Posted by Katie Peverada
Since last week, the Bruins have continued their hot streak, adding four more wins to bring their streak to 12 and their power ranking to number one. Pittsburgh, the team that never seems to struggle, is suddenly 5-4-1, including 2-3-1 in their last six, and has fallen out of this week's Super Six. The two teams that have locked up playoff spots, Boston and St. Louis, are gearing up for a fight to the finish for the Presidents' Trophy.
1. Boston Bruins: Though the Bruins still have no one in the top 20 offensively, Jarome Iginla did score five goals in Boston's four games last week, helping to extend their win-streak to 12 games. Iginla leads the Bruins with 28 goals on the season, and is still in the top three in +/- rankings (+32). It's this stellar two way play-as a team, Boston is first with a +78, 10 ahead of St. Louis-that has allowed the Bruins to rack up 103 points on the season and tie with St. Louis for top in the league. An upcoming showdown against Chicago on Thursday will give the Bruins a chance to flex their muscles against the West, the conference they are 16-4-4 against this year.
2. San Jose: The Sharks next win will give them a playoff spot, and they're bound to get it in one of their next three games, as they face Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. The big story here, though, is that despite dropping winnable games against Washington (a shootout loss) and Florida, they beat Anaheim to overtake them for first in the Pacific Division and the second spot in the West. Antti Niemi leads the league in wins (35), and Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton are both above 56 percent in the circle and on the doorstep of 70-point seasons. There's no denying the Sharks are a strong team that is peaking at the right time-they are 7-1-2 in their last 10-but the question remains whether they will be able to uphold this level of play in the playoffs.
3. St. Louis: St. Louis has 103 points, is tied for the Presidents' Trophy, and has already booked a trip to the playoffs for the third straight year. The acquisition of Ryan Miller at the trade deadline bolstered their already strong goaltending and pushed them to a 7-2-1 record over the last 10. However, those two losses came in consecutive games, a 4-0 loss to Chicago and a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia. Normally, losing 4-0 to Chicago, a division rival and a probable playoff foe, would be concerning, but if there is one thing St. Louis has shown this season, it is the ability to close out. The Blues are 30-0-4 when leading after the second period. Additionally, because of the way coach Ken Hitchcock has spread around the minutes, the team is well rested as they battle Boston for the most points.
4. Anaheim: It took a while, but the Ducks' mediocre play of late has knocked them all the way down to...third place in the Western Conference. They shook off their recent play, though, with a 6-2 pounding of the Florida Panthers. Furthermore, their next four games are against teams in the bottom 10 of the league, including two teams with losing records. As long as they can get the wins where they should, and weather defenseman Cam Fowler's knee injury, they should still be able to get a favorable first-round matchup.
5. Los Angeles: The Kings are only in sixth place in the West, eight points behind Colorado, but their recent run, and Jonathan Quick's acrobatics, are enough to put them in this spot. With Saturday's win over Florida, the Kings have now reached the 40-win mark in four-straight seasons (excluding last year's lockout-shortened season). Quick has led the team to 10 wins in their last 13 games, and surpassed the franchise's all-time wins mark, the 171 wins of Rogie Vachon, with his 172nd in that win against Florida. The next record Quick is looking to eclipse? The career shutout record of 32, held by Vachon, is only two ahead of Quick's 30.
6. Chicago: The Hawks convincing 4-0 win over St. Louis last week was a bittersweet 700th win for Chicago and coach Joel Quenneville. Chicago showed that they are still Chicago, getting big victories against top teams. However, the win also had a loss, as leading scorer Patrick Kane was injured and subsequently put on the Injured Reserve List. But while not having Kane will hurt Chicago, the Hawks have a 700-win coach behind the bench who will be able to solve their recent troubles. The Hawks, one of the deepest teams in the league, have called up top-prospect Teuvo Teravainen to see what he can do. Teravainen plays a similar, play-making role like Kane. Hopefully, he can fill that role.