Every Wednesday, we are going to bring you an update on the state of the Central Division and what you can expect from the week ahead. Here is your 10/10 forecast:
1) Dallas Stars: (2-1-0)
Dallas feels different. Three games in and we’re going to call it: Central Division CHAMPS. But seriously, Ben Bishop has looked fantastic so far, even after facing the buzzsaw that is Toronto. Alexander Radulov has been a madman. The entire top line of Benn-Seguin-Radulov has been an unholy monster to defend against. The only thing really worrying at the moment are the number of shots reaching the net. Every game this season has seen at least 30 shots make it past the Dallas defense. You have to give the goalie some help.
Upcoming Games: ANA, @OTT, @NJ
What To Expect: Radulov is going to do the striptease from Slap Shot during his next goal celebration.
2) Chicago Blackhawks: (2-0-1)
THEY’RE BACK BABY… or at least the offense is. The top line of Kahun- Toews- DeBrincat has been stellar, Toews & DeBrincat are especially playing some inspired tandem hockey at the moment. 19-year-old Henri Jokiharju has 3 assists so far and gets better with each shift. That’s all great. What’s not great is Cam F*$^in Ward, who is sporting a completely believable .843 save percentage. Remember, the Hawks gave this guy a $3 million deal and a no-trade clause. Good thing Crawford is due back in late October because this team’s hot start has been a miracle, considering Ward’s horrendous play.
Upcoming Games: @Min, STL
What To Expect: Kane builds on the madness that was the last minute of regulation against Toronto by netting a hat trick AND punching a cab driver in celebration.
3) Winnipeg Jets: (2-1-0)
It’s been Jekyll and Hyde so far, with one really bad loss to the Stars, one really good victory over the Blues and one “I’ll take it” victory over the Kings. Winnipeg has had trouble staying out of the box so far this season, which is cause for concern, and their defense has only been stout for one game so far.
Upcoming Games: @NSH, CAR, EDM
What to Expect: Fornite is going to be held responsible for Patrik Laine under-performing & shooting his mouth off, though in much better English.
4) Nashville Predators: (2-1-0)
Take your screenshots now, folks. The Nashville Predators are currently out of the playoff picture… but with 79 games remaining, they should be fine. A slow start isn’t necessarily a bad thing for this team. And by slow, I mean they haven’t been blowing their opponents out of the water. Now if you do want to worry about something, those two wins were over the saddest New York franchises not named the Mets. Wins are wins though and Arvidsson and Forsberg look primed to go off in the near future.
Side Note: They’re really lucky I didn’t tank their rankings over the “Western Conference Regular Season Champions” banner they raised at the home opener. It really is true. Life is the biggest joke of all. Yes, I’m aware four other teams have done this and no, it does not make it better.
Upcoming Games: WGP, NYI, MIN
What to expect: The Preds are at home for four games, so expect the Catfish and ‘You Suck’ chants to be thrown about with impunity.
5) Colorado Avalanche: (2-1-0)
Above Nashville in the standings, they’ve beaten a glacially paced Wild team and a rocky looking Philly *Dangerfield tie-grab* so far. Colorado’s first two lines look sharp, but their defense and netminding were only tested in their loss to Columbus. Valarmov has looked strong so far though, and Grubauer is about to get a chance to stretch his legs. Nate MacKinnon is scoring stunners on the daily. BIG SHOCKER.
Upcoming Games: @BUF, CGY, @NYR
What to Expect: This 2nd line looks sneaky good so far. We might have to pretend to care about Colin Wilson again.
6) Minnesota Wild: (0-1-1)
The only reason I’m not putting this team last is that the Wild are playing how I expected them to play and frankly, being right makes me happy. Devan Dubnyk has played well, only giving up three goals in his first two games. Other than that… well, nothing else good has happened. Hopefully, this team can get some rest during their four-day hiatus from what’s been a long and grueling two game season thus far. By the way, the season ticket holders voted to bring back "Crowd Chant" as their goal song. REALLY… AGAIN? Every single aspect of this franchise is uninspiring.
Upcoming Games: CHI, CAR, @NSH, ARI
What to Expect: Minnesota will double their season goal total (2) against Chicago, lose and then be shutout by Carolina because everyone will already be sick of Crowd Chant. ENJOY YOUR MAYONNAISE-FLAVORED GOAL SONG.
7) St. Louis Blues: (0-1-1)
What the hell, guys? I had you being 2nd in the division this year?? You’re making me look like a FOOL. Let’s be honest, this season has already found its Blues boogeyman and he's named Jake Allen. Through the first two games of the season, Allen is sporting a .818 save percentage. Yes, you read that correctly. This isn’t exactly the kind of guy who can just shrug off a poor performance either. Maybe the one bright spot for St. Louis so far is Ryan O’Reilly. The guy has been great at apple farming with three for far this season. At this pace he’s going to have his own damn orchard soon.
Upcoming Games: CGY, @CHI, ANA
What to Expect: I think we are going to learn if Chad Johnson is a real person, and not someone who has catfished the Blues into a contract.