Babcock deal by start of season 3
- Risk Factors: Pittsburgh Penguins edition 4
- PHT Morning Skate: Flyers bringing back Ice Girls 9
- Dillon’s agent: Discussions with Stars are ‘frustrating and disappointing’ 7
- NHL shoots down Tkachev’s contract with Edmonton 9
- NHL Board of Governors approves Islanders sale 6
- Johansen, Blue Jackets talks haven’t just resumed, they’re ‘very polite’ 14
- Speedy recovery: Giroux (lower body) to play vs. Rangers tonight 12
- Risk Factors: Boston Bruins edition 13
- Jordan Subban has ‘moved on’ after ‘unfortunate’ photo caption by Vancouver papers (52)
- Players pushed for coaching fines because they were ‘encouraged’ to dive (34)
- Sabres’ Nolan, Avalanche don’t believe in analytics (32)
- Ouch: Datsyuk (separated shoulder) out 4-5 weeks (27)
- Spooner scores, but coach Julien’s not happy (23)