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Friday, March 28, 2014
Central race update: March 28

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 Friday morning:

1. Blues

Record: 50-16-7
Points: 107
Regulation wins (tiebreaker): 42
Games remaining: 9 (six home, three away)
Last game: The Blues put up five goals for the second consecutive game and defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Thursday. T.J. Oshie scored three goals for St. Louis.
Next three games: Vs. Dallas Stars (34-27-11) on Saturday, vs. Philadelphia Flyers (38-27-7) on Tuesday, vs. Buffalo Sabres (20-45-8) on Thursday.
Outlook: The Blues would need to have a complete collapse at this point for anyone to catch them in the division. They’re eight points ahead of the Blackhawks with nine games remaining.

2. Blackhawks

Record: 42-17-15
Points: 99
Regulation wins: 37
Games remaining: 8 (three home, five away)
Last game: The Blackhawks were shut out for the second time in the last three games as they lost to the Boston Bruins 3-0 on Thursday. Patrick Kane’s absence has been noticeable for the Blackhawks.
Next three games: At Ottawa Senators (29-29-14) on Friday, at Pittsburgh Penguins (46-22-5) on Sunday, vs. Wild (37-26-11) on Thursday.
Outlook: The Blackhawks didn’t have much of a chance of catching the Blues before Thursday, and they have even less of one now. The Blackhawks have to be concerned about the Avalanche right behind them and finding a way to be more consistent from game to game.

3. Avalanche

Record: 46-21-6
Points: 98
Regulation wins: 42
Games remaining: 9 (three home, six away)
Last game: The Avalanche won their second consecutive game with a 3-2 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. The Avalanche improved to 25-4-6 in one-goal games.
Next three games: Vs. San Jose Sharks (47-19-9) on Saturday, at Columbus Blue Jackets (37-29-6) on Tuesday, vs. New York Rangers on Thursday
Outlook: The Avalanche have bounced back from their three-game winning streak with back-to-back wins. They’re only one point behind the Blackhawks. It should be an interesting last few weeks to the season.