Posted by Katie Peverada
Despite finally losing this week, the Bruins put a lock on the Atlantic Division title after going 15-1-1 in March. Another five teams checked the box for a playoff spot this week, including Chicago, which is currently on a three-game losing streak. Los Angeles, which currently holds the longest active win streak (six), looks eerily similar to the Cup winning team from 2011, and makes an appearance in this week's Super Six.
1. Boston Bruins: Though their winning streak ended at 15 games, they still have nine straight victories on the road. The Bruins also hold the best record against the Eastern Conference this season at 34-13-2. Furthermore, their 18-4-4 record against the Western Conference is pretty spectacular as well. Tuukka Rask continues to lead the NHL in shutouts (seven) and Jarome Iginla had five goals on his way to Star of the Week. It appears, then, that no matter whom or where the Bruins play, they will win. If the postseason started today, the Bruins would take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. And they would win the series in four games.
2. St. Louis Blues: Prediction: the Blues will win the West. There's no denying Ryan Miller has had a positive impact since joining St. Louis (9-3-1), but if the Blues want to steal the Presidents' Trophy from the Bruins, he has to get wins in two upcoming matchups against Dallas and Chicago - the two teams that have combined to give him those three losses. Overall, though, the Blues remain the most complete team in the Western Conference, especially now that Chicago has the injury bug. It seems the only thing the Blues are missing is production from trade deadline acquisition Steve Ott (0 G, 2 A).
3. Los Angeles Kings: The Kings are 7-3-0 in the last 10 and 13-3-0 since returning from the Olympics. However, no matter how many more games they win, they're pretty much stuck with the third spot in the Pacific Division, with 11 and nine points separating them from the teams above and below them in the standings, respectively. The Kings are scary on the strength of Jonathan Quick's goaltending and the offense and defense of Selke Trophy seeker Anze Kopitar. Kopitar leads LA in scoring with 24 goals and 38 assists, with a +28 to boot. The Kings one low-light right now, though, is that no other players have more than 50 points (only three have over 40). Hop on the Quick and Kopitar train while you can.
4. Anaheim Ducks: Some might knock the Ducks down a spot or two because of their weak schedule the past few games, but wins are wins and the Ducks are back on top of the Pacific Division with 104 points, leading San Jose by one. With upcoming games against Winnipeg, Edmonton and Nashville, the Ducks should be looking to take the number two seed from San Jose when they face off on April 9. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have both cracked the top-10 scoring list, 81 and 74 respectively, picking up the offense right when they need it.
5. Colorado Avalanche: Luckily, the Avalanche have already clinched their first playoff appearance since 2009-10, because they are now going to be without leading scorer Matt Duchene for four weeks with an MCL sprain. That's bad news at any point in the season, but especially when you're facing the Rangers, Blues and Penguins in your next few games. Semyon Varlamov will have to continue his strong play in net (league leading 37 wins) and captain Gabriel Landeskog will have to rally the troops and continue with his own strong play (24 G, 37 A).
6. San Jose Sharks: Of late, the Sharks have dropped close games they would have won a few weeks ago, essentially giving the division back to Anaheim. How they play in their upcoming games won't affect their spot in the playoffs, but it will affect how far they go. The Sharks don't have an easy road ahead, facing the Kings, Ducks, Avalanche and Coyotes before the season ends. The more they lose those games - especially the one against Anaheim - the more likely they are to face streaking LA in the first