Mar 18, 2011, 11:15 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, Underlined = clinched division.
Northwest Division outlook (March 18 -March 24th)
1. Vancouver Canucks (47-16-9 for 103 pts; 72 Games Played)
Current streak: Seven wins in a row.
Week ahead: Home vs. Phoenix (Friday) and @ Detroit (Wednesday).
Thoughts: The Canucks became the first team to cross the 100-point mark and the first team to clinch their division this week. At this point, the Canucks can just rain on other teams’ parades and hope no one else gets injured.
2. Calgary Flames (37-27-9 for 83 pts; 73 GP)
Current streak: One win.
Week ahead: Three road games – vs. Anaheim (Sun), Los Angeles (Mon) and San Jose (Wed).
Thoughts: The Flames have a loose hold on a playoff spot, but it will be tested, with six of their next seven games on the road. This next week might be the toughest stretch, too, as they take a tour of some formidable California teams. They’ve been playing some impressive hockey lately, but there isn’t much of a margin of error in the West right now.
3. Minnesota Wild (35-29-7 for 77 pts; 71 GP)
Current streak: Four losses in a row.
Week ahead: Three home games vs. Columbus (Sat), Montreal (Sun) and Toronto (Tues).
Thoughts: The bad news is that the Wild went 0-fer on their four-game road trip, which is bad because they needed the points and also because it indicates they might be too dependent on home cooking. The good news is that their next four games are at home, so maybe they can make up some ground.
4. Colorado Avalanche (26-36-8 for 60 pts; 70 GP)
Current streak: Ten straight losses.
Week ahead: Away vs. Edmonton (Sat), home vs. Columbus (Tues) and home vs. Toronto (Thurs).
Thoughts: You know, maybe people hate tanking so much because it’s called tanking. Then again, it’s better than my alternate idea, which is “reverse racing.”
5. Edmonton Oilers (23-39-9 for 55 pts; 71 GP)
Current streak: Five losses in a row.
Week ahead: Home vs. Colorado (Sat), @ Nashville (Tues) and @ St. Louis (Thurs).
Thoughts: Well, I already used my comment about tanking on the Avalanche. Say what you will about how awesome the Canucks are – because it’s true – but they did get a few extra cracks at weak teams like the Oilers and Avalanche, plus so-so teams like the Flames and Wild. That must inflate their numbers a bit, right? Maybe?
- Oilers sign McDavid to entry-level contract 4
- ‘Hawks would like to re-sign Oduya, but still working through ‘financial hurdles’ 5
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick 73
- Voynov takes plea, gets 90 days in jail plus probation 59
- Curtains on Broadway: Martin St. Louis calls it a career 36
- Discuss: Where’s the best fit for Alex Semin? 23
- Caps landing ‘affordable’ Williams a sign of the new free agency 4
- Shots fired! ‘Canes owner Karmanos rips into Jim Rutherford (Updated) 58
- Here’s who’s left after Day 1 of free agency 30
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 38
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)