NHL Week in Review (April 21-27)

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The NHL is ready for one of the best parts of the season as they move towards the NHL playoffs and the Stanley Cup. With the season coming to a close it is time to take a look back at the season that was in the league. The season would start off in a very strange way as the NHL and NHLPA would be locked in yet another CBA negotiation. They would lose a large part of the season as the two sides would continue to fight over the slice of pie each side would get of NHL revenue. The season would finally get underway but would look much different from anyone thought the 2012-13 season would look like. The season would be only 48 games and would force teams to play multiple back to back games and more games in a short period than any team was used to. As the season began everyone was wondering where the season would go and what effect the season was going to have on the teams. Anything could happen with so few games making every game more important. Teams with no shot in a regular season all of a sudden had a chance if they could only get off to a great start. These teams would all look to get off to a great start but only one team would get the start they were hoping for. The Chicago Blackhawks would start the season with a 24 game winning streak launching them to the top of the standings where they would stay for the rest of the season. The Blackhawks would not be the only team to go on a great winning streak as the Pittsburgh Penguins would do the same in the middle of the season when they would win 15 games in a row. The season for these two teams was great and somewhat expected for the two best teams in the NHL. Not every team was expected to do as well as these two teams with many teams trying to figure things out with a short season to do so. That included two teams that have been in the NHL since the start and have two of the biggest followings. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been out of the playoffs for 9 years while the Montreal Canadiens were one of the worst teams in the league last year. Both would have much better seasons this year as both teams would make the playoffs. The teams were not the only stars this year as there were plenty of players who stood out. Sidney Crosby would return from his concussion with a great season as he would end the season at the top of the scoring charts, even if he had his bouts with multiple injuries. Meanwhile Martin St. Louis proved to be ageless while his teammate Steven Stamkos continued to be one of the best players in the NHL. The season was a strange one with usually solid teams struggled to get a footing while teams that were just looking to hang around got the start that they needed. As expected in a short season the usual thoughts on how teams win went out the door. The teams that could start hot had a better chance of making the playoffs with no time to cool off. The teams that started slow did not have the time to get back into the playoff hunt. Through the season eight teams in the West and eight teams in the East would come out above all to make it into one of the wildest tournaments in sports. If the regular season is any barometer on how the playoffs will go it should be a great year on the road to the Stanley Cup. This year’s playoffs will see two powerhouse teams lead the way to the Stanley Cup but the question will be whether or not they can pull it off. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks will be the favorites going into the playoffs but there are always teams looking to unseat the top of the heap. Anything is possible in the NHL playoffs and the two best teams might not win with surprises almost certain.

 

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

Outstanding or Valuable
The MVP race is heating up in the NHL and a new debate is beginning to take shape as multiple players could win but who could be based on whether they will award it to the most valuable player to their team or the most outstanding player in the league

The Streak intact
The Detroit Red Wings were in danger of losing one of the most impressive streaks in the NHL as they looked to be on the outside of the playoffs for the first time in 21 years but they would pull it off in the final week and keep the streak intact earning a playoffs spot

The Veteran Scoring King
Sidney Crosby had been out with an injury for months but still remain at the top of the scoring charts in the NL until this week when the 37-year-old Martin St. Louis would finally pass him and become the oldest scoring leader in NHL history

A lot still to be decided
The Western Conference is completely set for the playoffs but the Eastern Conference has a lot left to decide as the last game of the season means a lot to a number of teams with the game determining the future of other teams

 

NHL Standings

Eastern Conference
Division Leaders:
1. c-Pittsburgh Penguins (72)
2. p-Montreal Canadiens (63)
3. d-Washington Capitals (57)
In the Playoffs:
4. p-Boston Bruins (62)
5. p-Toronto Maple Leafs (57)
6. p-New York Rangers (56)
7. p-New York Islanders (55)
8. p-New York Rangers (54)
Out of the Running:
9. Winnipeg Jets (51)
10. Philadelphia Flyers (49)
11. New Jersey Devils (48)
12. Buffalo Sabres (48)
13. Carolina Hurricanes (42)
14. Tampa Bay Lightning (40)
15. Florida Panthers (36)

 

Western Conference
Division Leaders:
1. l-Chicago Blackhawks (77)
2. d-Anaheim Ducks (66)
3. d-Vancouver Canucks (59)
In the Playoffs:
4. p-St. Louis Blues (60)
5. p-Los Angeles Kings (59)
6. p-San Jose Sharks (57)
7. p-Detroit Red Wings (56)
8. p-Minnesota Wild (55)
Out of the Running:
9. Columbus Blue Jackets (55)
10. Phoenix Coyotes (51)
11. Dallas Stars (48)
12. Edmonton Oilers (45)
13. Calgary Flames (42)
14. Nashville Predators (41)
15. Colorado Avalanche (39)

 

l-Clinched President’s Trophy
c-Clinched Conference
d-Clinched Division
p-Clinched Playoff Spot

 

Scores:
Washington Capitals 5 – 3 Winnipeg Jets
– The Jets are only in their second year as a franchise again and they were looking to make it a successful year as they were close to getting into the playoffs but they wouldn’t be able to do it as they lost to the Capitals and were officially eliminated from the playoffs

Tampa Bay Lightning 5 – 3 Toronto Maple Leafs
– The Lightning would go into their game against the Leafs with two players with the potential to pass Sidney Crosby in the scoring race and Martin St. Louis would do just that scoring three goals and becoming the oldest Scoring champion in NHL history

Detroit Red Wings 5 – 2 Nashville Predators
– The Red Wings were in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 21 years but they would come back in the last week including with this win as they would beat the Preds and move further into the playoffs

Minnesota Wild 3 – 1 Colorado Avalanche
– The Wild had been fighting for the division only a month ago but have fallen far from that point and were in danger of being eliminated from the playoffs until they beat the Avalanche in their last game of the season

 

Next Week:
Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins (Sunday April 28th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The last game of the season will mean a lot to the Eastern Conference as a number of teams will be affected by the results as a Boston win will win them the division while a loss will give the Canadiens the division and the Senators need a point to move up one spot

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