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.
- Video: Sens, Leafs, Habs combine for beautiful tribute following Ottawa shootings 1
- Will winning trump revenge tonight? 3
- Sleepy Sharks hit new low in loss to Buffalo 7
- Goalie nods: Gustavsson gets his second start 0
- Price downplays start as Canadiens host Rangers 8
- Sens, Habs and Leafs pay tribute to fallen soldier 3
- More like it? Avs crush Canucks 33
- Video: Beauties from Perry, Eberle and Duchene 4
- Ghost Time: Flyers recall Gostisbehere from AHL 28
- Trotz calls Healy’s comments on Ovechkin (and Ovechkin’s mom) ‘disrespectful’ 26
- Video: Two quick third-period goals propel Flyers over rival Penguins (83)
- Updated: Kings’ Voynov arrested for domestic assault, suspended indefinitely (78)
- Babcock: ‘Price definitely initiates contact’ in disallowed Datsyuk goal (59)
- If allegations are true, will Kings welcome Voynov back into their ‘special’ group? (37)
- Voynov released on $50K bond; NHL says ‘circumstances were different’ in Varlamov case (36)