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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

Central Intelligence: December 18

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

Each Friday during the regular season, Wild.com will review the activity in the Central Division, taking a look at how the other teams performed in the past week.

Chicago Blackhawks

Record Last Week: 3-1-0

Overall Record:
18-11-4

Overview: The Blackhawks played in four shutouts this week, earning three victories, and one loss.

Chicago began its week by shutting out the Winnipeg Jets, 2-0, and the Vancouver Canucks, 4-0, both at United Center. Against Winnipeg, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each scored a power-play goal, and Corey Crawford made 25 saves.

Two night later, against Crawford made 30 saves, and Duncan Keith's power-play goal in the first period proved to be the game-winner.

The Colorado Avalanche flipped the script against the Blackhawks, shutting out Chiacgo 3-0, and in doing so, ended  Kane's point streak at 26 games. Kane had no shots on goal, in 23:11 of ice time.



Chicago rebounded to end its week with a 4-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers. Crawford earned another shutout, stopping all 33 shots he faced,  Toews had a goal and two assists, and Tuevo Teravainen had two goals and an assist.

Week Ahead: Saturday, at Buffalo; Sunday, vs. San Jose; Tuesday, at Dallas

Colorado Avalanche

Record Last Week: 4-0-0

Overall Record:
16-16-1

Overview: The Avalanche put together its longest winning-streak of the season, surpassing a three-game streak it had between November 10, and November 14.

Colorado's week began with a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators. The Avalanche was outshot 36-25, but got goals from Francois Beauchemin, Nick Holden, and Andreas Martinsen, and 34 saves from Semyon Varlamov.

The Avalanche was then outshot 43-18 by the St. Louis Blues, but defeated its divisional rival, 3-1. Varlamov made 42 saves, and the Avalanche held off a Blues rally in the third period when St. Louis took 18 shots.

Colorado then traveled to United Center, and defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-0. The Avalanche was again outshot (29 to 27), but Varlamov earned his first shutout of the season, Duchene scored his team-leading 16th goal, and Nathan MacKinnon picked up his team-leading 17th assist.

The Avalanche's week finished with a 2-1 win against the New York Islanders. Colorado was outshot for the fourth time (34-30), Varlamov made 33 saves, and Beauchemin scored twice, including the game-winner with 3:48 remaining in regulation.

Week Ahead: Saturday, vs. Edmonton; Monday, vs. Toronto

Dallas Stars

Record Last Week: 2-2-0

Overall Record:
23-7-2

Overview: The Stars alternated wins and losses last week, scoring eight times in two victories, and once in its two losses.

Dallas began its week with a 3-1 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. Dallas took 44 shots on goal, including 21 combined by John Klingberg, Patrick Sharp, Jamie Benn, and Tyler Seguin. Benn scored an empty-net goal, his NHL-leading 20th goal of the season.

The Stars were then shut out for the first time this season in a 3-0 loss against the Blues. Sharp and Benn combined for 12 of Dallas' 26 shots on goal, and Antti Niemi made 23 saves.

Dallas got back to its offensive ways in its next game with a 5-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Kari Lehtonen made 34 saves, and Seguin scored two goals.

In its final game of the week, the Stars lost to the Calgary Flames, 3-1. Dallas outshot Calgary 36-27, and led 1-0 in the first period on a Johnny Oduya shorthanded goal, but Calgary scored the next three, including the game-winner by Dougie Hamilton with 28 seconds remaining in the first period.

Week Ahead: Saturday, vs. Montreal; Monday, at Minnesota; Tuesday, vs. Chicago

Nashville Predators

Record Last Week: 0-2-1

Overall Record:
15-11-6

Overview: The Predators suffered their second three-game losing streak this season (0-2-1) having also lost three consecutive regulation games between November 20 and November 23.

It began with a 3-2 loss against the Avalanche. Nashville outshot Colorado 36-25, and erased a 2-0 defiicit with goals from Mikka Salomaki and Craig Smith, but Colorado scored the game-winner midway though the third.

The Predators then lost to the Calgary Flames, 2-1, in overtime. A Cody Hodgson penalty shot goal gave Nashville a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Nashville took nine combined shots on goal over the second and third periods, and Kris Russell scored 83 seconds into overtime for the Flames.

Nashville's week ended with a 2-1 loss against the St. Louis Blues. Again, the Predators took a first period lead when Roman Josi scored a power play goal, but the Blues scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner with 5:20 remaining in regulation.

Week Ahead: Saturday, vs. Minnesota; Monday, vs. Montreal

St. Louis Blues

Record Last Week: 3-1-0

Overall Record:
19-10-4

Overview: The Blues won three times last week, holding their opponents to a combined four goals in those three victories. It started with a 3-0 win against the Stars, marking the first time Dallas has been shut out this season. David Backes and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored, and Jake Allen made 26 saves to earn his fourth shutout of the season.

St. Louis' week continued with its only setback, a 3-1 loss against the Avalanche. The Blues took 43 shots on goal, but Varlamov turned aside 42, and Tarasenko scored the St. Louis' lone goal, on the power play, in the third period.

The Blues got back in the win column at MTS Center with a 4-3 win against the Jets. St. Louis trailed 3-2 entering the third, but Tarasenko tied the game with a power-play goal 51 seconds in before Paul Stastny scored the game-winner with 3:38 remaining in regulation.

In their final game of the week, the Blues picked up their eighth win against a Central Division team, the most among any team in the division, with a 2-1 victory against the Predators. Backes and Tarasenko each scored again, with Tarasenko's goal again coming on the power play.

St. Louis' leading goal scorer, Tarasenko is now tied with Benn atop the NHL with 20. He scored a goal in each of the Blues' games last week, and has goals in six of his past seven games.

Week Ahead: Saturday, vs. Calgary; Monday, at Philadelphia; Tuesday, at Boston

Winnipeg Jets

Record Last Week: 0-2-0

Overall Record:
14-15-2

Overview: The Jets lost both of the games they played last week, 2-0 against the Blackhawks, and 4-3 against the Blues, dropping Winnipeg to 3-10-0 against the Central.

Against Chicago, Winnipeg gave up two power-play goals on five shorthanded opportunities. It was goalie Connor Hellebuyck's first career NHL loss, droppig his record to 4-1-0.

In its other game, the Jets led the Blues 3-2 to start the third period on the strength of goals from Mark Scheifele, Chris Thorburn, and Drew Stafford, but Winnipeg conceded two goals in the third period to lose its lead. Hellebuyck lost again, making 22 saves on 26 shots.

Week Ahead: Friday, vs. New York Rangers; Monday, at Edmonton; Tuesday, at Calgary

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