Posted by Katie Peverada
Sure, it's officially the Olympic break for the NHL and players are either lounging in Hawaii or feeling out their new line mates in Sochi. The next NHL game isn't until Feb. 25, but that doesn't mean the teams can't be ranked one last time before they go on their two-week hiatus. Let's take a look at the NHL's Super Six, which the Western Conference continues to dominate.
1. St. Louis Blues: The Blues are three points behind Anaheim in the overall standings, 87 to 84, but the Blues have three games in hand and won their last two games heading into the break. Additionally, their +61 goal differential is top in the league, and they're in the top five in several offensive and defensive categories, such as point percentage (.737) and are second in points per game with 3.32.
2. Chicago Blackhawks: Some might say Chicago doesn't deserve the second spot, losing to Phoenix 2-0 in their last game, which Patrick Kane didn't play in. But they tend to play down to their opponents, their offense continues to be strong and their league-leading 207 goals is 11 more than any other team. Most importantly, the Blackhawks just finished their worst stretch of the season, the traditional California trip, and still remain third in the standings. With a shutout win over the Ducks, they proved that they were one of the top teams.
3. Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks lost five of seven home games heading into the break and are 5-5 in their last 10. But even though they are skidding a little right now, they're still first in total points (87). The Olympic break will give them a chance to gear up for their first game back, a showdown with the Blues, and give them a chance to prove that they should be number one.
4. San Jose Sharks: San Jose, 6-4 in their last 10, entered the break on a two-game winning streak. Their offense is a bit anemic in the goal department, but it is putting up massive amounts of shots - 60 against Edmonton - that will soon find the back of the net. They should be able to make up for their seven-point deficit to Anaheim after the break.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins: That Pittsburgh is the only team from the Eastern Conference to crack the top six is maybe surprising, but that the Penguins entered the break fourth in the NHL is not. Playing with vengeful energy from being spurned from the Canadian Olympic team, Mark-Andre Fleury has posted a save-percentage above .900 in five straight games. Fleury leads the NHL with 31 wins and teammate Sidney Crosby leads the league with 78 points. The Penguins also have two games in-hand on the Ducks and Blackhawks, and are thus once again very much in the race for the President's Trophy (awarded to the team with the most points).
6. Colorado Avalanche: Colorado only have a +21 goal differential, but have somehow still managed to remain within striking distance of the Ducks with 79 points and two games in-hand. Their nine wins in the last 12 games is due in large part to their goaltending.