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Saturday, April 5, 2014
Central race update: April 5

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 Saturday morning:

1. Blues

Record: 52-17-7
Points: 111
Regulation wins (tiebreaker): 43
Games remaining: 6 (three home, three away)
Last game: The Blues extended their winning streak to two games with a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
Last 10 games: 7-3-0
Next three games: vs. Avalanche (49-21-6) on Saturday, at Blackhawks (44-19-5) on Sunday, vs. Washington Capitals (34-30-13) on Tuesday.
Outlook: The Blues still have nothing to worry about in the Central. The Blackhawks no longer can catch them, and the Avalanche need a miracle. The Blues are tied with the Boston Bruins in the Presidents’ Trophy race.

2. Avalanche

Record: 49-21-6
Points: 104
Regulation wins (tiebreaker): 44
Games remaining: 6 (one home, five away)
Last game: The Avalanche won their fifth straight game with a 3-2 shootout win over the New York Rangers on Thursday.
Last 10 games: 6-3-1
Next three games: at Blues (52-17-7) on Saturday, vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (49-23-5) on Sunday, at Edmonton Oilers (27-42-9) on Tuesday.
Outlook: If the Blackhawks win out, the Avalanche need seven points in their final six games to remain in second place. The Avalanche play five of their final six games on the road.

3. Blackhawks

Record: 44-19-15
Points: 103
Regulation wins: 38
Games remaining: 4 (two home, two away)
Last game: The Blackhawks won their second game in a row with a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. Ben Smith scored the game-winner with less than four seconds remaining in the third period.
Last 10 games: 5-4-1
Next three games: vs. Blues (52-17-7) on Sunday, vs. Montreal Canadiens (44-27-7) on Wednesday, at Capitals (34-30-13) on Friday.
Outlook: The Blackhawks have rebounded from their three-game losing streak to win two consecutive games. A lot still has to happen for them to overtake the Avalanche.