Checking In with Conference III – Jan. 20

While Dallas continues to flounder about, the rest of Conference III has positive weeks and continued to gain points over the Stars. Dallas sits fifth in the division at 21-19-8 (50 pts).

 

Chicago (32-8-11, 75 pts)

Last Week:

Wins over Anaheim and Boston, OT loss to Colorado (five out six points)

This Week:

Away vs. Detroit (1/22) and Minnesota (1/23), Home to Winnipeg (1/26)

Team News:

There wasn’t much news out of the Blackhawks this past week. About the biggest news was that depth winger Bryan Bickell has been riding the bench lately. He’s barely getting eight minutes a game this month.

Joel Q. has also been tinkering with his stacked lineup a bit and slung together a second line of Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad to solid results.

Corey Crawford snapped a seven game winless streak when the Blackhawks beat Anaheim. He ended up as the third star of the week in the NHL for his work.

 

St. Louis (32-10-5, 69 pts)

Last Week:

Losses to Los Angeles and Anaheim, win over Phoenix (two out of six points)

This Week:

Away vs. Detroit (1/20), New Jersey (1/21), NYR (1/23) and NYI (1/25)

Team News:

The Blues had their first real hiccup of the season as they’ve lost three of their last four games. They get a boost though as Alexander Steen returned from his concussion issues and had almost 21 minutes of ice time in his first game back on Saturday.

Jamie Langenbrunner also decided to retire this past week, though he wasn’t really on the Blues anymore.

 

Colorado (31-12-5, 67 pts)

Last Week:

Wins over Chicago, New Jersey and Nashville (six out of six points)

This Week:

Home to Toronto (1/21), Away vs. Florida (1/24) and Tampa Bay (1/25)

Team News:

The red hot Avs get even better as P.A. Parenteau will return from a knee injury on Tuesday night against the Leafs.

There’s also a chance Alex Tanguay could come back this week. He’s been out since November with some serious lower body (hip and knee) problems. Defenseman Nate Guenin could also return, so the Avs are starting to get healthy again.

 

Minnesota (27-19-5, 59 pts)

Last Week:

Wins over Edmonton and Dallas, Loss to Ottawa (four out of six points)

This Week:

Away vs. Dallas (1/21) and San Jose (1/25), Home to Chicago (1/23)

Team News:

2014 has been mighty kind to the Wild so far. They’ve won seven of their first nine games and have been an offensive machine. It’s been extra impressive as both of their top two goalies, Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom, have been dealing with injuries. Third stringer Darcy Kuemper has been holding down the fort and has won four of his five starts.

Also on the injury front, Zach Parise is moving ever closer to his return from a broken foot. There’s a slight chance he’s back this week but it’s most likely next week. Despite missing 14 games, he’s still second on the team in goals and fourth in points.

 

Nashville (21-22-7, 49 pts)

Last Week:

Wins over Calgary and Philadelphia, Loss to Colorado (four out of six points)

This Week:

Home to Dallas (1/20), Away vs. Vancouver (1/23), Calgary (1/24) and Edmonton (1/26)

Team News:

The Preds made a bit of a splash when they traded depth winger Matt Hendricks to the Edmonton Oilers for goalie Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk has been horrific, though that may just be because he was with the Oilers. He did give up five goals in his first game though. His acquisition can only mean bad things in regards to Pekka Rinne’s rehab efforts from his hip issues.

On the Olympic front, Shea Weber was named an assistant captain for Team Canada, so good for him.

 

Winnipeg (22-23-5, 49 pts)

Last Week:

Wins over Phoenix, Calgary and Edmonton (six out of six points)

This Week:

Away vs. Anaheim (1/21), San Jose (1/23) and Chicago (1/26), Home to Toronto (1/25)

Team News:

The Jets put a halt to a five game losing streak with their three wins this past week. They’re still at the bottom of the division but they’re now tied with Nashville and only one point behind Dallas.

Winger Evander Kane is close to returning from his hand injury (suffered in a fight) and should be back this week.

It also seems like Dustin Byfuglien will stay as a winger instead of returning to his usual blue line spot for the remainder of the year.

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