Feb 18, 2011, 7:13 PM EST
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.
- Update: Ryan Callahan out 4-6 weeks with MCL sprain 4
- Ovechkin wills Caps to stunning shootout win vs. Bolts 18
- Bettman: No decision on expansion, but they’re listening 5
- Neal admits kneeing Marchand was ‘not the smartest decision’ 67
- Leafs captain Phaneuf suspended two games for boarding 37
- Rangers confirm Staal suffered concussion 8
- Winnipeg to get outdoor game; Phoenix wants one 33
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head 156
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 104
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 136
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (136)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)