Rich Howe’s Rankings (@Rich_Howe_9)
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 1)
2. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 2)
3. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 3)
4. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 5)
5. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 3)
6. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 6)
7. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 7)
8. Detroit Red Wings ( Last Week: 8)
The Tampa Bay Lightning are sitting at the top of the Central Division with only one loss that came at the hands of the Columbus Bluejackets. I am anxious to see the Lightning matched up against a powerhouse team like the Dallas Stars.
Speaking of the Stars, they opened their season by hammering the Nashville Predators. They followed that win up by beating the Predators again on Sunday. Anton Khodobin pitched a 34-save shutout and several Stars players tallied multiple points.
If the Stars keeps up this level of play they may find themselves in first place fairly soon.
The Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers could easily switch spots this week. The Panthers have only played two games so far but will face the Bluejackets twice and the Detroit Red Wings twice this week.
Both teams provide the Panthers with a chance to move up in the division. The Hurricanes will be facing tough opponents in Dallas and Tampa Bay this week and could slide down.
The Predators and the Blue Jackets could also switch spots this week. Nashville is on a three-game losing streak and has some work to do on special teams to right the ship. Columbus is an enigma team that is either hot or cold. They traded Pierre-Luc Dubois for Patrick Laine over the weekend. With that distraction out of the way they should be able to focus solely on climbing up the Central.
The Chicago Blackhawks have won two games in a row after losing their first four. Next they face the Predators in back to back games. These games should be a good test for the Blackhawks to see if they are turning their season around.
The Detroit Red Wings have lost two games in a row and pull into Dallas for their next two games. That doesn’t bode well for their chances of moving up in the division.