You just can't have the playoffs without the Detroit Red Wings.
Today is the final day of the NHL regular season. It has been a great—but short—season, and as 16 teams prepare for the playoffs, others prepare for the golf course.
The final week of the season had no shortage of drama. Some teams and players got hot at the right time, and others were hoping the season was a week shorter.
Here it is, the final installment of Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in the NHL for Week 14.
For the 22nd consecutive season, the Detroit Red Wings are going to the playoffs. Congratulations, Red Wings.
The Detroit Red Wings were scrambling two weeks ago to maintain their astonishing postseason streak. Thanks to some extraordinary efforts, the Red Wings extended their streak to 22 postseason appearances in a row. Congratulations to them.
They did it by winning the final four games of the season against Phoenix, Los Angeles, Nashville and Dallas. The Wings outscored opponents 15-3 this week and are playing arguably their best hockey of the season as they prepare for an opening-round matchup against Anaheim.
The St. Louis Blues have reasons to smile after a great week and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Central Division had a great week last week. Detroit had a hot week. The Columbus Blue Jackets had a great week but fell short of the postseason, and the St. Louis Blues had a hot week while securing the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference.
St. Louis went 3-1-0 this week including wins over Colorado, Calgary and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues are going to be in for a great series against the Los Angeles Kings. With a 15-8-1 home record, the win over the ‘Hawks was crucial.
Congratulations to the Washington Capitals for being the only team worth talking about in the Southeast Division.
The Washington Capitals went 2-0-1 this week against two playoff teams (Ottawa and Boston) and another that was fighting for the playoffs (Winnipeg). The Caps held strong, picking up wins over Winnipeg and Boston to secure the No. 3 spot in the playoffs and make things extremely difficult for the New York Rangers.
Alexander Ovechkin is back to his old self, and the Capitals are playing great hockey heading into the postseason. Washington is 8-1-1 in the last 10.
The Islanders are sliding into the postseason, but what's important is they made it. Anything can happen once you get in.
One of the hottest teams in the league this month, the New York Islanders are sliding a bit into the postseason. The Isles lost all three games this week—two in overtime. Unfortunately, those losses all came to teams that won’t be in the postseason.
It may have just been a case of overlooking the opponents as they prepare for the important playoffs, but facing the Montreal Canadiens or Boston Bruins is no easy task.
Isles fans will hope it was just a rough week and they can get back on track in May. They called up eight players from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (American Hockey League) for the postseason, so it's all hands on deck.
An unfortunate collapse at the end of the year has the Stars headed to the offseason and changes made to the front office.
Oh, Dallas, you were so close to the playoffs last week. The Stars were sellers at the trade deadline, but managed to fight for a playoff spot two weeks ago. A five-game losing streak didn’t help and even cost general manager Joe Nieuwendyk his job.
Dallas could have played spoiler to the Detroit Red Wings in the season finale April 27, but laid an egg with a 3-0 shutout. No need to panic for Stars fans. They have a solid core to build around, but are going in a new direction.
Congratulations to Martin St. Louis, who took home the Art Ross Trophy at 37 years old.
Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning quietly made history by becoming the oldest player to ever win the Art Ross Trophy thanks to seven points this week. He never had a standout week in the season, but he was consistent. He didn’t have back-to-back games without a point all season. Congratulations to Marty.
Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings exemplified leadership this week. When the Red Wings needed someone to step up, Zetterberg was the man to do it. He had two goals, eight assists and a plus-six rating this week. Detroit hopes for similar production against the Ducks.
Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers didn’t quit on the season after the Oilers were eliminated. Yakupov showed the goal-scoring ability the Oilers drafted him for. He picked up six goals this week, including a hat-trick against the Vancouver Canucks to close out the year.
Adam Henrique struggled in April as he heads into his restricted-free-agent offseason.
Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils didn’t close out the year on a positive note—but neither did the rest of the Devils. Henrique had just two points in the month of April. Not the way he wanted to go into his negotiation year. He is a restricted free agent this season.
Dwight King of the Los Angeles Kings is another forward who didn’t have a good week. King was held off the scoreboard and was minus-three this week. That will all be excused if he duplicates any of the heroics from last postseason.
Keith Yandle put together a nice week for the Phoenix Coyotes. Will he still be in Phoenix next year?
Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes closed out the year in positive fashion. The 26-year-old defenseman put up a goal, five assists, a plus-three rating and 10 penalty minutes for the Coyotes. He will be a big piece of the Coyotes’ plan moving forward—whether the team stays in Phoenix or not.
The best thing about the end of Sami Salo's season is that it didn't come in the middle of the year.
Sami Salo of the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t finish the year strong. He had one point and a minus-six rating for the Bolts this week. Tampa Bay’s defense wasn’t good all season and the statistics reflect that. Give Salo credit, though—he was healthy for the entire season for the first time since 2003-04.
Hello, I'm Jimmy Howard, just jump on my back and we'll get to the postseason.
Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings broadened his shoulders big time this week. Howard went 4-0 with a 0.75 goals-against average and two shutouts to lead the Wings to their 22nd consecutive postseason appearance. If he is that hot in the playoffs, look out for the Red Wings.
Luongo's final two outings of the season didn't help ease the minds of Canucks fans.
Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks didn’t ease anyone’s mind in Vancouver with his performance this week. Luongo went 0-2 this week, giving up nine goals, including seven in the season finale to the Edmonton Oilers. The goaltending situation in Vancouver isn’t any clearer this season than it was last season.