We are coming out of the Central Hockey League All Star Game while the American Hockey League will have their All Star Event tomorrow night. For the American Hockey League, it will take place at the Cumberland County Civic Center tomorrow night while the South Texas All Stars beat the CHL All Stars 9-4 with Sean Muncy of the RGV Killer Bees wins the All Star Game MVP Award.
National Hockey League
Out East, the 3 Division Leaders are within 2 points of each other as the Capitals, Devils and Sabres are back and fourth towards claming the Conference Lead and looking to fend off the Pittsburgh Penguins who are just 4 points back of Atlantic Division Leaders and Sydney Crosby and company will look to lead the Atlantic as we approach the Winter Olympic Break. After the top 4, the Boston Bruins, NY Rangers, Ottawa Senators and the NY Islanders hold down spots 5-8 and are just separated by 4 points while a slew of teams that go from the 9th place Montreal Canadians through 13th place Tampa Bay Lighting.
Who are just 4 points back of the 8th place NY Islanders and these teams will look to overtake teams like NY Islanders and Montreal to get into the playoff spots. The only teams that look down and out right now are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes who are 15 points back of 8th right now and have just won 14 games this season, they will be looking to possibly the #1 overall draft pick and possibly get Windsor Spitfires Standout Taylor Hall in June.
The Western Conference has the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks as the best teams in the West with a 10 gap between the top 2 and 3rd place Colorado who will look to hold off the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks which will be the toughest Division Race this season once again. Fighting it out for the final home ice spot for the 1st round is two of the biggest surprises this season as the Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes, currently the Preds have the edge by playing 1 fewer game and having more wins then Phoenix (NSH 29, PHX 28).
Down the line out west, are the other 2 Northwest Contenders as the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames are in 6th and 7th, but just 2 points back of Northwest Leading Colorado. With the top of the West being so talented.
It will be huge to win the Northwest Division as this will be the difference between having home ice and just fighting it out to make the playoffs. Los Angeles and Detroit are on the cut line right now with the Kings up just a point over the Red Wings who have had major injury problems this season.
Dallas, Minnesota and Anaheim are with 51 points and 5 points back of 9th place Detroit and a critical match up takes place tonight in Dallas as the Stars and Wild where the winner will take a huge step while the loser will fall even further with the Ducks have a game against the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night at home in California.
St. Louis is looking to catch up to the Stars, Wild and Ducks as they are just 2 points back of this gap as they have a busy week ahead with games against the Blue Jackets tonight, Canadians on Wednesday, and the Senators on Thursday, and the Ducks on Saturday. This will give them a chance to catch up against some important teams that they are trying to chase, especially the Ducks on Saturday.
As for the Columbus and Edmonton, these are teams that won't much to play for right now as the Blue Jackets are 12 points of 8th while the Oilers are 20 points back and will look to battle the Carolina Hurricanes for the top pick in this year's NHL Draft.
American Hockey League
As we reach the AHL All Star Game tomorrow night, the Atlantic and West Division as the division title races are just 3 points separate the top 3 as the Manchester Monarchs are starting to be chased down by the Worcester Sharks and Lowell Devils. Out West, the Texas Stars who have been ahead for basically the entire season to this point are in 3rd, but are just 2 points back of the Division Leading Milwaukee Admirals and a point back of the Peoria Rivermen.
However, the Stars have 5 games in hand over the Peoria Rivermen which will give them plenty of chances to overtake and hold down the Rivermen, while it's starting to look like the Milwaukee Admirals and Texas Stars will go for the Division Title and home ice for at least the West Division Semifinals and Final Rounds of the Playoffs.
In the East Division, the Hershey Bears are opening up a huge gap with a whooping 16 point lead over the Albany River Rats where the defending champions have won an insane 32 of 43 games this season. It's also starting to become clear that right now, 4th place won't be good enough to make the playoffs as only the top 3 will make it in with the Albany River Rats are in 2nd with 50 points (23-16-4) while the Adirondack Phantoms and W-B/Scranton Penguins are tied with 42 points and could be the big battle for the final playoff spot out East.
However, the rest of the East is Edgar and waiting for one of these teams to slip up as Binghamton, Syracuse and Norfolk are just 4 and 6 points back.
Up North, the Hamilton Bulldogs have a 7 point lead at the Break, but the rest of the North is starting to tight up as the Rochester Americans who are in 2nd and looking to fend off the Manitoba Moose and Abbotsford Heat are well in striking distance while the Lake Erie Monsters are starting to heat up with a pair of impressive wins over the Hamilton Bulldogs, a strong performance on the road in Rochester and a great game despite losing in a SO over the Milwaukee Admirals.
The only team that looks to be way down is Toronto who has lost every game of a recent 7 game road trip where they will finish it up with a game against the Grand Rapids Griffins on December 22. The Marlies are currently 11 points back of 4th place Abbtosford and will most likely drift away during the 2nd half of the season.
Central Hockey League
The Northern Conference has the Colorado Eagles and Rapid City Rush battling for the top spot as the teams are both at 49 points with both teams coming off strong weekends as the All Star Break came to an end. Rapid City delivered a 6-1 beat down of Allen then a 4-3 win over Amarillo last weekend.
For Colorado, a pair of 1 goal wins over the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs kept them tied for 1st. This week, Rapid City will face off against Amarillo again at home on Tuesday night while the Eagles will host the Laredo Bucks for a pair of games on Wednesday and Friday this week.
The rest of the North of the exception of Wichita is just separated with Missouri taking over Tulsa for the 5th and final playoff spot with a 5-4 win over Mississippi paired with a 4-3 Oilers loss over the Texas Brahmas.
Unless either BOS, MIS, MIO, or TUL can pull away with a hot streak coming up, expect a very tight battle between these 4 teams as the Riverkings host the Mavericks on Friday night while Tulsa heads hosts the Wichita Thunder that same night.
Odessa has a 9 point lead over the Allen Americans with an impressive 154 goals scored this season as they expected to continue to run away with the South as the Jackalopes will have a rare 3 game series coming up this week against last place Arizona.
2nd Place Allen is playing a MLK Afternoon Game against the Arizona Sundogs today as the Sundogs are playing the final game of a 5 game road trip with a 2-2 mark with a pair of wins over Missouri and losses against Amarillo and Texas over the weekend.
Texas with a pair of home games against Corpus Christi this weekend as the Brahmas will look to at least to widen their gap on a very tight group for 3rd place and look to chase down local rival Allen as the gap from 4th to 7th is just 4 points as the Icerayz will look to catch up to the Laredo Bucks and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees to get into the Play In Round where they got beat by the Killer Bees in last year's Southern Play In Round Series.
For the Killer Bees this week, a 3 game road trip awaits them with games against Corpus Christi, Bossier-Shreveport and Tulsa. Laredo also has a 3 game road trip coming up playing the Northern Conference Leading Rapid City Rush and Colorado Eagles as this will be a huge week that set up their playoff chances in the final 2 months of the regular season.
National Hockey League
1. Washington 48 GP 30-12-6 66 PTS 182-136
2. New Jersey 46 GP 32-13-1 65 PTS 131-101
3. Buffalo 46 GP 29-11-6 64 PTS 127-106
4. Pittsburgh 50 GP 30-19-1 61 PTS 157-139
5. Boston 47 GP 23-16-8 54 PTS 122-116
6. NY Rangers 49 GP 23-19-7 53 PTS 127-131
7. Ottawa 49 GP 24-21-4 52 PTS 133-149
8. NY Islanders 48 GP 21-19-8 50 PTS 127-146
9. Montreal 50 GP 23-23-4 50 PTS 128-139
10. Philadelphia 47 GP 23-21-3 49 PTS 143-137
11. Atlanta 47 GP 21-19-7 49 PTS 149-155
12. Florida 48 GP 20-20-8 48 PTS 140-149
13. Tampa Bay 47 GP 18-19-10 46 PTS 122-144
14. Toronto 49 GP 16-24-9 41 PTS 130-170
15. Carolina 47 GP 14-26-7 35 PTS 118-162
1. Chicago 49 GP 34-11-4 72 PTS 165-110
2. San Jose 49 GP 31-10-8 70 PTS 157-123
3. Colorado 48 GP 27-15-6 60 PTS 141-135
4. Nashville 48 GP 29-16-3 61 PTS 137-132
5. Phoenix 49 GP 28-16-5 61 PTS 131-122
6. Vancouver 48 GP 28-18-2 58 PTS 155-119
7. Calgary 49 GP 26-17-6 58 PTS 130-120
8. Los Angeles 48 GP 27-18-3 57 PTS 143-133
9. Detroit 48 GP 24-16-8 56 PTS 123-124
10. Dallas 48 GP 20-17-11 51 PTS 137-154
11. Minnesota 49 GP 24-22-3 51 PTS 135-146
12. Anaheim 49 GP 22-20-7 51 PTS 138-154
13. St. Louis 47 GP 21-19-7 49 PTS 124-132
14. Columbus 50 GP 18-23-9 45 PTS 130-167
15. Edmonton 47 GP 16-26-5 37 PTS 128-159
American Hockey League
1. Manchester 44 GP 26-13-5 57 PTS 121-101
2. Worcester 43 GP 26-14-3 55 PTS 136-132
3. Lowell 45 GP 25-16-4 54 PTS 145-123
4. Hartford 43 GP 22-16-5 49 PTS 122-122
5. Portland 43 GP 21-15-7 49 PTS 129-120
6. Bridgeport 45 GP 21-19-5 47 PTS 112-119
7. Providence 44 GP 20-21-3 43 PTS 107-121
8. Springfield 46 GP 14-22-10 38 PTS 116-162
1. Hershey 43 GP 32-9-2 66 PTS 173-97
2. Albany 43 GP 23-16-4 50 PTS 120-115
3. Adirondack 40 GP 20-18-2 42 PTS 94-115
4. W-B/Scranton 42 GP 20-20-2 42 PTS 117-119
5. Binghamton 39 GP 17-18-4 38 PTS 124-121
6. Syracuse 43 GP 16-21-6 38 PTS 114-156
7. Norfolk 42 GP 17-23-2 36 PTS 105-120
1. Hamilton 44 GP 26-11-7 59 PTS 140-102
2. Rochester 42 GP 25-15-2 52 PTS 138-129
3. Manitoba 45 GP 23-17-5 51 PTS 108-123
4. Abbotsford 45 GP 21-18-6 48 PTS 121-127
5. Lake Erie 44 GP 20-20-4 44 PTS 127-131
6. Grand Rapids 43 GP 21-21-1 43 PTS 137-144
7. Toronto 42 GP 15-20-7 37 PTS 103-151
1. Milwaukee 43 GP 24-13-6 54 PTS 130-122
2. Rockford 47 GP 24-18-5 53 PTS 133-132
3. Texas 42 GP 23-13-6 52 PTS 116-97
4. Chicago 42 GP 24-16-2 50 PTS 132-113
5. Peoria 42 GP 22-16-4 48 PTS 125-124
6. Houston 44 GP 20-17-7 47 PTS 116-114
7. San Antonio 42 GP 18-19-5 41 PTS 111-120
Central Hockey League
1. Colorado 33 GP 23-7-3 49 PTS 143-101
2. Rapid City 34 GP 24-9-1 49 PTS 137-98
3. Bossier-Shreveport 35 GP 18-13-4 40 PTS 107-109
4. Mississippi 36 GP 17-15-4 38 PTS 114-121
5. Missouri 36 GP 17-16-3 37 PTS 114-130
6. Tulsa 33 GP 17-15-1 35 PTS 112-115
7. Wichita 34 GP 3-28-5 9 PTS 61-134
1. Odessa 37 GP 28-6-3 59 PTS 154-99
2. Allen 35 GP 24-9-2 50 PTS 110-95
3. Texas 37 GP 19-13-5 43 PTS 113-110
4. Laredo 35 GP 16-12-7 39 PTS 112-115
5. Rio Grande Valley 35 GP 16-15-4 36 PTS 106-119
6. Amarillo 38 GP 15-17-6 36 PTS 117-139
7. Corpus Christi 36 GP 15-16-5 35 PTS 110-111
8. Arizona 36 GP 13-20-3 29 PTS 112-126
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