April is finally here, and that means one thing and one thing only; it’s Stanley Cup Playoff time. The second to last Thursday of the regular season is upon us so these power rankings show who is in a good spot headed into the postseason and whose season is virtually over.
It was somewhat of a light week for the Central Division with the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets playing just two games in the seven-day stretch while the Nashville Predators played four games in seven days. The seven teams combined for a record of 10-9-1 which was not as last week’s 16-8-3 run. The Predators sit atop the division standings while the Colorado Avalanche remain in the basement.
Three stars of the Week
1. Mikko Koivu (MIN) – three goals, one assist for four points
2. Mike Ribeiro (NSH) – two goals, two assists for four points
3. Ryan O’Reilly (COL) – one goal, three assists for four points
Highlight of the Week
Just your average goal from your knees past the NHL’s top goalie.
1. Minnesota Wild (44-25-7) LR: 1
The Wild continue to be one of the hottest teams in the NHL as they currently find themselves on a six-game win streak. They only hit the ice twice this week but they did so in impressive fashion. Minnesota got wins over the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings, two teams the Wild are battling with in the wild card as the season comes to an end. You guessed it: Devan Dubnyk was in net for both victories.
2. Nashville Predators (47-22-9) LR: 6
The Predators have gotten back to playing the same type of hockey we grew accustomed to at the start of the year. They started the week off with two road wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals. They returned home for their next two games and things didn’t go as well as they fell to the Calgary Flames 5-2 then allowed the Vancouver Canucks to comeback and win in the shootout to close the seven day stretch. The Predators clinched a playoff spot following the win over the Caps.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (46-24-6) LR: 3
The Blackhawks put together a 2-0-0 week with wins over the Jets and Kings. They’re playing some good hockey going 7-3-0 in their last 10 games. Another positive for the ‘Hawks appeared Wednesday at practice. His name is Patrick Kane. Kane isn’t expected to return to game action soon, but it could be much sooner than expected.
Patrick Kane vs. Corey Crawford. #Blackhawks https://t.co/z7xi1aJaDo
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) April 1, 2015
4. St. Louis Blues (46-23-7) LR: 4
Just like the ‘Hawks, the Blues find themselves in the same spot in the rankings as they did a week ago. St. Louis didn’t have a great past seven days going 0-2-0. The team was out scored 8-3 in the two games, falling to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 and followed that up with a 4-1 loss to the Canucks. Brian Elliott was between the pipes in both games and stopped just .835 of the pucks he faced.
5. Winnipeg Jets (39-26-12) LR: 5
The Jets are clinging to the final wild card spot for dear life after a 1-2-0 week. Winnipeg dominated the Montreal Canadiens at home 5-2 then followed that up with two one goal losses to the Blackhawks and New York Rangers. Ondrej Pavelec was the puck stopper in all three games, allowing a combined seven goals in the two losses. Winnipeg (90 points) is being chased down by the Kings (88 points) who have a game in hand.
6. Dallas Stars (37-30-10) LR: 2
After a stellar 7-1-0 run in the middle of March, the Stars are falling back to reality. Dallas fell to the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 4-0 along with the Flames by the count of 5-3. They did get a win over the Canucks in overtime but as of Wednesday their playoff chances sit at 0.2%.
7. Colorado Avalanche (35-30-12) LR: 7
Despite their season being more or less over, Colorado managed to put together a 2-1-0 week with wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Canucks before dropping a 4-1 decision to the Oilers. They closed out the week with a dismal 5-1 loss in San Jose to the Sharks. Jarome Iginla continues to lead the Avs in the goal scoring department with 26 on the year. The veteran may be having a great year, but the same can’t be said for his team.
All team records and statistics are accurate as of March 31.