The New York Islanders are one win away from securing a playoff spot and are one of the hottest teams in the league. Who else joins them this week?
It seemed like just yesterday that NHL fans were in shock from another lockout and longing for a season. The 2013 regular season is coming to an end, but not without some significant streaks, playoff battles and individual award races.
With one week left in the season, we take a look back at who’s hot and who’s not for NHL Week 13.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the best team in the Eastern Conference. Can they catch Chicago in the West?
The Pittsburgh Penguins are at it again. Winners of six straight games, the Penguins have clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference and are in a battle with the Chicago Blackhawks for the Presidents’ Trophy.
Despite being five points behind the Hawks, the Penguins have more regulation and overtime wins—31 to 28. This would be a great Stanley Cup matchup.
The Blackhawks are arguably the deepest team in the league. They also have the league's best record.
The Blackhawks are another team that just keeps on winning. They have done it in just about every way possible and are playing solid hockey as they prepare for the postseason.
Chicago went 3-0-1 this week and is 8-0-2 in the last 10 games. They finish the year with four games this week—three road games—as they look to lock up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
John Tavares is having an MVP-caliber week for the Islanders. Undefeated in regulation in the last 10 games, the Isles are for real.
Does anyone not believe the Islanders are for real yet? The Isles went 3-0-0 this week with wins over Toronto, Winnipeg and Florida. Two of those wins (Toronto and Winnipeg) were big wins as these teams fight for playoff positioning.
John Tavares is having an MVP-caliber season, and the Islanders are just a win away from clinching the postseason. With a 14-5-2 road record this season, few teams will want to face this team in the playoffs.
Brian Elliott and the St. Louis Blues are getting hot at just the right time.
Goaltending wins championships. Goaltending also gets you into the playoffs, apparently. The St. Louis Blues haven’t scored more than two goals in a game since April 5 but are 6-2-0 since. They have held opponents to three goals in those six wins combined.
Seeding is crucial for the Blues as they don’t want to face some of the league’s best offenses in Chicago and Anaheim in the first round.
The Carolina Hurricanes have had a hard time regaining their footing on this current streak.
The Southeast Division was supposed to be a tight race. It has turned into a tight race for dead last in the Eastern Conference. Carolina is trying to knock the Florida Panthers out of the cellar with an 0-2-1 week.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the Hurricanes (37 points) will be able to make up the five-point gap between them and the Panthers (32 points) before the season is over.
Come here, puck. Dang it. The Nashville Predators are struggling in the final weeks of the season.
The post-Ryan Suter era didn’t finish strong for the Nashville Predators. They are the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention in the Central Division after dropping another 0-2-1 week.
Nashville will prepare for the offseason and hope that it can pick up some help in the upcoming draft.
Andrew Ladd and the Winnipeg Jets are clinging to playoff life. He has done everything he can to get Winnipeg to the postseason.
Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers picked a great time to get hot for fantasy hockey owners. Simmonds had an outstanding all-around week. He put up three goals, three assists, eight penalty minutes, a plus-six rating and 13 shots on goal.
Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets are doing everything they can to get the Jets into the postseason. Wheeler had seven points (two goals, five assists), a plus-five rating and two power-play points. Ladd added another eight points (two goals, six assists), a plus-four rating and two more power-play points. Great leadership from this duo in Winnipeg.
Alex Burmistrov has been on his belly a bit this week. He went minus-five and struggled in the faceoff dot.
Saku Koivu of the Anaheim Ducks is hitting a bit of a rough patch. He went minus-two this week and has been held pointless in four straight games. The Ducks will be happy to keep his faceoff numbers, though. Koivu has won over 51 percent of his draws this season.
Alex Burmistrov of the Winnipeg Jets is one of the only Jets that hasn’t produced this week. Burmistrov had no points and a minus-five rating. He also won over 50 percent of his faceoffs in just one of three games.
Lubomir Visnovsky is one of the most consistent defenseman in the league.
Lubomir Visnovsky of the New York Islanders deserves a lot of credit for his efforts this season. His numbers aren’t great, but Visnovsky provides stable defense through great positioning. He has been a big part of the Islanders’ playoff push. Visnovsky went plus-six this week and even added four assists.
Jamie McBain and the Carolina Hurricanes have been looking behind them for the puck more often than not this week.
Jamie McBain of the Carolina Hurricanes is trying to get the Hurricanes a better chance at that lottery pick in the draft. He went minus-six this week including a minus-three effort against Philadelphia on April 20.
Antti Niemi is at it again and so are the Sharks.
Guess who’s back atop the goaltending leaderboard this week? Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks is at it again with another three-win week and a 0.97 goals-against average. He stopped 103 of 106 shots this week and added a shutout against the Phoenix Coyotes as the Sharks look to secure home ice for the first round.
Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators are trying to improve their chances in the draft lottery this season.
Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators struggled this week, posting a 4.00 GAA on just 85 shots. He was just 0-1-1 on the week, but a 5-4 defeat to the Blackhawks in overtime and a 5-2 loss to Vancouver have put the Predators’ skid into overdrive.