HANGIN' IN THERE
20. Phoenix Coyotes (23-17-9, last week: 17) – The Coyotes are 4-7-3 in their last 14 games, and have a couple of decent wins against the Canucks and Wild to show for themselves. Barely sticking in the playoff picture.
19. Ottawa Senators (22-9-9, last week: 18) – The Senators will be buyers at the trade deadline, according to their GM Bryan Murray, so there’s another team that won’t be dealing players to teams with needs.
18. Washington Capitals (22-20-8, last week: 17) – The Caps have two wins in their last 10 games, and have lost six straight games. But they’re still in it by virtue of the NHL’s worst division.
17. Detroit Red Wings (21-18-10, last week: 14) – The Wings dropped a one-sided game to the Blues, and have more tough sledding with Chicago and Montreal this week.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets (25-20-4, last week: 20) – The Blue Jackets have won seven in a row, and have been on fire since Nathan Horton returned to the lineup. How about that?
15. Philadelphia Flyers (25-19-6, last week: 16) – The Flyers took three of four points in a big Metro Division showdown with the Isles in a home-and-home series, and will try Steve Mason as their new answer at goaltender. The carousel spins round and round.
14. Toronto Maple Leafs (26-20-5, last week: 19) – Five wins in a row for the Leafs has their angst-ridden fans once again breathing a sigh of relief. This should be a playoff team barring an unforeseen disaster.
13. Vancouver Canucks (26-16-9, last week: 11) – Just two wins in their last 10 games, but John Tortorella appears to have jolted his Canucks team awake after they teamed with Calgary for master-goon theatre last weekend.
12. Montreal Canadiens (27-17-5, last week: 9) – The Habs are firmly in a playoff spot, but they’re having trouble moving any further upward. P.K. Subban and Carey Price are holding things together.
11. Minnesota Wild (27-20-5, last week 12) – Josh Harding is the best story in the NHL this season, but Darcy Kuemper has survived Minny’s bacon with Harding out of the lineup right now.