NHL Week in Review (April 14-20)

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The tragedy in Boston was felt all over the sports world and everything stood still on the day of the attacks and of the manhunt. In fact the Boston Bruins days were completely ended as two games were cancelled for the Bruins. It would be a necessary precaution for the fans of the event as safety was at the top of mind in making those decisions. Now with the manhunt finished and the problems solved for the time being the Bruins will try to get back to normal. They will look to provide a welcome distraction for the people of Boston while the rest of the NHL looks to be a welcome distraction for the sports world. With the events in Boston and Texas sports fans will welcome a distraction from the world for three hours here and there. This is where the NHL will step in as they look to provide a distraction for the coming months with one of the most exciting times of the season coming up. The NHL is at the end of their season meaning that the playoff race is coming to a close. Even with that there are still some spots open for teams and there are many teams still sitting on the edge of the playoffs. With only one week left in the season the playoff race will only heat up as spots are taken and more teams are eliminated. In the end there will be a point where only one spot remains and two teams are fighting it out for that last spot. It will be a real race to the finish as the regular season comes to a close in one of the most unique seasons in NHL history. This year began with a lockout and after only 48 games will begin the playoffs with plenty of new teams to mix things up. This year anything was possible and teams that had not been in the playoffs would finally get the chance to taste the NHL postseason. There is still plenty of time for these teams to slide out of the playoffs though as only a handful of teams have made the playoffs for sure. The Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins have risen to the top of the league with the Blackhawks clinching the Western Conference while the Penguins look to be on their way to doing the same in the East. Right behind them the Anaheim Ducks and Montreal Canadiens will be back in the playoffs sitting in second place. In the West the rest of the conference is wide open with four teams still seeing a chance at making the playoffs. The Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings will join the Ducks and the Blackhawks in the West leaving four spots for the rest of the conference. The Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars, Phoenix Coyotes, and Edmonton Oilers are all still in the hunt although with some of those teams having a much better shot than others. In the Eastern Conference the race is a lot smaller with only a few teams still in the hunt. The Washington Capitals remain at the top of the Southeast Division but are still looking for that clincher to guarantee them a spot. If they do not win they will likely not make the playoffs as they could fall to 9th place. With only three spots still up for grabs, after the Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a spot on Saturday, in the conference there are only two teams still fighting for one of them. The New Jersey Devils are the one team that seems to be on their way out as they do not have a lot of room for mistakes in their attempt at a playoff spot. The Winnipeg Jets are still in the fight and could take the fight right to the end of the season as they try to make their second season back as a franchise a successful one. The playoff race is winding down but getting more exciting as the NHL prepares for the playoffs in a bizarre season that will hopefully help the sports world find a sense of normalcy.

 

Overtime:
(Thoughts on the past week in the NHL)

Kipper’s Last Ride?
Miikka Kiprusoff has been in the headlines for much of the end of this season as the long time Calgary goaltender would refuse a trade and would lead many to believe he wishes to retire making this week the last of a great career

The Streak in Danger
The Detroit Red Wing shave been one of the most consistently successful teams in the NHL as they have made the playoffs for 21 straight seasons but this year the streak is in danger as they sit in 9th place hoping to make a last week run to continue the streak and make the playoffs

Open Air League
The NHL lost a lot of money with the lockout this year including what they would have earned for the Winter Classic and they might be trying to make up for it as they will finalize 6 outdoor games for the 2013-14 season including a game in Dodger Stadium in January

Draft Preparations
As teams continue to clinch playoff spots other teams continue to drop out of the race completely as they look towards the NHL draft for their next event with the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche racing to try to get the best odds in the draft lottery and a shot at Seth Jones

 

NHL Standings

Eastern Conference
Division Leaders:
1. d-Pittsburgh Penguins (68)
2. p-Montreal Canadiens (59)
3. Washington Capitals (52)
In the Playoffs:
4. p-Boston Bruins (57)
5. p-Toronto Maple Leafs (55)
6. New York Islanders (53)
7. Ottawa Senators (52)
8. New York Rangers (50)
In the Hunt:
9. Winnipeg Jets (49)
10. New Jersey Devils (44)
Out of the Running:
11. Buffalo Sabres (44)
12. Philadelphia Flyers (43)
13. Tampa Bay Lightning (38)
14. Carolina Hurricanes (37)
15. Florida Panthers (32)

 

Western Conference
Division Leaders:
1. c-Chicago Blackhawks (73)
2. p-Anaheim Ducks (60)
3. p-Vancouver Canucks (57)
In the Playoffs:
4. p-Los Angeles Kings (55)
5. San Jose Sharks (55)
6. St. Louis Blues (54)
7. Minnesota Wild (51)
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (49)
In the Hunt:
9. Detroit Red Wings (48)
10. Dallas Stars (47)
11. Phoenix Coyotes (46)
12. Edmonton Oilers (41)
Out of the Running:
13. Calgary Flames (40)
14. Nashville Predators (39)
15. Colorado Avalanche (35)

c-Clinched Conference
d-Clinched Division
p-Clinched Playoff Spot

 

Scores:
Detroit Red Wings 3 – 0 Nashville Predators
– The Red Wings need all of the points they can get as they are in danger of ending their 21 year-long playoff streak and they got some of the points they need against the Predators who could not play spoilers

Washington Capitals 5 – 1 Toronto Maple Leafs
– Two teams on the opposite ends of the spectrum heading into the playoffs faced off as the Leafs needed another win to potentially lock up a playoff spot while the Caps were just looking to continue their hot streak heading into the playoffs which they did

Los Angeles Kings 2 – 1 Columbus Blue Jackets
– The LA Kings look to be on their way to the playoffs to defend their title but the Jackets are just looking to make the playoffs this year as they try to complete their comeback season as they hoped to go from worst to the playoffs but it would take a step back against the Kings

Calgary Flames 3 – 1 Anaheim Ducks
– The Calgary Flames are not heading to the playoffs but they were looking to send their longtime goalie Miikka Kirpusoff off in style as he would win in what could be his last game in Calgary as rumours of retirement surround him

 

Next Week:
New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers (Sunday April 21st; 3:00 pm ET)
– The Hudson River Rivalry takes on a new level as the Devils are hanging on to their playoffs hopes by a thread and need this win against their division rivals if they hope to stay in the fight while the Rangers are looking to hold on to their playoff spot

Winnipeg Jets vs. Washington Capitals (Tuesday April 23rd; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Jets and Caps have been fighting for the division crown all year and the race may come down to the last week but one will take a chunk out of the other as they face off with the winner sitting in third place as the division leader

Anaheim Ducks vs. Vancouver Canucks (Thursday April 25th; 10:00 pm ET)
– The Ducks and the Canucks are both in the playoffs as Anaheim has clinched their spot and the Canucks will be there soon but the Canucks are still looking for a win to remain in the #3 seed and win the Northwest Division once again

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday April 27th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Leafs are hoping that they will be guaranteed a playoff appearance by the time they play the Canadiens but if they have not this game will be a very important one and if they have the game will serve as a confidence builder for whichever team wins

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