NHL: The Tough Central Division and Who Will Win It

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NHL: The Tough Central Division and Who Will Win It
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The NHL's Western Conference is very tough this year. The top 12 teams are only separated by 13 points. Even more brutal than that is the Central Division. 

The Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators each occupy a top-eight playoff spot, and as of now are separated by only five points.

Going into tonight’s matchups, Detroit leads the division and conference with 61 points.  By the time they play again the Red Wings could drop to fifth in the conference. It is that close.

Whatever team emerges from the divisional fight will be battle tested. Forget worrying about a long losing streak, losing one game will bounce a team down the seedings.

There are two other divisions with decent battles going on, and the only division close to the Central is the Pacific, where there is an eight-point spread among the top four. Pacific-leading San Jose would only place fourth in the Central, and just two of the Pacific division's other four teams currently hold a playoff spot.  So not only is the Central the closest race, it is also the toughest—as each of these four teams are very good.

So, who will win the division, and be able clinch that top seed in the hopes of making a long playoff run?

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