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Monday, March 24, 2014
Central race update: March 24

By Scott Powers

Here’s a look at where the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues stand in the Central division race as of Monday:

1. Blues
Record: 48-16-7
Points: 103
Regulation wins (tiebreaker): 40
Games remaining: 11 (seven home, four away)
Last game: The Blues snapped a two-game losing streak and edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 on Sunday. David Backes provided the game’s lone goal in the third period.
Next three games: At Toronto Maple Leafs (36-29-8) on Tuesday, vs. Minnesota Wild (37-24-11) on Thursday, vs. Dallas Stars (33-26-11) on Saturday.
Outlook: The Blues had to feel better about their Central division hold after Sunday. The Blackhawks had pulled within four points of them after the Blues dropped two straight and the Blackhawks won two straight. After a Blues win and Blackhawks loss on Sunday, the Blues regained a six-point lead and have a game in hand.

2. Blackhawks
Record: 41-16-15
Points: 97
Regulation wins: 36
Games remaining: 10 (four home, six away)
Last game: The Blackhawks had their two-game winning streak snapped in a 2-0 loss to the Nashville Predators on Sunday. The Blackhawks are 1-3-0 against the Predators this season.
Next three games: Vs. Stars (33-26-11) on Tuesday, at Bruins (49-17-5) on Thursday, at Ottawa Senators (28-29-13).
Outlook: The Blackhawks’ hopes to make a run at the Blues were reduced on Sunday. The Blackhawks can’t afford many more losses if they want to have any chance to catch them. The Blackhawks still have to be worried about the Avalanche, too.

3. Avalanche
Points: 94
Record: 44-21-6
Regulation wins: 41
Games remaining: 11 (four home, seven away)
Last game: The Avalanche lost to the Bruins 2-0 on Friday. The Avalanche have picked up one point in their last three games.
Next three games: At Predators (31-31-10) on Tuesday, vs. Vancouver Canucks (33-30-10) on Thursday, at San Jose Sharks (46-18-8) on Saturday.
Outlook: The Avalanche need to turn things around quickly if they’re going to push the Blackhawks for second place. Since defeating the Blackhawks on March 12, the Avalanche have gone 1-3-1.