Playoff rematch time is here. (PHOTO: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

Central Division: Preds Face ‘Yotes, Blues and Hawks Fly High

Around The Central Division: January 28, 2013

The Nashville Predators had yesterday off after another tough shootout loss, this time to the Anaheim Ducks, and took the chance to rest up before tonight’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes. While they caught a breather, three other Central Division teams were involved in very tight games.

YESTERDAY

Chicago Blackhawks 2, Detroit Red Wings 1

The Central Division’s two Original Six teams are on very different trajectories so far this season but this was a very tight game the whole way. Duncan Keith scored for the Blackhawks at 2:24 of the first period and Chicago held that lead until Johan Franzen’s first of the year at 4:30 of the third. Nick Leddy got the overtime winner:

Corey Crawford picked up his fifth win of the year, and Jimmy Howard took the loss. Blackhawk Up is really enjoying this winning stuff.

St. Louis Blues 5, Minnesota Wild 4 (OT)

Wade Redden opened the scoring for the Blues for the second straight game, scoring at 9:16 of the first period, and St. Louis held that lead through the first. Then the game broke wide open in the second period with three Minnesota goals, including two power-play markers by Zach Parise. The Blues rattled off the next three before Dany Heatley tied it at four, then Vladimir Sobotka won it in overtime with this one:

Everything’s going right for St. Louis right now. Take that away and they still look like the best team in the league, IMO. Bleedin’ Blue has the tale from the trenches.

Transactions

No movement for teams

In the Central Division

Stability reigns.

Standings

Central Division standings

Leaders

Points: Patrick Kane (CHI) – 9
Goals: Marian Hossa (CHI) – 5
Assists: Kevin Shattenkirk (STL) – 8
PIM: Derek Dorsett (CBJ) – 21
Wins: Corey Crawford – 5
GAA: Chris Mason (NSH) – 1.00
SV%: Chris Mason (NSH) – .967

TODAY

It’s a relatively slow night in the NHL with just five games on, but two of them involve Central Division teams.

The Preds can hold third place in the Central Division with a win in Phoenix

First crack at last year’s playoff vanquishers is tonight. (PHOTO: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators at Phoenix Coyotes
8:00 p.m. CST
FOX Sports Tennessee

There’s good news and bad news for Preds fans going into this game agaisnt last year’s playoff nemesis. The bad news is that the Coyotes’ offense has been the fourth-best in the Western Conference so far. The good news is that the Coyotes defense has given up more goals than any other team in the NHL. Both teams are seeking their second win in six tries, hoping to turn the other into a much-needed slumpbuster. Have a look at the key players.

Central Division bottom-feeders, the Columbus Blue Jackets, face Dallas

Columbus gets Jamie Benn in his first game back. (PHOTO: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Dallas Stars at Columbus Blue Jackets
6:00 p.m. CST

Dallas took a tough loss in St. Louis last night and Kari Lehtonen had to come on in relief of backup goalie Christopher Nilstorp, who was injured in just his second start of the season. Columbus, meanwhile, is rested and has had two days to think about a similarly tough loss to the league-leading Blackhawks on Saturday. On paper this one says Dallas win, especially with the return of Jamie Benn after ending a contract holdout. Blackout Dallas reads the tea leaves, and Fire That Cannon has finally reloaded.

Tags: Central Division Featured Nashville Predators Popular