Feb 18, 2011, 7:13 PM 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.
Northwest Division outlook (February 18 -24)
1. Vancouver Canucks (37-13-9 for 83 pts; 59 Games Played)
Current streak: One loss.
Week ahead: Three homes games: vs. Dallas (Saturday), Montreal (Tuesday) and St. Louis (Thursday).
Thoughts: Conventional wisdom would suggest that the injury-ravaged Canucks will tread water – at best – on their six game homestand. Yet this team keeps showing personnel perseverance, so who knows, they might go on another tear anyway.
2. Calgary Flames (30-22-8 for 68 pts; 60 GP)
Current streak: Two wins.
Week ahead: Two home games – Heritage Classic vs. Montreal (Sun) and vs. Boston (Tues).
Thoughts: The Flames’ lead over the other bubble teams is misleading because of their high number of games played, so they must keep things in perspective during the Heritage Classic. It’s still shocking that they are hotter than the Canadiens going into this game, though.
3. Minnesota Wild (30-22-5 for 65 pts; 57 GP)
Current streak: Two losses.
Week ahead: Three home games – vs. Anaheim (Fri), vs. Detroit (Sun), vs. Edmonton (Tues) and one away game against Los Angeles (Thurs).
Thoughts: As tough as this week might be, the Wild need to squeeze as many points as possible out of these games. One contest against a true titan (the Red Wings), one contest against a should-be doormat (the Oilers) and then two matches against California teams ahead of Minnesota makes this a challenging seven days. How will they respond?
4. Colorado Avalanche (25-26-7 for 57 pts; 58 GP)
Current streak: Nine losses in a row.
Week ahead: @ San Jose (Sat), @ St. Louis (Tues) and home vs. Edmonton (Wed).
Thoughts: Yuck, Colorado. Just … yuck.
5. Edmonton Oilers (18-32-8 for 44 pts; 58 GP)
Current streak: Two wins in a row.
Week ahead: Home vs. Atlanta (Sat), @ Minnesota (Tues) and @ Colorado (Wed).
Thoughts: The Oilers organization and its fans hope that this is the last season in which they’re in “spoiler” mode as early as February.
- Drouin out 3-4 weeks with fractured thumb 0
- On carrying three goalies, and which teams might be forced to do it 6
- Bettman: NHL won’t expand ‘just to fulfill somebody’s notion of symmetry’ 8
- Report: Johansen lowers demands, but not low enough 34
- Injuries piling up as preseason schedule begins 11
- Report: Fedorov denies contract offer was made to Johansen 8
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers 44
- Update: Drouin out with upper body injury, not expected to miss preseason 1
- Report: NHL officials to participate in preseason without new CBA 1
- Evander Kane: I know I can score 50 goals 16
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (65)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers (44)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)
- Just how damaging are heated negotiations between Jackets, RFA Johansen? (38)