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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

Central Intelligence: January 22

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

Each Friday during the regular season, 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: 32-14-4

Overview: The Blackhawks won three consecutive games before having a franchise-record 12-game winning streak snapped in a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final.

Chicago's week started out with three wins in which it outscored its opponents by a combined 13-4: 4-2, at the Toronto Maple Leafs; 5-2, versus the Montreal Canadiens; and 4-1, at the Nashville Predators.

Forward Patrick Kane had his first career regular season hat trick against Toronto, and also had an assist that game. He added two goals and two assists over his next two games, and, with his fifth goal of the week, matched a season-high with his 30th.

His linemate, rookie forward Artemi Panarin, had a goal and five assists in those three games.

Chicago's winning streak came to an end with a 2-1 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In what was Tampa Bay's seventh straight victory, Chicago took the lead 43 seconds into the game when forward Artem Anisimov scored, assisted by Kane (his ninth point in his past four games). But Tampa Bay outshot Chicago 33-18 on the game and defenseman Victor Hedman had two assists.

Week Ahead: Friday, at Florida; Sunday, vs. St. Louis; Tuesday, at Carolina;

Colorado Avalanche

Record Last Week: 2-1-0

Overall Record:

Overview: The Avalanche took four out of a possible six points last week, and in doing so, jumped into the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Colorado's week began with a 2-1 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Forward Chris Wagner scored 6:02 into the second period to tie the game at 1-1 for the Avalanche, but defenseman Jack Johnson scored the game-winner with 1:07 remaining in regulation, and goalie Joonas Korpisalo made 29 saves for Columbus in the victory.

The Avalanche rebounded and finished its week with two, 2-1 wins of its own. The first was at MTS Centre against the Winnipeg Jets in a Central Division matchup. Forwards Carol Sodberberg and Jarome Iginla each scored a power-play goal in the second period, and goalie Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves for Colorado.

Two nights later, Colorado returned home and defeated the Sabres 2-1 at Pepsi Center. Trailing 1-0 to begin the third period, forward Alex Tanguay tied the game with a goal at the 9:23 mark, and defenseman Francois Beauchemin scored the game-winner 32 seconds before the end of regulation.

Week Ahead: Friday, vs. St. Louis; Saturday, at Dallas; Tuesday, at San Jose; Wednesday, at Los Angeles

Dallas Stars

Record Last Week: 1-2-1

Overall Record:

Overview: Dallas lost three straight games (0-2-1) to extend a season-long four-game losing streak (0-3-1) before snapping that streak on home ice.

The Stars' previous longest losing streak (three games, 0-2-1) after getting swept in a trip to the tri state area was matched with three consecutive losses on the West coast. Dallas dropped road games against the Anaheim Ducks, the San Jose Sharks (in overtime), and the Los Angelels Kings, before returning to American Airlines Arena and defeating the Edmonton Oilers.

In Anaheim and San Jose, Dallas surrendered 35 and 39 shots respectively. Forwards Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza each scored tying goals in the third period against the Sharks to help Dallas get to overtime.

In the Stars' lone win, Spezza scored, forward Jamie Benn scored his team-leading 27th goal of the season, and goalie Antti Niemi recorded 23 saves.

Week Ahead: Saturday, vs. Colorado; Monday, vs. Calgary; Tuesday, at Winnipeg

Nashville Predators

Record Last Week: 2-1-0

Overall Record:

Overview: The Predators alternated two wins and a loss last week, outscoring their opponents 7-1 in the victories, and getting outscored 4-1 in the loss.

Nashville began by hosting the Minnesota Wild, and winning that game, 3-0. The Predators scored on their first shot of the game, courtesy of forward Eric Nystrom. Goalie Carter Hutton recorded a 29-save shutout.

The Predators were then part of history, losing to Chicago as the Blackhawks extended a franchise-record winning streak to 12 games. Nashville outshot Chicago 39-27, and got its goal from defenseman Ryan Ellis.

In a Central Division matchup to finish its week, Nashville traveled to MTS Centre and defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 4-1. Forward Ryan Johansen had a power-play goal and an even-strength assist. Johansen has three goals and six assists in seven games since being acquired in a trade. James Neal also had a goal and an assist, and goalie Pekka Rinne made 26 saves

Week Ahead: Saturday, at Edmonton; Tuesday, at Vancouver; Wednesday, at Calgary

St. Louis Blues

Record Last Week: 3-0-0
Overall Record:

Overview: Missing a number of players due to injury, the Blues won each of its three games last week. Playing without forwards Jaden Schwartz, Steve Ott, Magnus Paajarvi, and Robert Bortuzzo, and goalie Jake Allen, St. Louis won twice at home, and once on the road.

The Blues started out by defeating the Montreal Canadiens, 4-3, in overtime. St. Louis was outshot 49-22, but goalie Brian Elliott made 46 saves, and forward Jori Lehtera (a goal and an assist) scored the overtime-winner.

In its next game, five different Blues scored, and St. Louis defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2. Elliott recorded 36 saves for the Blues, and forward Paul Stastny had a four-point game with a goal and three assists. It was his first four-point game as a Blue, and the sixth of his career.

The Blues finished a perfect week with a 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings. Forwards Ty Rattie and Dimitrij Jaskin each scored, and Elliott made 29 saves.

Week Ahead: Friday, at Colorado; Sunday, at Chicago; Tuesday, at Nashville

Winnipeg Jets

Record Last Week: 1-2-0

Overall Record:

Overview: It was a low scoring week for the Jets, who scored three goals in three games (one in each), and came away with two points.

In Winnipeg's victory, the Jets defeated the Wild, 1-0, in Minnesota. Forward Blake Wheeler scored 3:07 into the first period, a goal that would stand up behind 24 saves from rookie goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who recorded his second career shutout.

The Jets then returned home and lost to the Avalanche, 2-1. Colorado scored twice in the second period to open up a 2-0 lead, and forward Joel Armia scored with 42 seconds remaining in regulation to cut Winnipeg's deficit in half, but that's as close as it would get.

In its final game of the week, Winnipeg scored first to take a 1-0 lead against Nashville, but the Predators scored four unanswered goals, and won, 4-1. Rookie forward Nikolaj Ehlers scored his ninth goal for the Jets, 11th among all rookies.

Week Ahead: Saturday, vs. New Jersey; Tuesday, vs. Arizona

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