Hungry Hawks on the rise: Central Division Recap – Week 10

Image provided by NHL.com

Image provided by NHL.com

The Blackhawks now control the central divsion with a huge 3-0-0 week. The Central was supposed to be a war all the way up until game 82, but as the season goes on we are starting to see the division turn into a 3 team race.

 

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks: (3-0-0)

On The Rise: The Blackhawks have won 6 in a row and have moved to the top of the Central as a result. Players like Brandon Saad and Kris Versteeg have stepped up and allowed the Hawks to spread defenses thin. This week they beat 3 excellent teams in the Blues, the Canadiens and the Predators.

Who’s Hot? Brandon Saad- Saad has 4 points in his last 3 games.

Who’s Not? Johnny Oduya– Oduya has only 2 points on the season and had none this week. He is a very reliable defender in his own end, but you expect him to put up better numbers with such a talented forward core.

Upcoming Schedule: New Jersey Devils (Tuesday), Boston Bruins (Thursday), New York Islanders (Saturday), Calgary Flames (Sunday)

 

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Nashville Predators: (1-2-0)

On The Rise: Nashville lost 2 games this week, but they are still 7-3-0 in their last 10. This team has been reborn this season, they have a plan, they know what there good at and they don’t hurt themselves. Mike Ribeiro and Filip Forsberg have been huge in helping this team turn the corner.

Who’s Hot? Mike Ribeiro- Ribeiro had 4 point in 3 games this week.

Who’s Not? James Neal– Neal had only 1 assist this week and hasn’t been producing the way he was just a few weeks ago.

Upcoming Schedule: Colorado Avalanche (Tuesday), Arizona Coyotes (Thursday), San Jose Sharks (Saturday)

 

(Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

St.Louis Blues: (1-2-0)

On The Fall: The Blues have started to falter as of late. They are 5-4-1 in their last 10 and there is reason to be concerned about their offense. Guys like David Backes, Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie haven’t been scoring like they should. The team is still playing within a sound structure, but if they don’t start scoring more, it is hard to see them winning the central.

Who’s Hot? Vladimir Tarasenko– Tarasenko has 3 goals in 3 games this week.

Who’s Not? David Backes- Backes only had 1 assist this week and only has 12 points on the season.

Upcoming Schedule- Florida Panthers (Monday), New York Islanders (Thursday), Colorado Avalanche (Saturday)

 

(Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Winnipeg Jets: (2-1-1)

On The Rise: The Jets remain in the hunt and I must say I’m impressed. They ran over the Avalanche this week and then gave the Ducks all they could handle in an overtime loss. The Jets are big fast and tough, if they could get a little more production out of Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler then they can challenge in the central.

Who’s Hot? Dustin Byfuglien– Byfuglien has scored a goal in his last 4 games.

Who’s Not? Evander Kane- Kane only had 1 assist this week.

Upcoming Schedule- Dallas Stars (Tuesday), Colorado Avalanche (Thursday), Anaheim Ducks (Saturday)

 

(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Minnesota Wild: (1-1-0)

On The Fall: The Wild were supposed to be dangerous this year, but I’m not convinced. Whenever they look like they are going some where they just regress the next game. They aren’t beating the big teams like Anaheim and their offense is to blame. Their offensive totals are decent, but with the names they have they should score like Chicago. Mikko Koivu and Thomas Vanek have been invisible this year.

Who’s Hot? Zach Parise– Parise had 3 points this week.

Who’s Not? Thomas Vanek- Vanek had 0 points this week and only has 14 on the season.

Upcoming Schedule: New York Islanders (Tuesday), San Jose Sharks (Thursday), Arizona Coyotes (Saturday).

 

(Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Dallas Stars: (1-2-0)

On The Fall: The Stars continue to free fall out of contention. Kari Lehtonen hasn’t been very good this season, mix that with a mediocre defense and you will have problems. Tyler Seguin is incredible to watch, but his play is off set when you see the Stars cough up games. If Lehtonen finds his game the Stars will have a fighting chance.

Who’s Hot? Tyler Seguin- Seguin had 4 points in 3 games this week.

Who’s Not? Erik Cole– Cole had only 1 assist this week.

Upcoming Schedule: Winnipeg Jets (Tuesday), New Jersey Devils (Saturday)

 

(Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Colorado Avalanche: (0-2-1)

On The Fall: The Avalanche have the skill up front, but they just don’t have the defense. It is clear that Erik Johnson isn’t enough to hold the backend. Seymon Varlamov has been decent and the big guns on offense continue to come and go. They lost a heart breaker to the Flames on Thursday, and were crushed 6-2 by the Jets on Friday. This team needs to figure things out in a hurry.

Who’s Hot? Ryan O’Reilly– O’Reilly has 3 points in his last 3 games.

Who’s Not? Nathan Mackinnon- Mackinnon had no points this week.

Upcoming Schedule: Nashville Predators (Tuesday), Winnipeg Jets (Thursday), St.Louis Blues (Saturday)

 

You can follow me on Twitter @StevenLoffredo

 

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