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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

Central Intelligence: January 15

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: 4-0-0

Overall Record:
29-13-4

Overview: The Blackhawks won four times last week to extend a season-long winning streak to nine games.

Chicago's week began by outshooting the Buffalo Sabres 45-29 and winning, 3-1. Ryan O'Reilly tied the game for the Sabres with 8:23 remaining in regulation, but Sam Reinhart scored his first career NHL goal with 4:59 remaining for the Blackhawks, and then Jonathan Toews sealed the game with an empty-netter.

In their next game, the Blackhawks built a 2-0 first period lead and never looked back, defeating the Colorado Avalanche 6-3. Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane each scored twice, and Toews had a goal and an assist.

Chicago then got 41 saves from Corey Crawford in a 3-2 win against the Predators. Nashville outshot Chicago 43-23, but the Blackhawks built a 3-0 lead on the strength of two goals from Andrew Shaw and a Brent Seabrook goal, before holding off a Predators rally.

In their final game, Chicago defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1. Crawford made 39 saves to earn his 25th victory of the season, and Toews and Ryan Garbutt each scored.

Week Ahead: Friday, at Toronto; Sunday, vs. Montreal; Tuesday, at Nashville; Thursday, at Tampa Bay

Colorado Avalanche

Record Last Week: 2-2-0

Overall Record:
22-20-3

Overview: The Avalanche split their four games last week, beginning with the final game of a five-game homestand. Colorado defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3 in a game that featured seven lead changes. Tyson Barrie broke a 3-3 tie with a goal 11 minutes into the third period, before Jack Skillie added an empty-netter.

Colorado then traveled to Chicago and lost to the Blackhawks, 6-3. After falling behind 3-0, Matt Duchene scored twice to make it a one-goal game, but the Blackhawks responded with three consecutive goals. Nathan MacKinnon also scored for Colorado.

The Avalanche then returned home and lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-0. Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves for Colorado, who was outshot 38-21.

In its final game of the week, Colorado defeated the New Jersey Devils, 3-0. Colorado scored in each period: Duchene at even-strength in the first; Barrie shorthanded in the second; and Carl Soderberg on an empty-net in the third.

Week Ahead: Saturday, at Columbus; Monday, at Winnipeg; Wednesday, vs. Buffalo

Dallas Stars

Record Last Week: 0-1-0

Overall Record:
29-11-4

Overview: The Stars played once last week, losing to the Minnesota Wild, 2-1. Dallas outshot Minnesota 35-25, but Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves for the Wild. Jamie Benn scored his team-leading 25th goal on a 6-on-4 with 3:13 remaining, but that's as close as the Stars would get.

Week Ahead: Friday, at Anaheim; Saturday, at San Jose; Tuesday, at Los Angeles; Thursday, vs. Edmtonton

Nashville Predators

Record Last Week: 0-3-1

Overall Record:
19-7-8

Overview: Nashville lost all four of its games (0-3-1) last week, and is on a season-long five-game losing streak.

It began with a 5-3 loss against the Avalanche in forward Ryan Johansen's first game as a Predator. He scored on his first shot to put Nashville ahead 1-0 in the first, but Colorado scored two power-play goals and a late empty-net goal to seal the game.

The Predators then traveled to Arizona and lost to the Coyotes, 4-0. Antoine Vermette broke a scoreless tie in the second period, and then the Coyotes scored three more times in the third period.

A Nashville comeback effort then fell short in Chicago in a 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks. Chicago took a 3-0 lead with 6:42 remaining in the second period, but Mike Ribeiro scored 18 seconds later to cut Nashville's deficit to two. Filip Forsberg scored a power-play goal with 37 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Predators ran out of time to find a tying goal.

The Predators then managed to salvage their only point of the week in a 5-4, overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Kevin Fiala scored his first goal of the season for Nashville 59 seconds into the first to give the Predators a lead, but Winnipeg scored the next four goals. Nashville scored three times in the third to draw even, including a James Neal tying-goal with 14 seconds left, but the Jets scored the overtime-winner 51 seconds into the 3-on-3.

Week Ahead: Saturday, vs. Minnesota; Tuesday, vs. Chicago; Thursday, at Winnipeg

St. Louis Blues

Record Last Week: 2-1-1

Overall Record:
25-15-7

Overview: The Blues earned five of a possible eight points in a week where they continued to get hit by the injury bug.

St. Louis' week began with a shootout loss and a shootout win, losing to the Anaheim Ducks, 4-3, and defeating the Los Angeles Kings, 2-1. Against Anaheim, St. Louis was outshot 39-28, and had Paul Stastny, Jay Bouwmeester, and Jake Allen all left the game due to injuries.

In their next game, the Blues took 16 shots on goal, but defeated the Kings. Alex Pietrangelo scored in the second period to tie the game, and Troy Brouwer scored the shootout-winner in the seventh round.

The Blues then took 37 shots on goal and defeated the New Jersey Devils, 5-2. The Devils led 2-1 after the first period, but Scottie Upshall tied the game in the second, and Patrik Berglund scored his second power-play goal and the eventual game-winner with 2:46 remaining, also in the second period.

St. Louis lost its final game of the week, against the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1. Jori Lehtera scored the Blues lone goal in the third period. Goalie Brian Elliott was pulled after allowing a goal in the third period to make it 3-0. He made 21 saves.

Week Ahead: Saturday, vs. Montreal; Monday, vs. Pittsburgh; Wednesday, at Detroit

Winnipeg Jets

Record Last Week: 1-2-0

Overall Record:
20-21-3

Overview: The Jets gave up four goals in consecutive losses before winning their final game of the week in overtime.

Winnipeg opened up against the Buffalo Sabres and lost, 4-2. The Jets took 44 shots, and got goals from Blake Wheeler and Marcus Foligno, but the Sabres Sam Reinhart had his first career hat trick.

The Jets followed that up with a 4-1 loss against the San Jose Sharks. A Nikolaj Ehlers power-play goal tied the game at 1-1 in the first period, but San Jose responded with three unanswered goals, and held Winnipeg to seven shots on goal in the third period.

Winnipeg's week ended with a 5-4, overtime win against the Predators. The Jets built up a 4-1 lead with a Dustin Byfuglien natural hat trick, but Nashville scored three times over 10:45 in the third to force overtime. Blake Wheeler scored 51 seconds into overtime to earn the Jets a second point.

Week Ahead: Friday, at Minnesota; Monday, vs. Colorado; Thursday, vs. Nashville

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