It’s Halloween and the Central Division has been treated to some frighteningly good hockey. There have been enough daggers, and burials to fill a haunted house. Get ready to slice and dice our way through the Central, ya goons! Here are your Central Division Rankings:
1) Nashville Predators: (9-3-0)
Pekka who? The Preds are on top, and not just top of these standings. Nashville currently has the best record in the league and this is despite having both a backup goalie as a starter and a terrible penalty kill. Filip Forsberg has seven goals in his last nine games. Ryan Johansen finally looks like a real 1st line center. He’s sporting a 54% faceoff advantage and 11 assists.
Upcoming Games: @TBL, BOS, @COL
Future Frights: Rinne has risen from the dead and looks ready to devour hapless forwards in the coming days. If you can only watch one upcoming game, make it the Preds’ tilt with Colorado. There will be some angry and restless spirits on each side of the ice for that one.
2) Winnipeg Jets: (6-2-1)
As long as the Jets aren’t playing the Maple Leafs, they’re gonna have a good time. Mark Scheifele has seven points in his last four games including a four-point night during Winnipeg’s wild comeback win over the Blues. Someone who has not been having a good time is Patrik Laine, who doesn’t have an even-strength goal and only three power play goals on the year. The Jets are going to get a lot of time to rest in the near future though, flying to Finland for a pair of games. Then they have a bye week.
Upcoming Games: @FLA, FLA (Both In Finland)
Frightful Futures: I expect Liane to be possessed by his Finnish ancestors and lay waste to the Panthers. He’ll double is total goal tally on the year. If not, He’ll probably take part in the Finish tradition of Kalsarikannit. I know I do every Saturday. That’s a whole different level of frightening.
3) Colorado Avalanche: (7-3-2)
The top line of the Colorado Avalanche has a combined 55 points so far this season. The closest man to the Hydra that is MacKinnon, Raantenan & Landeskog is Carl Soderberg who has a whopping seven points. The lack of scoring depth might be an issue later but with Varlamov's insane .950 save percentage and a surprisingly good penalty kill (3rd in NHL) this defense is dare I say… average? Yeah, let’s get nuts, they’re average.
Upcoming Games: @CGY, @VAN, NSH
Frightful Futures: The demons who were banished to ice-capped mountains around Denver in April haven’t forgotten about those yellow bandits who were responsible. They get their revenge on home ice.
4) Minnesota Wild (7-3-2)
The Wild stitched together a great five-win streak before losing to the Canucks on Monday. What I’m really upset about is the fact that Nino Niederreiter did not score his first goal of the year against Vancouver as I predicted. The poor guy is still sitting on a big, fat goose egg. Jordan Greenway scored his first of what will hopefully be many NHL goals. The Wild are in the middle of a seven-game road trip, although they are looking better, they’ll need to find some consistency in order to keep marching up the standings.
Upcoming Games: @STL, @SJ
Frightful Futures: This week Niederreiter will be visited by three spirits, the Ghost of Goals Past, Present & well… he’ll still be waiting for the Ghost of Goals Future during the next power rankings.
5) Chicago Blackhawks: (6-3-3)
Corey Crawford is back and playing well, considering his time off. Since coming back though, his defense has done him zero favors. Crawford has faced 148 shots in his five starts this season. While Crow tries to keep the defense afloat, the Hawks are relying on their young talent to lead the way offensively. Alex DeBrincat has 14 points (8G, 6A) and that’s only surpassed by the NHL’s leading scorer Patrick Kane, who has 18. Rookies Jokiharju & Kahun have made an immediate impact on the team and each has 7 points so far. The Hawks will try putting their losing weekend behind them and attempt to steal some points on what could be a rough tour of Western Canada.
Upcoming Games: @VAN @EDM @CGY
Frightful Futures: Bad tidings await on the frozen planes of the north. The oil wells will be plugged but hungry killer whales and the flickering flames of hell will be too much to handle. Chicago goes 1-3.
6) Dallas Stars (6-5-0)
Alexander Radulov is coming back and thank goodness because this team is hurting. After scoring only two goals in three games, the Stars were able to put nine goals in on southern California’s two half-dead hockey teams. And then they lost to the Red Wings. Dallas is 1-3 on the road this year and if you look all the way back to the start of last year, they have an atrocious 28-45-10 record away from Big D. Their next four games are on the road.
Upcoming Games: @TOR, @WSH, @BOS @CBJ
Frightful Futures: Though Dallas has shown signs of life after beating Montreal, I’m putting an end to this unholy experiment. Say goodnight, the Stars go 0-4.
7) St. Louis Blues: (3-4-3)
Robbi Fabbri is finally back! The Blues won a game! Annnnd that’s all I’ve got for you. Hey, when they start putting in the effort, so will I.
Upcoming Games: VGK, MIN, CAR
Frightful Futures: If you think watching this team is a nightmare, imagine being Mike Yeo.