Things looked bleak for the Preds after being shut out by Phoenix. (PHOTO: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

Central Division: A Needed Day Off For The Nashville Predators

The Central Division is now officially crowded at the bottom, so it’s a very good thing that the Nashville Predators have the day off. Another 60 minutes of hockey to watch from the bench with a break and Barry Trotz’s head would’ve exploded faster than you can say “1-2-3”…

Around The Central Division: January 29, 2013

YESTERDAY

Phoenix Coyotes 4, Nashville Predators 0

The Preds have looked pretty awful in the early going this season, but never worse than they did last night. Yes, they were missing Patric Hornqvist, and yes, they were playing game four out of seven in a row on the road. But Hornqvist is only one player and every team has to play a road trip at some point. There’s just no other way to put it: they’re a bad hockey team at this particular moment in time. They can’t even do the simple things right now, like clear the zone:

Had this performance come in the opener, I could’ve shaken off as “rust.” As it is I have to wonder what kind of lessons this team is learning right now. They’ve lost every game where they’ve taken the lead this season, and their other gear seems to be to just not score at all. After all, if you never take the lead you can’t give it away…right? Whether it’s just effort level and “detail” or personnel or what, I don’t know, but something needs to change soon.

Central Division rebuilding squad, the Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus is no longer in sole possession of last place in the Central Division. (PHOTO: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Columbus Blue Jackets 2, Dallas Stars 1

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 of 27 shots and Vinny Prospal scored his second goal of the year at 1:22 of the third period to lift Columbus to the win. Dallas took six penalties before Jamie Benn’s boarding and roughing calls at 19:55 of the third (welcome back, Jamie!). While the Jackets couldn’t score on the power play, the Stars’ time on the PK put a crimp in their offense. Giving up these kinds of goals doesn’t help your cause, either:

Last season it took 12 games for the Blue Jackets to pick up their second win. This year they’ve done it in six, which has to be heartening for fans of these perpetual cellar-dwellers. They’re nobody’s idea of a great team but they’re a lot better than they have been in the past.

Transactions

This transaction list is so bare
No team has a player to spare
If Poile doesn’t move soon
To get rid of Rich Clune
I might start pulling out my hair

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 Crawford5
GAA: Chris Mason (NSH) – 1.00
SV%: Chris Mason (NSH) – .967

TODAY

The NHL is back in full swing tonight with 10 games, but just two of them involve Central Division teams.

Ex-Central Division powerhouses, the Detroit Red Wings

Dallas visits Detroit tonight. (PHOTO: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Dallas Stars (2-3-1) at Detroit Red Wings (2-2-1)
6:30 p.m. CST

Jamie Benn’s return from a holdout was spoiled by Columbus last night, so the Stars will give another Central Division team a shot tonight. The Red Wings are 1-1-0 at home, while the Stars are 1-2-0 on the road, and both teams have given up more goals than they’ve scored. Looks like this one is anybody’s game.

Northwest Division visits Central Division

Columbus is looking for it second straight win tonight. (PHOTO: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports)

Columbus Blue Jackets (2-3-1) at Minnesota Wild (2-2-1)
7:00 p.m. CST

The Blue Jackets have a chance to win two in a row for the first time since March 30th and 31st of last year when they take on the Minnesota Wild this evening. The Wild, meanwhile, are still reeling, having lost three straight after a 2-0 start.

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Tags: Central Division Nashville Predators

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