Feb 26, 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.
Pacific Division outlook (February 26 -March 4)
1. San Jose Sharks (36-21-6 for 78 pts; 63 Games Played)
Current streak: Six wins in a row.
Week ahead: Two home games – vs. Colorado (Tuesday) and Detroit (Thursday).
Thoughts: After going five for seven in a road trip to start February (with only two one-goal losses), the Sharks won six games in a row. That means San Jose is 11-2-0 in their last 13 games and that roll could continue now that the Sharks will play six straight games in San Jose and nine of their next 11 at home. Overall, they play 13 home games to only six on the road to finish the season, making it tough to bet against their chances for another division title.
2. Phoenix Coyotes (33-21-9 for 75 pts; 63 GP)
Current streak: Two losses in a row.
Week ahead: @ Chicago (Sun), home vs. Dallas (Tues) and @ Los Angeles (Thurs).
Thoughts: Once again, the ‘Yotes are in position to make the playoffs while their franchise is in limbo. Is it some twisted form of “good luck” or just a coincidence? (It’s probably just a coincidence.)
3. Los Angeles Kings (34-23-4 for 72 pts; 61 GP)
Current streak: Two straight wins.
Week ahead: Three home games – vs. Colorado (Sat), Detroit (Mon) and Phoenix (Thurs).
Thoughts: The Kings have an odd schedule right now. They just came off a highly successful 10-game road trip and will begin a five-game homestand. After that, they’ll play four games in a row on the road and then five consecutive contests in Los Angeles. They’ve already shown considerable resilience, but Drew Doughty & Co. will need to continue to do so to keep up in the Pacific.
4. Dallas Stars (32-23-6 for 70 pts; 61 GP)
Current streak: One win.
Week ahead: Home vs. Nashville (Sat), @ Phoenix (Tues) and @ Anaheim (Fri).
Thoughts: The Stars face an awfully daunting set of games after the trade deadline, which might justify a lot of “The Stars are falling apart after the Brad Richards trade/the team should have moved Richards because they’re falling apart anyway” columns depending on how that goes. After Saturday’s game against the Predators, the Stars will face in one crucial game after the other as they take a tour of the Pacific: four straight road games against Phoenix and the California clubs. An optimist will say they can control their fate while a pessimist will remark that it can all fall apart in about a week.
5. Anaheim Ducks (32-25-6 for 69 pts; 62 GP)
Current streak: Five losses in a row.
Week ahead: Three home games – vs. Colorado (Sun), vs. Detroit (Wed) and Dallas (Fri).
Thoughts: The Ducks are among the streakiest teams in the NHL. If that holds true, then expect them to trend up soon: they’re about to begin a five-game homestand and will play seven for their next eight games at the Pond.
- How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos? 44
- Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal 63
- Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M 27
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs 45
- Report: Bernier and Leafs more than $2 million apart ahead of Friday’s arbitration hearing 12
- Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million 40
- Benning calls Sutter a ‘foundation piece’ for Canucks 24
- Here’s a chart that shows which teams have been good/bad at drafting 40
- Penguins sign Fehr to three-year, $6 million contract 22
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening 54
- Bettman says NHL would have to ‘consider’ putting Quebec City in the Western Conference (71)
- Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal (63)
- Rangers sign Stepan — six years, $39 million (62)
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 (58)
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening (54)