There is only a week and a half left in the NHL season and already a good amount of teams have clinched playoff spots. But we will get a chance to see teams scratch and claw for the final playoff spots in each conference. With all of that said, let’s check in with the league this week.
1. Chicago Blackhawks (33-5-4) Last week: 1
The Blackhawks are in prime position to win it all this year, especially with the dynamic duo of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The ‘Hawks stay at No. 1 again this week as they increased their winning streak to six.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (33-10-0) Last week: 2
The Penguins have proven that their stellar performance did not come from captain Sidney Crosby alone. In his absence they have clinched both a spot in the playoffs and the Atlantic Division.
3. Anaheim Ducks (27-11-5) Last week: 3
The Ducks dropped their both of their games this week, but team captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have successfully led them to clinching a spot in the playoffs.
4. Montreal Canadiens (26-12-5) Last week: 5
The Habs are still a very good team despite losing three of their games this week. P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty have led them to a playoff berth, so they are just gearing up for the post-season.
5. Boston Bruins (26-12-4) Last week: 4
The Bruins lost all three of their games this week, but it is clear that in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, their hearts are with those affected. With the return of Brad Marchard they were able to clinch on Wednesday night as they forced a shootout round to gain the extra point they needed.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs (24-14-5) Last week: 7
It’s not a dream Maple Leafs fans, if the Leafs clinch soon they’ll see their first playoff run in nine years! By winning all three of their last games they have shown that they are ready for it, especially when James Reimer is in net.
7. Ottawa Senators (22-14-6) Last week: 9
The Senators are back to their consistent behavior with another three wins this week. Coach Paul MacLean needs to be applauded for guiding his team to success all season long despite a slew of injuries.
8. Vancouver Canucks (24-12-7) Last week: 6
The Canucks had an off week by dropping two of their games, so they have yet to clinch a spot in the playoffs. As point leaders, the Sedin Twins will try to make sure that their team sees another playoff run.
9. Los Angeles Kings (24-14-5) Last week: 10
The Kings had a rough beginning but they logged another two wins this week to prove that they are ready to defend their Stanley Cup title, especially if Jeff Carter continues to find the back of the net.
10. San Jose Sharks (23-13-7) Last week: 11
The Sharks are getting very close to a playoff berth as they sit at No. 5 in the Western Conference and won their last three out of four games. They will do well if Joe Thornton continues setting up teammates Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture to score.
11. St. Louis Blues (24-16-2) Last week: 8
The Blues had a mediocre week after splitting their four games. They are still pretty solid, especially with goaltending from both Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak.
12. Minnesota Wild (24-16-3) Last week: 12
The Wild split their games this week so they stay at No.12, but they are on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. Zach Parise is going to need to find the back of the net more if they make want to make a run in the postseason.
13. Washington Capitals (24-17-2) Last week: 15
The Caps may actually make the playoffs this year as they increased their winning streak to eight games this week. So is Alexander Ovechkin finally back?
14. New York Islanders (22-16-5) Last week: 16
Thanks to Matt Moulson and Josh Baily, The Islanders won two more games this week. The Isles seemed to be primed to make an unexpected playoff berth.
15. Detroit Red Wings (20-16-7) Last week: 14
The Red Wings are starting to show their former glory, but still struggle after losing another three games this week. No matter how great of a player Pavel Datsyuk is, he cannot carry this team to the playoffs on his back.
16. New York Rangers (21-17-4) Last week: 13
The Rangers split their games this week, but are still in the running for the playoffs. If Rick Nash and Derek Stepan continue to play well, they should be able to land eighth seed in the East.
17. Columbus Blue Jackets (21-16-7) Last week: 19
The Blue Jackets are very close to getting into the playoffs this season, thanks to stellar goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. In order to do so, they'll have usurp the Red Wings. They increased their winning streak to five games this week and seem to be on their way.
18. Winnipeg Jets (22-19-2) Last week:17
The Jets won both their games this week, but will need to find a way to defeat the Rangers if they want to get into the playoffs this season. Can Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler rise to the occasion?
19. Dallas Stars (21-18-3) Last week: 20
The Stars won two out of their last three games, but have their work cut out for them if they want to reach the playoffs with two weeks remaining in the season. Perhaps Jaime Benn should start to get selfish by shooting the puck more than passing it to his teammates.
20. Phoenix Coyotes (18-17-7) Last week: 21
Was last season a fluke for the ‘Yotes? They dropped both their games this week and it’s unlikely that they’ll clinch a playoff berth this year.
21. New Jersey Devils (15-21-3) Last week: 18
The Devils drop a lot this week after going on a three game losing skid and dropping to No. 12 in the Eastern Conference stanings. Maybe it’s time for Martin Brodeur to finally retire.
22. Buffalo Sabres (18-9-6) Last week: 22
The Sabres and Thomas Vanek are desperately trying to salvage their season as they won their last three games. Unfortunately for them, it may be a bit too late to redeem themselves.
23. Philadelphia Flyers (19-21-3) Last week: 23
The Flyers split their games this week, which is great. At No. 11 in the East, however, it still looks unlikely that they’ll see a playoff run. Backup goalie Steve Mason is showing promise, but it’s a bit too late for the team to salvage their mediocre season.
24. Tampa Bay Lightning (17-22-4) Last week: 24
The Lightning are in the midst of a very bad and they didn’t make things any easier for themselves when they lost all four of their games this week. You kind of have to have respect for Steve Stamkos who stays with this terrible team out of loyalty.
25. Carolina Hurricanes (17-23-2) Last week: 26
The ‘Canes lost another two games this week to add to a poor overall record. So maybe having two Staals doesn’t actually help their team after all.
26. Calgary Flames (17-22-4) Last week: 28
Even though the Flames won three of their games this week they are still pretty mediocre. Is this team ever going to be good again?
27. Edmonton Oilers (16-19-7) Last week: 25
Well the Oilers added a few more losses to extend their skid to six games. Is moving into a new arena really going to help this team get any better?
28. Nashville Predators (15-21-8) Last week: 27
The Predators are having a terrible season! They lost a couple more games this week and are now on a seven-game losing streak.
29. Colorado Avalanche (14-22-7) Last week: 30
The Avs lose another two and continue to be terrible. P.A. Parenteau is the only player who is remotely good on this team, but even he can’t pull the team out of this waste of a season.
30. Florida Panthers (13-23-6) Last week: 29
The Panthers drop back to last place after losing all three of their games this week. If there are any Panthers fans left at this point, I feel bad for you. I really do.