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NHL Central Division Notebook: The Kids Are Alright



Stanley Cup Playoffs

This past weekend, the NHL’s brightest and best were on display in San Jose. Though the Central Division fell short in winning the million dollar prize, the team left a lasting impact on the ice.

In the first game, the Central Division jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The Central Division defeated the Pacific Division by a score of 10-4. Unfortunately, the Central Division could not rekindle the same magic. In the end, the Central fell to the Metro by a score of 10-5.

NHL Central Division Notebook: The Kids Are Alright

All season long the Colorado Avalanche boasted the top line in hockey. This weekend, everyone got to see first hand why. Even though Nathan MacKinnon could not participate, the other two put their skill on display. Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog each recorded four goals over the two mini games. Landeskog recorded a hat trick in the first game against the Pacific Division. While it would have been nice to see all three play together on a big stage, the Avalanche just hope MacKinnon is not out for too long.

Instead, the two youngsters were paired with Ryan O’Reilly and this line caught fire right away. O’Reilly was the perfect individual to go with the two speedy Avalanche players. If the Central Division would have won, one of these three would have been named MVP.

Other notable standouts from the All-Star Weekend from the Central Division were Patrick Kane, and the combination of Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele. Kane continued to display his awesome skill. While the two Winnipeg Jets got to display their skill to the rest of the world. Scheifele and Wheeler played well together in this format like they have all season long. It was interesting to see them paired with Roman Josi on a line.

For two teams that look to have a heated rivalry it was nice to see players from the Predators and Jets working together. Of note, Pekka Rinne assisted on Mark Scheifele’s goal. That was cool to see.

With the NHL returning to action and some teams taking their bye weeks, let’s take a look at what each team has to do go forward.

  1. Winnipeg Jets – Even though Winnipeg sits in first place, Nashville is right on their heels. Getting healthier and adding a number two center to the lineup would be ideal.
  2. Nashville Predators – With some players still hurt, a week off will be good. However, keeping pace with Winnipeg will always be their focus.
  3. Minnesota Wild – Getting back to this spot is great for a team that is still in a cluster of teams fighting for the final playoff spots in the West.
  4. Dallas Stars – While the Stars are in a tough spot as they sit right in the cluster of teams, Dallas needs to get it together on the road to avoid missing the playoffs again.
  5. Colorado Avalanche – While having one good line is great, getting secondary scoring would be great in order for the Avalanche to get in the playoffs.
  6. St. Louis Blues – Interestingly enough, the Blues find themselves in the playoff picture again. With trade deadline inching closer, which direction do the Blues head in?
  7. Chicago Blackhawks – While nobody expected Chicago to be in this position, the Blackhawks are playing better as of late and are in a position of being sellers.

Read More:

NHL Central Division Notebook: Two Teams Dominating

Photo Credit: By 5of7 (Nathan MacKinnon) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Jim is a 2008 graduate of Saint Michaels College who is currently writing the NHL Notebooks, Behind Enemy Lines, and Daily Links segments for Murphys Hockey Law and Boston Hockey Now an affiliate of National Hockey Now. Jim has a passion for the game of hockey as one coach put it "he is the student of the game. When Jim is not writing he can be found at the local rinks playing or being a referee. Throughout his time in the game, Jim coaches a local high school team in New Jersey. In addition, he broadcasted several New Jersey Junior Rockets games for the Eastern Hockey League. Reach him on Twitter: @JimBiringer

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