With the Olympic Games behind us, the NHL is back in full swing. A few players came back to their teams with new hardware, others with disappointment. But, the road to the Stanley Cup is open again.
Here's the league breakdown:
1. Anaheim Ducks (41-14-5)
The Ducks are sitting in the the same place they have been for the majority of the season: first. They have a total of 87 points in 60 games, but three losses in their last four games—two of which were shutouts—has them only three points up on the St. Louis Blues.
2. St. Louis Blues (39-13-6)
The Blues have won three of their last five games and went into the Olympic break having only lost one game in February. With a regulation win over the No. 1 ranked Ducks tomorrow night, the Blues could pull themselves within a point of the league leader.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (35-12-14)
The Stanley Cup champions sit tied in points with the Blues, but in two more games. The team went into the Olympic break two for two in February, with losses to the San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes. The Blackhawks had 10 players in the Olympics, Captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith came home with a gold medal. Another star, Patrick Kane, came home empty-handed.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (40-15-3)
Captain Sidney Crosby takes the ice again after a second consecutive gold medal win. The Penguins sit a point behind Chicago in the standings and similarly went into the Olympic break two for two. They will most notably be missing defenseman Kris Letang, who suffered a stroke in early February according to CBSSports. Letang, who tallied 18 points (10 goals, eight assists), is expected to be out indefinitely. He discussed his status via Twitter:
5. San Jose Sharks (37-16-6)
The Sharks sit three points behind Pittsburgh in the league, and seven points behind Anaheim for the Pacific. San Jose went into the break having won three of their four games in February. Forward Adam Burish made his return before the Olympic break after having back surgery. Forwards Logan Couture, Raffi Torres, Matt Nieto and Tyler Kennedy are expected to make their return against the Flyers tonight. Rookie Tomas Hertl is still missing from the lineup after a collision with the Kings' Dustin Brown.
6. Boston Bruins (37-16-5)
The Bruins have a game in hand on San Jose and sit a point behind. Boston was three for four in February leading up to the Olympic break, their only loss coming in overtime versus the Blues, 3-2. The team fell to the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday.
7. Colorado Avalanche (37-17-5)
Tied in points with Boston, but with one more game played, the Avalanche won only two of their five pre-Olympic February games. Their return to the regular season on Wednesday resulted in a 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning (33-20-5)
The Lightning sit eight points behind the Avalanche with one game in hand. The team is still awaiting the return of Steven Stamkos after a broken tibia. Tampa Bay won two of their four February games.
9. Montreal Canadiens (32-21-7)
Tied for points, but with two more games played than the Lightning, the Canadiens won three straight going into the Olympic break. They restarted regular season with a 2-1 overtime loss to Detroit.
10. Los Angeles Kings (32-22-6)
Despite their goaltender starting in the Olympics, the Kings sit 17 points behind Anaheim in the league and 10 points behind San Jose for second in the Pacific. In three pre-Olympic February games, the Kings lost two, including being shutout in a 2-0 loss to the Flyers.
11. Toronto Maple Leafs (32-22-7)
The Maple Leafs are tied for points with LA, but fall three behind in the regulation and overtime wins category. The Leafs dropped one in February in a 4-1 loss to Florida.
12. Minnesota Wild (31-21-7)
Going into the Olympic break on a two-game win streak, the Wild are one point behind Toronto in the standings. With wins against Tampa Bay and Nashville, the Wild have won four of their last eight battles.
13. New York Rangers (33-24-3)
After losing to the Boston Bruins in the conference finals last year, the Rangers find themselves at sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. They closed the pre-Olympic part of the season with a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh, going two for three in February.
14. Philadelphia Flyers (30-23-6)
After a rough start to the regular season—only winning three of their first 11 games—the Flyers are sitting at No. 7 in the East with one fewer point than the Rangers. With a win over San Jose tonight, the Flyers could take No. 6.
15. Detroit Red Wings (27-20-12)
New this season to the Eastern conference, Detroit sits in the No. 8 spot in the Conference and is tied for points with Philadelphia. Though tied for points, the Red Wings have only 23 ROW.
16. Vancouver Canucks (28-24-9)
Vancouver is clinging to the No. 8 seed in the West, with one point standing between them and No. 9 Dallas. The Canucks trail No. 7 Minnesota by four. The team went into the Olympic break on a seven-game losing streak. The Canucks started up the season again with a 1-0 victory over the Blues (via the Vancouver Sun).
17. Dallas Stars (27-21-10)
After starting the season winning five of their first 12 games, the Stars skated into the Olympic break having won three of their last four games—including a 2-0 victory over Anaheim. A win tonight over the Hurricanes would put them back into a playoff spot.
18. Phoenix Coyotes (27-21-10)
After missing the playoffs last season, the Coyotes started the season strong, winning nine of their first 14 games. Now, they sit two points away from a playoff spot. The Coyotes started the break having won two of their previous four games.
19. Columbus Blue Jackets (29-25-5)
Minnesota squeaked by Columbus for the last playoff spot last year, with Columbus having three fewer ROW. This year, the Blue Jackets started off by winning five of their first 11 games. They won two of their four February games, including a 4-2 victory over Anaheim.
20. Ottawa Senators (26-22-11)
The Senators sit three points behind No. 8 Detroit in the East. They are third in the league in goals allowed with 191, just shy of Edmonton's 199 goals against and the Islander's 200 goals against.
21. Washington Capitals (27-23-9)
With four fewer regulation and overtime wins, the Capitals fall to 21 under the Senators. After a Rangers' upset in the conference quarterfinals last season, the then No. 3 team has fallen to No. 11 this season. They sit 20 points behind Eastern leader Pittsburgh.
22. Winnipeg Jets (28-26-6)
Winnipeg went into the break on a two-game losing streak. The Jets are 25 points behind Anaheim in the West, but only three behind No. 8 Vancouver.
23. Carolina Hurricanes (26-23-9)
The struggles started early, as the Hurricanes started their season winning four of their first 12 games. They went into the Olympic break winning one of their previous four games. With 58 games played, Carolina is among the teams with the fewest games played.
24. New Jersey Devils (25-22-13)
The Devils started the season on a seven-game losing streak and went into the Olympic break having won one of their previous three games. They are the second-lowest scoring team in the league.
25. Nashville Predators (25-24-10)
Nashville is five points behind No. 8 Vancouver and last in the Central division. They sit 24 points behind the division-leading Blues.
26. New York Islanders (22-30-8)
Adding to the offensive woes of the Islanders, forward John Tavares suffered a partially torn MCL at the Olympics. Luckily for the Islanders, the Captain doesn't require surgery according to CBSSports. However, having the team leader in points and assists doesn't bode well for a struggling offense.
27. Calgary Flames (22-29-7)
Thirty-six points stand between Calgary and Anaheim for the lead in the Pacific. Between Calgary and the Pacific's No. 6 Phoenix is 13 points. Right now, the Flames are 14 points out of a playoff spot.
28. Florida Panthers (22-30-7)
With the third-worst goal differential in the league, the Panthers went into the break with one victory in six games. Florida is 15 points out of the No. 8 seed in the East.
29. Edmonton Oilers (20-33-7)
Despite young, top-tier players, wins are still hard to come by for the Oilers. The first 14 games of the season saw only three victories, but they went into the break at two for four in February. Edmonton is last in the Western Conference, with 18 points between them and Vancouver.
30. Buffalo Sabres (17-34-8)
Sabres' goaltender Ryan Miller made the U.S. Olympic team, but his team still has the worst goal differential in the league at minus-60. Buffalo is currently on a two-game win streak, but has lost four of its last six.
Statistics from NHL
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