Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets just came off a 16 game winning streak. It's the second longest winning streak in NHL History behind the 1992-1993 Pittsburgh Penguins (17). A string of 32 straight points will get you into the playoffs but in what position is still to be determined. The Blue Jackets can mostly coast the rest of the way and it's almost guaranteed they'll be playing in late April. They boast the best power play in the NHL, which will help their cause, and that's in part to young stud Zach Werenski who quarterbacks their man advantage. Keep an eye on if they go through a losing streak first.
While the Blue Jackets were grabbing headlines by winning 16 games, the Wild quietly won 12 straight games. Ironically their streak was ended by the Blue Jackets on New Years Eve. They're back on the winning trail after the streak ended and 9-1-0 in their last ten. Devin Dubnyk is playing out of his mind. Maybe this is the year he finally wins the Vezina Trophy?
The Capitals have a four game winning streak going which is good for best in the NHL with the Penguins. Their winning streak includes ending the Blue Jackets' 16 game winning streak in 5-0 fashion. The rest of the Metropolitan Division thanks you! What may be surprising (or not if you're aware of his playmaking abilities) is that Nicklas Backstrom leads the Caps with 31 points. 22 of those are helpers. Must be nice of Ovechkin getting set up like that!
Like the Capitals, the Penguins have a four game winning streak. They've had a few days off now for the new mandated mid-season break. They won't be back to action until January 8th. When Crosby is playing the way he is, there is no telling how many games this team can win this season. Add in Malkin being on fire and the Pens chances at repeating is looking pretty good.
The Canucks have had their fair of struggles this season. It's been a roller coaster to say the least as they started out hot and then became one of the worst teams in the NHL. Right now they're hot. They've won five straight games and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Can they stay hot enough to creep into the playoffs? I have my doubts. They've gotten themselves one point out of the Wild Card but a -16 goal differential doesn't give one too much hope for them in the second half of the season to maintain their playoff contention.
The Coyotes suck. They've suffered eight straight losses. Even more depressing, they only have 27 points on the season. It's a miracle that goaltender Mike Smith is so good. I'm not convinced that if he wasn't they'd have 10 points this season. Can someone please trade for Smith and get him on a good team so he can enjoy playing hockey and not be pelted with 40 shots a night? Poor guy.
The only team worse than the Coyotes is the Avalanche. By just a mere two points but that means something. They're rapidly closing in on the Coyotes losing streak too at five games. Colorado's goal differential stand at -52. The hurts just typing out. There have been major rumblings that no one is safe in Colorado so they could potentially make a splash at the trade deadline.
The Sabres are 3-4-3 in their last 10 games. Jack Eichel has only played in 17 games as he's been bitten by the injury bug and noted jerk Evander Kane only has 14 points. Adding Ryan O'Reilly hasn't been a big change in scoring of the Sabres either. They suck but just not quite as much as Arizona and Colorado.
Not too long ago the Flyers won 10 straight games and were at the top of my hottest list. Now they're 3-5-2 in their 10 games since and they taking on water quickly. Imagine this, the Maple Leafs overtake the Flyers for the last Wild Card spot. It's a real possibility since they have three games to gain on Philadelphia and only trail them by three points.
The Panthers were in a playoff position and then fired their head coach and the GM took on coaching duties and apparently players don't like him. It shows. They're 3-3-4 in their last 10 games. The front office is a mess and it's affecting the teams play.