Every Tuesday, Predlines will be bringing you the latest news and analysis from the Central Division. Because the Predators success largely depends on the failures of our divisional opponents, we need to track their every move throughout the regular, post and off season. If we’ve left something of note out, contact us at [email protected]
If the playoffs started today, only Nashville would be looking from the outside in. St. Louis is in front of the Central Division, and the entire Western Conference, with 20 points. Detroit sits in 4th spot, Chicago 5th and Columbus would come in at 7th place in the Western Conference. The Predators, currently on a five game losing streak, are in 12 place in the Western Conference, 3 points out of the 8th spot.
Chicago Blackhawks 8-8-1
Last week, Chicago played three games, two against struggling teams. On Wednesday, New Jersey beat the Blackhawks 5-3 Chicago. The Devils are actually last overall in the entire NHL. On Friday, the Blackhawks traveled to Atlanta for a game against the Blackhawks East, and won in a shootout 5-4. Saturday, the Blackhawks were edged by the second worst team in the league, the Oilers, by a 2-1 score. Edmonton surprised the Stanley Cup champs once earlier in the year and were able to do it again.
This week, the Blackhawks have three games on the schedule. Wednesday night, Chicago hosts Phoenix before traveling to Nashville to take on the Predators Saturday night. In back-to-back games, Chicago goes home to host the Ducks Sunday.
Marian Hossa returned to the lineup for the Blackhawks on Sunday against the Oilers. Hossa suffered an upper body injury against the Kings on October 27th.
On Friday, Chicago recalled forward Jeremy Morin from the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs for games against Atlanta and Edmonton. Monday he was sent back to the AHL.
Wednesday’s game against Phoenix will see the Blackhawks wearing camouflage jerseys during warm-ups. The jerseys will be autographed by the players and auctioned online between November 10-17. Go to the official blackhawks page chicagoblackhawks.com to make a bid. All proceeds will benefit the USO of Illinois.
The Blackhawks have no new injuries. Dave Bolland is the only player not in the lineup. Bolland was placed on injured reserve over a week ago. Bollard is out with a rib injury, though the extent and nature of the injury hasn’t been disclosed.
Columbus Blue Jackets 8-5-0
The Blue Jackets played three games last week. Tuesday, Columbus hosted Montreal, shutting out the Habs 3-0. On Thursday, Columbus again shut out their opponent by a 3-0 score when they visited Atlanta. The only loss of the week came on Saturday when Columbus was edged by Minnesota at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets only have two games this week. On Wednesday, Columbus plays host to St Louis and on Friday Colorado visits Nationwide Arena.
Goaltender Mathieu Garon was named the NHL’s second star of the week. Garon stopped 75 of 78 shots in three games that included back-to-back shutouts.
The Blue Jackets activated center Andrew Murray off injured reserve. Murray was injured October 1 in a preseason game against Washington and missed 12 games. Murray is listed as having re-injured his knee on Sunday and is now listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game.
Defenseman Mike Commodore was taken off injured reserve on November 5. Commodore suffered an upper body injury against San Jose on October 9. He missed 10 games as a result. However, on Monday Commodore suffered a chip fracture in left thumb and is questionable for Wednesday’s game against St. Louis.
Commodore’s chip fracture may keep him out of the lineup after just being taken off injured reserve. Murray may also miss additional time after being taken off injured reserve with a knee injury.
Detroit Red Wings 9-3-1
Last week, Detroit played four games starting Wednesday night when the Red Wings kick off a Western Canadian tour in Calgary, edging the Flames 2-1. On Friday, Detroit beat Edmonton 3-1 and then traveled to Vancouver and lost at the hands of the Canucks, 6-4 Saturday night. Monday night, Detroit was back home against Phoenix where they won in overtime 3-2 on a Zetterburg goal.
This coming week, Detroit hosts Edmonton on Thursday and Colorado on Saturday. The Red Wings play the next five games at home.
Detroit has no new injuries.
St. Louis Blues 9-1-2
Last week, the Blues played three games and won them all. They hosted San Jose on Thursday night and shutout the Sharks 2-0. The Blues then headed out on the road for an Eastern Conference road trip. St. Louis edged Boston 2-1 on Friday and shutout the New York Rangers in New York on Saturday by a 2-0 score.
This week, St. Louis plays back to back games on Wednesday and Thursday nights against divisional opponents. On Wednesday, the Blues travel to Columbus and on Thursday night they host the Predators. After Thursday’s game, the Blues hit the road, playing in Phoenix Saturday and Colorado on Monday night.
Jaroslav Halak was named third star of the week for the NHL. Halak stopped 58 of 59 shots he faced, had a 0.48 goals-against average and .983 save percentage in 2 games last week.
Blues forward David Perron missed a couple of weekend games. When the Blues played San Jose, Perron was hit by Joe Thornton (who was suspended for 2 games as a result).
The Blues are off to their best start in franchise history. The Blues are ranked first overall in the NHL, and have games in hand on Los Angeles, Washington and Philadelphia, the other teams that have 20 points. And the Blues are doing it without half of their 6 starting defensemen.
Nikita Nikitin was activated off injured reserve.
Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo was placed on injured reserve last week as the result of suffering a concussion on October 28th against the Nashville Predators. Colaiacovo was hit by Jordin Tootoo.
Defenseman Barret Jackman was placed on injured reserve with a sprained knee, suffered in last week’s game against San Jose. Jackman is out at least three weeks.
Defenseman Roman Polak will be out longer than expected. His wrist laceration won’t even be re-evaluated for eight weeks.
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. The next Predators home game is Saturday night, November 13th when the Preds take on the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.