Clearly feeling the pressure of being the top team in the Super 16, the Detroit Red Wings
stumbled badly last week. They lost all three of their games and dropped two at Joe Louis Arena after winning 23 straight there, a clear sign that the honor that is being the top team in the NHL.com power rankings can be a burden.
Or maybe the Red Wings were without Pavel Datsyuk
due to knee surgery and they were long overdue to drop a game or two at home.
Either way, as we move past the three-quarter point of the season, the Red Wings are no longer on top. That spot now belongs to the Vancouver Canucks
, who ended that 23-game win streak and have earned points in 16 of their last 17 games.
The Coyotes are 11th in the overall standings, but they move up to third this week because they have been playing some unreal hockey for nearly a month. The Sharks have dropped out completely after losing for the sixth time in seven games Sunday.
Those are just some of the highlights of this week's Super 16. Along with the rankings that don't mean a thing to anyone involved, we take a look at what each team is facing as they head into their final 20 games or so.
If you have any problems, questions, anger or praise for this list, you can let me know on Twitter: @davelozo
||The Canucks play 13 of their final 19 games at home. They have a seven-game homestand to start March and a five-game homestand to end the month that leaks into April.
||St. Louis (38-17-7)
||The Blues are 26-4-4 at home, 12-13-3 on the road. Thirteen of their final 20 games are away from Scottrade Center. If the Blues want home-ice in the first round, they'll need to pick it up on the road.
The Coyotes haven't lost in regulation since Jan. 31 and are 10-0-1 in their last 11 games. They'll get to play the Blue Jackets three times and seven other games against teams outside the West top 8 to finish the season.
||N.Y. Rangers (39-15-6)
||It's tough to find a team with a busier March schedule. They play 17 games in 30 days, but the bright side is 10 of their opponents are in the bottom half of the League standings.
||If the Predators want to climb the Central Division ladder, they won't have many chances to take care of business directly; they play the Wings twice and Blues just once more this season.
Travel for Detroit is always rough as an Eastern Time Zone team playing in the Western Conference, but the Wings play outside their time zone just four times in their final 19 games.
The Bruins are just 11-9-2 in their last 22 games, not exactly the work of a dominant Stanley Cup contender. They'll need to spend the final 20 games finding the spark that made the League's best team in November and December.
||New Jersey (35-22-4)
||The Devils went 28-10-3 in the second half of last season. In the second half so far this season, they are 12-6-2. The difference now is they are surging into the playoffs and not the offseason.
||The Flyers have their eyes on the playoffs, but the biggest thing for them over the final quarter of the season is integrating defensemen Nicklas Grossman and Pavel Kubina and getting them comfortable.
||With Craig Anderson out after slicing his finger, you have to hand it to GM Brian Murray for getting Ben Bishop. How the Senators manage their goaltending situation going forward will be fascinating.
||Ray Emery joined the Ducks last season in March and went 7-2-0 with a 2.28 GAA and .926 save percentage. Just something to keep in mind if the Blackhawks continue to stumble down the stretch.
How the Avs' final 19 games go will be heavily predicated on what they do on deadline day. They have a plethora of UFAs to deal, but they're just two points out of eighth place and heating up.
||Should the Ducks make the postseason, it would mark the biggest overcome deficit (12 points) to reach the postseason. The Ducks were 20 points out on Jan. 6.
Talk about a team that can go either way on deadline day. They are three points out of third and two points clear of ninth. If Joe Nieuwendyk
stands pat, the Stars could do some great things.
||The Jets are the Stars of the East - two points out of third, one point clear of ninth. If they can play .500 hockey on the road (they are 11-17-4 this season), a Southeast title is within their grasp.