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Surging Blackhawks move into fifth in West

Tuesday, 03.01.2011 / 1:15 AM / Countdown to the Playoffs

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Surging Blackhawks move into fifth in West
The trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. Monday, as several teams tweaked their rosters with hopes of enjoying a nice run during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

When the smoke cleared, there were only four teams in action Monday night, but both games certainly had huge playoff implications in the Western Conference.

Here's a look at how the races in each conference shape up after Monday night's games:

Eastern Conference

Division leaders

Philadelphia (86 points) was idle. The Flyers do not return to the ice until Thursday, when they'll host Toronto at the Wells Fargo Center.

Tampa Bay (81 points), which has a five-point lead atop the Southeast Division, was off. The Bolts play the second of a three-game road trip on Wednesday at New Jersey.

Boston (79 points), winners of five straight on the road, look to close out its remarkable trip with a win at Ottawa on Tuesday. In Canada, you can catch the game on TSN.

The next five:

Pittsburgh (80 points) did not play Monday. The Penguins return to the ice on Wednesday at Toronto.
 
Washington (76 points) was also off Monday night, though it acquired Dennis Wideman from Florida and Jason Arnott from New Jersey in the afternoon. The Capitals conclude a home-and-home series with the Islanders on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.
 
Montreal (73 points) was idle Monday. The sixth-place Habs face Atlanta on Tuesday at Philips Arena. Canadian viewers can catch all the action on RDS.

New York Rangers (70 points) were off Monday, but they couldn't avoid the injury bug as backup goalie Martin Biron suffered a broken collarbone. The Blueshirts, who acquired John Mitchell from Toronto right at the deadline, host Buffalo on Tuesday. The game can be seen on Versus in the U.S. and TSN2 in Canada.

Carolina (67 points)
was off on Monday. The Hurricanes host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at the RBC Center.

On the outside looking in:

Buffalo (65 points) was also off Monday. The Sabres face the Rangers in Manhattan on Tuesday night, when Brad Boyes is expected to make his debut for Buffalo after being acquired from St. Louis on Sunday night.
 
Toronto (63 points) was idle Monday. One of the hotter teams in the East -- the Leafs have earned points in nine of their last 10 games (5-1-4) -- they'll host Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
 
Atlanta (63 points), whish managed to pull even with Toronto by rallying for a 3-2 overtime win against the Leafs on Sunday, plays the third match of its five-game homestand on Tuesday against Montreal.

Florida (59 points) was in selling mode Monday, trading away Wideman and Radek Dvorak. The Panthers visit Carolina on Tuesday night.

New Jersey (58 points)
is back to within single digits of a playoff spot thanks to Sunday's 2-1 victory at Florida. The Devils, who acquired David Steckel in the deal that sent Jason Arnott to Washington on Monday, host Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

Western Conference

Division leaders:

Vancouver (87 points) was idle on Monday. The Canucks host Columbus on Tuesday in the fifth of a six-game homestand.

Detroit (84 points) moved within three points of the No. 1 seed in the West with a 7-4 win at Los Angeles on Monday night. The Red Wings continue their West Coast trip on Wednesday at Anaheim.

San Jose (78 points) enjoyed the weekend off and returns to the ice Tuesday against Colorado at HP Pavilion. The Sharks are home for their next six games and 13 of their last 19.

The next five:

Phoenix (76 points) moved within two points of first-place San Jose in the Pacific Division with a 4-3 shootout loss at Chicago on Sunday. After a night off Monday, the Coyotes will host Dallas on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (74 points) was feeling giddy Monday afternoon when it acquired Dustin Penner from Edmonton, but the mood changed drastically later on thanks to a 7-4 loss to Detroit at the Staples Center. The Kings continue their homestand on Thursday against Phoenix.

Chicago (74 points) made it five in a row Monday with a 4-2 win at Minnesota. The surging Blackhawks return to action on Wednesday against Calgary at the United Center.

Calgary (73 points) gained sole possession of sixth place in the Western Conference with a 1-0 win against St. Louis at Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday night. The Flames return to action on Tuesday night against the Blues in the conclusion of a home-and-home series.

Dallas (72 points) has won back-to-back games after a 1-8-1 slide dropped them out of the top eight in the West. The Stars were off Monday but return to the ice Tuesday to face Phoenix at Jobing.com Arena.

On the outside looking in:

Minnesota (72 points) failed to gain any ground Monday night in a 4-2 loss on home ice against Chicago. The Wild return to the ice on Wednesday against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Nashville (72 points)
is even with Minnesota and Dallas following Sunday's 3-2 win against Columbus at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators, who scored all of their goals in the third period, visit Edmonton on Tuesday. 

Anaheim (71 points) ended a five-game skid Sunday night and will be idle for a couple of days. The Ducks return to action Wednesday against Detroit.

Columbus (68 points) began a five-game trip in losing fashion Sunday in a 3-2 loss at Nashville. The Blue Jackets now head to Western Canada for the next three, beginning with Tuesday's match at Vancouver.

St. Louis (65 points) failed to pick up any points Sunday as it dropped a 1-0 decision at Calgary. The Blues conclude their home-and-home series with the Flames on Tuesday at the Scottrade Center.
Quote of the Day

I think that’s the sign of a good team. When you don’t play well, and you don’t stay focused and you don’t do the intangibles that it takes, you still win the hockey game.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano after their win vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday
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