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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

Central Intelligence: January 1

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: 2-1-0

Overall Record:
22-13-4

Overview: The Blackhawks lost to the Carolina Hurricanes last week before winning two games in which they scored a combined 11 goals.

Chicago outshot Carolina 36-27, but lost 2-1 at United Center. Brent Seabrook scored with three seconds remaining in regulation to draw the Blackhawks within a goal on their 36th shot against Eddie Lack, but ran out of time to tie the score.

The goals began to come in the Blackhawks' next two games. After scoring once on 36 shots two nights prior, Chicago scored seven times on 28 shots against the Coyotes in a 7-5 victory. The Blackhawks led by as much as 6-2 after Andrew Desjardins scored his second goal of the game, but Chicago found itself up 6-4 and defending a 6-on-4 late in the game when Jonathan Toews scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal to seal the win. Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith each also had a goal and an assist.

In their final game of the week, on New Year's Eve, the Blackhawks let a two-goal lead slip against the Colorado Avalanche before winning, 4-3, in overtime. Desjardins and Kane scored 2:13 apart early in the second period to make it 3-1 Chicago, but Colorado managed to tie the game at three, before Toews scored the overtime-winner, his NHL-leading fourth overtime goal this season.

Week Ahead: Sunday, vs. Ottawa; Tuesday, at Pittsburgh; Thursday, vs. Pittsburgh

Colorado Avalanche

Record Last Week: 1-0-2

Overall Record:
18-17-3

Overview: The Avalanche capped off one of its most successful Decembers in franchise history by earning four of a possible six points.

In its first game of the week, Colorado wrapped up a four-game home stand with a 2-1, overtime loss against the Arizona Coyotes. The Avalanche took 39 shots on goal, and Jarome Iginla scored on the power play — career goal number 599— to give Colorado a 1-0 lead in the first period. But Colorado was held scoreless the rest of the way over 25 shots on goal, and Mikkel Boedker won it for Arizona with 43 seconds remaining in overtime.

The Avalanche then defeated the Sharks 6-3 for its ninth win in December, one shy of tying a franchise mark. Colorado was outshot 38-26, but got 35 saves from Calvin Pickard, and a hat trick from Nathan MacKinnon, the second of his three-year career.

Colorado then salvaged a point against the Blackhawks on New Year's Eve in a 4-3 overtime loss. Carl Soderberg scored a first period power-play goal to put the Avalanche ahead, but Chicago scored the next three goals, before Colorado managed to erase that two goal deficit and force overtime.

Week Ahead: Saturday, vs. Calgary; Monday, vs. Los Angeles; Wednesday, vs. St. Louis

Dallas Stars

Record Last Week: 2-1-1

Overall Record:
28-8-3

Overview: The Stars wrapped up 2015 by jumping to the top of the NHL standings with a five-point week. Dallas came out of the holiday break with a home-and-home against the St. Louis Blues, losing the first game 3-2 in a shootout, before winning 3-0 at home the next night.

In the shootout loss, Tyler Seguin scored with 37 seconds remaining in the second period to give Dallas its first lead of the game at 2-1, but Robby Fabbri tied the game with 1:50 left in regulation, and David Backes scored the shootout-winning goal in the ninth round.

The next night, Kari Lehtonen stopped 22 shots for his first shutout of the season, and Patrick Sharp and Jamie Benn each had a goal and an assist to lead Dallas to a 3-0 victory.

The Stars week continued to Nationwide Arena with a 6-3 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dallas took 43 shots on goal, the sixth time this season Dallas has taken 40 or more shots in game, but Columbus chased Lehtonen in the first period after allowing three goals on 14 shots.

In its final game of the year, Dallas defeated the Nashville Predators, 5-1. Trailing 1-0 midway through the second period, the Stars scored five goals over the next 23 minutes, with Seguin scoring, Benn picking up a goal and an assist, and Jason Spezza chipping in with two assists.

Week Ahead: Saturday, at New Jersey; Sunday, at New York Islanders; Tuesday, at New York Rangers; Thursday, vs. Winnipeg

Nashville Predators

Record Last Week: 1-2-1

Overall Record:
18-13-7

Overview: The Predators came out of the holiday break playing the second half of a four-game homestand before beginning a three-game road trip.

Against the Detroit Red Wings, the Predators traded goals in a game that saw five lead-changes, but Detroit's Luke Glendening broke a 2-2 tie in the third, and Nashville lost 3-2. Filip Forsberg had two goals for the Predators.

Nashville then finished up its homestand with a 5-3 win against the New York Rangers. Forsberg scored again, James Neal had two goals, Mike Ribeiro had three assists, and Roman Josi had two.

The Predators then traveled to Scottrade Center and lost to the Blues, 4-3, in overtime. Nashville trailed 3-1 with less than four minutes remaining in the third period, but Shea Weber and Colin Wilson each scored to force overtime and earn the Predators at least a point.

Nashville then finished its week and year with a 5-1 loss at United Center against the Stars. Craig Smith scored the lone goal for the Predators.

Week Ahead: Saturday, at Carolina; Tuesday, vs. Winnipeg

St. Louis Blues

Record Last Week: 2-2-0
Overall Record:
23-13-4

Overview: The Blues alternated wins and losses last week playing all four of its games against divisional opponents. St. Louis came out of the holiday break with two games against the Stars, splitting a home-and-home.

The first of those games, a 3-2 shootout victory, saw the Blues tie the game on a Fabbri goal with 1:50 remaining in the third period, before five St. Louis players scored in the shootout, capped off by Backes' game-winning goal in the ninth round.

The next night, the Blues were shut out for the third time this season in a 3-0 loss against Dallas. Brian Elliott made 35 saves for St. Louis, who was outshot 29-12 over the first two periods.

The Blues got back in the win column two nights later with a 4-3 overtime win against Nashville. St. Louis held a two-goal lead with 3:52 remaining in regulation before the Predators scored two quick goals to tie the game. Alexander Steen scored with 59 seconds remaining in overtime to earn the Blues a second point.

St. Louis then played on New Year's Eve, and lost to the Minnesota Wild 3-1. Kevin Shattenkirk scored on the power play to put the Blues ahead 1-0, but the Wild would score the game's final three goals and got 33 saves from Devan Dubnyk.

Week Ahead: Saturday, at Toronto; Monday, vs. Ottawa; Wednesday, at Colorado

Winnipeg Jets

Record Last Week: 2-1-0

Overall Record:
17-18-2

Overview: The Jets picked up two wins at home last week before beginning a five-game road trip, its longest of the season.

Playing the Pittsburgh Penguins at MTS Center, a first period penalty shot goal by Bryan Little accounted for all the offense, and the Jets won 1-0. Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves to earn his first career NHL shutout.

The Jets then defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 4-1, behind two goals from Jacob Trouba. He scored shorthanded in the first period to put Winnipeg up 1-0, and then again at even-strength midway through the second period to extend the Jets' lead to 4-0. Hellebuyck made 33 saves to improve his record to 7-3-0.

Winnipeg then began its road trip with a 4-2 loss against the Arizona Coyotes. Despite outshooting Arizona 37-21, Winnipeg allowed two power-play goals, and then an empty-net goal by Shane Doan with 16 seconds remaining put the game out of reach. Doan, who also scored earlier in the game, passed Dale Hawerchuck for the most goals in Coyotes franchise history.

Week Ahead: Saturday, at San Jose; Sunday, at Anaheim; Tuesday, at Nashville; Thursday, at Dallas

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