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Breaking Down The Stretch Drive

Monday, 03.01.2010 / 2:02 PM / Features
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Breaking Down The Stretch Drive
With regular-season action resuming, NHL.com look at the remaining games on each team\'s schedule.
And down the stretch they come!

Sorry to mix sports metaphors, but the horse racing call from announcer Dave Johnson can just as easily be applied to the NHL today.

With the 2010 Winter Olympics a happy memory for some and a disappointment for others, there is little, if any, time to dwell on what happened in Vancouver, unless you are the Canucks, contemplating a trip home after being on the road to accommodate the games at what now can once again be called GM Place.

Just about everyone in the NHL remains in it, but to win it the remainder of the regular season takes on even more importance than the normal regular-season stretch drive.

The majority of players got a mid-season break and should be rarin' to go.

Here is a look at how the schedule breaks down for each NHL team.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

New Jersey Devils

Remaining games: 21
Home:  11
vs. Atlantic -- March 10 Rangers; March 12 Penguins; March 17 Penguins; March 25 Rangers; April 10 Islanders.
vs. Northeast -- March 15 Bruins; March 30 Bruins; April 11 Sabres.
vs. Southeast -- None.
vs. Central -- March 20 Blues, March 23 Blue Jackets; April 2 Blackhawks.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Away: 10
vs. Atlantic -- March 13 Islanders; March 28 Flyers.
vs. Northeast -- March 18 Maple Leafs; March 27 Canadiens.
vs. Southeast -- April 3 Hurricanes; April 6 Thrashers; April 8 Panthers.
vs. Central -- None.
vs. Northwest -- March 5 Flames; March 7 Oilers.
vs. Pacific -- March 2 Sharks.

Skinny: The Devils have a daunting task coming out of the break, with games in San Jose, Calgary and Edmonton. After that, however, they don't venture far from their Newark home. Their longest road trip is an early April three-game swing through Carolina, Atlanta and Florida, and all three could be out of the playoff race by then. The game in Atlanta on April 6 will be Ilya Kovalchuk's first against his former team.

New York Islanders

Remaining games: 20
Home: 11
vs. Atlantic -- March 13 Devils; March 30 Rangers; April 1 Flyers; April 11 Penguins.
vs. Northeast -- March 6 Bruins; March 14 Maple Leafs; April 3 Senators; April 6 Canadiens.
vs. Southeast -- None.
vs. Central -- March 2 Blackhawks; March 11 Blues.
vs. Northwest -- March 25 Flames.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Away: 9
vs. Atlantic -- March 9 Flyers; March 24 Rangers; April 8 Penguins; April 10 Devils.
vs. Northeast -- None.
vs. Southeast -- March 4 Thrashers.
vs. Central -- March 27 Blue Jackets.
vs. Northwest -- March 16 Canucks.
vs. Pacific -- March 19 Ducks; March 20 Kings.

Skinny: The Islanders have just nine games left on the road -- which is good because they're just 9-17-6 away from Nassau Coliseum.

New York Rangers

Remaining games: 20
Home: 8
vs. Atlantic -- March 4 Penguins; March 14 Flyers; March 24 Islanders; April 9 Flyers.
vs. Northeast -- March 7 Sabres; March 16 Canadiens; April 7 Maple Leafs.
vs. Southeast -- None.
vs. Central -- March 18 Blues.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Away: 12
vs. Atlantic -- March 10 Devils; March 25 Devils; March 30 Islanders; April 11 Flyers.
vs. Northeast -- March 2 Senators; March 21 Bruins; March 27 Maple Leafs; April 6 Sabres.
vs. Southeast -- March 6 Capitals; March 12 Thrashers; April 2 Lightning; April 3 Panthers.
vs. Central -- None.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Skinny: The Rangers entered the break on a good note, winning two in a row to move within one point of a playoff spot in the jammed-up Eastern Conference. It won't be much fun coming out of the break, however, as their first five games are against the five top teams in the conference, including road games at Ottawa and Washington. With goalie Henrik Lundqvist playing every game for Sweden in the Olympics and Marian Gaborik less than 100 percent thanks to a sliced thigh, the Rangers will need a few other players to step up in a major way.

Philadelphia Flyers

Remaining games: 22
Home: 10
vs. Atlantic -- March 9 Islanders; March 28 Devils; April 11 Rangers.
vs. Northeast -- March 7 Maple Leafs; March 11 Bruins; April 2 Canadiens.
vs. Southeast -- March 21 Thrashers.
vs. Central -- March 13 Blackhawks; April 4 Red Wings.
vs. Northwest -- March 25 Wild.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Away: 12
vs. Atlantic -- March 14 Rangers; March 27 Penguins; April 1 Islanders; April 9 Rangers.
vs. Northeast -- March 5 Sabres; March 23 Senators; April 6 Maple Leafs.
vs. Southeast -- March 2 Lightning; March 3 Panthers; March 20 Thrashers.
vs. Central -- March 16 Predators.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- March 18 Stars.

Skinny: They have the most games left of any team in the division, and need to use those games in hand to their advantage. They come out of the break with three games in four nights on the road (Lightning, Panthers, Sabres), followed by a four-game homestand.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Remaining games: 20
Home: 10
vs. Atlantic -- March 27 Flyers; April 8 Islanders.
vs. Northeast -- March 2 Sabres; March 7 Bruins; March 28 Maple Leafs.
vs. Southeast -- March 20 Hurricanes; March 31 Lightning; April 3 Thrashers; April 6 Capitals.
vs. Central -- None.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- March 6 Stars.

Away: 10
vs. Atlantic -- March 4 Rangers; March 12 Devils; March 17 Devils; April 11 Islanders.
vs. Northeast -- March 18 Bruins.
vs. Southeast -- March 11 Hurricanes; March 14 Lightning; March 24 Capitals; April 10 Thrashers.
vs. Central -- March 22 Red Wings.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Skinny: While many will point to the Pens' two games left against the Capitals, a bigger concern is two games left in New Jersey. The Penguins trail the Devils by just one point for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, but have just two goals in four games against them this season (all losses). The Pens' last 20 games are split evenly home and road, but that shouldn't be a problem -- Pittsburgh's 18 road wins are tied for the second-most in the League.

Northeast Division

Boston Bruins

Remaining games: 22
Home: 10
vs. Northeast -- March 2 Montreal; March 4 Toronto; March 29 Buffalo; April 8 Buffalo
vs. Atlantic -- March 18 Pittsburgh; March 21 Rangers;
vs. Southeast -- March 25 Tampa Bay; April 1 Florida; April 10 Carolina
vs. Central -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 27 Calgary
vs. Pacific -- None

Away: 12
vs. Northeast -- March 9 Toronto; March 13 Montreal; April 3 Toronto.
vs. Atlantic -- March 6 Islanders; March 7 Pittsburgh; March 11 Philadelphia; March 15 New Jersey; March 30 New Jersey;
vs. Southeast -- March 16 Carolina; March 23 Atlanta; April 5 Washington; April 11 Washington
vs. Central -- None
vs. Northwest -- None
vs. Pacific -- None

Skinny: The Bruins have a difficult seven-game road trip from March 6-16.

Buffalo Sabres

Remaining games: 22
Home: 9
vs. Northeast -- March 24 Montreal; March 26 Ottawa
vs. Atlantic -- March 5 Philadelphia; April 6 Rangers
vs. Southeast -- March 3 Washington: March 27 Tampa Bay; March 31 Florida;
vs. Central -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 12 Minnesota
vs. Pacific -- March 10 Dallas

Away: 13
vs. Northeast -- March 29 Boston; April 1 Toronto; April 3 Montreal; April 8 Boston; April 10 Ottawa
vs. Atlantic -- March 2 Pittsburgh; March 7 Rangers; April 11 New Jersey
vs. Southeast -- March 16 Atlanta; March 18 Tampa Bay; March 20 Florida; March 21 Carolina;
vs. Central -- March 13 Detroit
vs. Northwest -- None
vs. Pacific -- None

Skinny: The Sabres face a mid-March five-game road trip and play their final three April games on the road, including the last two against division leaders Ottawa and New Jersey.

Montreal Canadiens

Remaining games: 19
Home: 9
vs. Northeast -- March 13 Boston; March 22 Ottawa; April 3 Buffalo; April 10 Toronto
vs. Atlantic -- March 27 New Jersey;
vs. Southeast -- March 9 Tampa Bay; March 25 Florida; March 31 Carolina;
vs. Central -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 11 Edmonton
vs. Pacific -- None

Away: 10
vs. Northeast -- March 2 Boston; March 20 Toronto; March 24 Buffalo
vs. Atlantic -- March 16 Rangers; April 2 Philadelphia; April 6 Islanders;
vs. Southeast -- April 8 Carolina
vs. Central -- None
vs. Northwest -- None
vs. Pacific -- March 4 San Jose; March 6 Los Angeles; March 7 Anaheim

Skinny: The Canadiens have been a team of streaks this season, but have played better the past two months. They rank 25th in goals and 28th in 5-on-5 play, but are 15th in defense.

Ottawa Senators

Remaining games: 19
Home: 7
vs. Northeast -- March 6 Toronto; March 16 Toronto; April 10 Buffalo
vs. Atlantic -- March 2 Rangers; March 23 Philadelphia
vs. Southeast -- March 27 Florida; April 1 Carolina
vs. Central -- None
vs. Northwest -- None
vs. Pacific -- None

Away: 12
vs. Northeast -- March 22 Montreal; March 26 Buffalo
vs. Atlantic -- April 3 Islanders
vs. Southeast -- March 4 Carolina; March 18 Atlanta; March 30 Washington; April 6 Florida; April 8 Tampa Bay
vs. Central -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 9 Edmonton; March 11 Calgary; March 13 Vancouver
vs. Pacific -- March 20 Dallas

Skinny: Having gone 15-7 in the third quarter, the Senators would be happy to stay the course over the remainder of the season.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Remaining games: 21
Home: 12
vs. Northeast -- March 9 Boston; March 20 Montreal; April 1 Buffalo; April 3 Boston
vs. Atlantic -- March 18 New Jersey; March 27 Rangers; April 6 Philadelphia
vs. Southeast -- March 2 Carolina; March 11 Tampa Bay; March 23 Florida; March 30 Atlanta;
vs. Central -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 13 Edmonton
vs. Pacific -- None

Away: 9
vs. Northeast -- March 4 Boston; March 6 Ottawa; March 16 Ottawa; April 10 Montreal
vs. Atlantic -- March 7 Philadelphia; March 14 Islanders; March 28 Pittsburgh; April 7 Rangers;
vs. Southeast -- March 25 Atlanta;
vs. Central -- None
vs. Northwest -- None
vs. Pacific -- None

Skinny: Trying to make up 15 points and hop over six teams is asking a lot, probably too much this time around.

Southeast Division

Atlanta Thrashers

Remaining games: 22
Home: 14
vs. Atlantic -- March 4 Islanders; March 12 Rangers; March 20 Philadelphia; April 6 New Jersey; April 10 Pittsburgh.
vs. Northeast -- March 16 Buffalo; March 18 Ottawa; March 23 Boston; March 25 Toronto.
vs. Southeast -- March 2 Florida; March 7 Carolina; March 29 Carolina.
vs. Central -- March 9 Nashville.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- March 14 Phoenix.

Away: 8
vs. Atlantic -- March 21 Philadelphia; April 1 Washington; April 3 Pittsburgh; April 9 Washington.
vs. Northeast -- March 30 Toronto.
vs. Southeast -- March 6 Tampa Bay; March 27 Carolina.
vs. Central -- March 11 Columbus.
vs. Northwest --  None.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Skinny: The Thrashers play 12 of their 17 games in the month of March in the friendly confines of Philips Arena in Atlanta. The team has fashioned a 13-10-4 mark on home ice this season and comes out of the Olympic break two points shy of the Montreal Canadiens for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Carolina Hurricanes

Remaining games: 21
Home: 10
vs. Atlantic -- March 4 Ottawa; March 11 Pittsburgh; April 3 New Jersey; April 8 Montreal.
vs. Northeast -- March 16 Boston; March 21 Buffalo.
vs. Southeast -- March 18 Washington; March 25 Washington; March 27 Atlanta.
vs. Central -- None.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- March 13 Phoenix.

Away: 11
vs. Atlantic -- March 2 Toronto; March 20 Pittsburgh.
vs. Northeast -- March 31 Montreal; April 1 Ottawa; April 10 Boston.
vs. Southeast -- March 6 Florida; March 7 Atlanta; March 10 Washington; March 23 Tampa Bay; March 29 Atlanta; April 6 Tampa Bay.
vs. Central -- None.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Skinny: Despite their miserable start to the season, the Hurricanes were actually one of the better teams heading into the Olympic break behind a season-high five-game winning streak. The team has gone 10-3-0 since naming Eric Staal captain back on Jan. 20.

Florida Panthers

Remaining games: 21
Home: 11
vs. Atlantic -- March 3 Philadelphia; April 3 New York Rangers; April 8 New Jersey.
vs. Northeast -- March 20 Buffalo; April 6 Ottawa.
vs. Southeast -- March 6 Carolina; March 16 Washington; March 21 Tampa Bay; April 11 Tampa Bay.
vs. Central -- March 29 Nashville.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- March 18 Phoenix.

Away: 10
vs. Atlantic -- None.
vs. Northeast -- March 23 Toronto; March 25 Montreal; March 27 Ottawa; March 31 Buffalo; April 1 Boston.
vs. Southeast -- March 2 Atlanta; April 10 Tampa Bay.
vs. Central -- None.
vs. Northwest -- March 9 Minnesota; March 11 Colorado.
vs. Pacific -- March 13 San Jose.

Skinny: Florida's NHL-leading eight-year post-season drought is closing in on nine. Not only did the team lose all six games in the month of February, but it has plummeted to 12th in the Eastern Conference after going 3-6-1 over its last 10 games.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Remaining games: 21
Home: 11
vs. Atlantic -- March 2 Philadelphia; March 14 Pittsburgh; April 2 New York Rangers.
vs. Northeast -- March 18 Buffalo; April 8 Ottawa.
vs. Southeast -- March 6 Atlanta; March 20 Washington; March 23 at Carolina; April 6 Carolina; April 10 Florida.
vs. Central -- None.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- March 16 Phoenix.

Away: 10
vs. Atlantic -- March 31 Pittsburgh.
vs. Northeast --  March 9 Montreal; March 11 Toronto; March 25 Boston; March 27 Buffalo.
vs. Southeast -- March 4 Washington; March 12 Washington; March 21 Florida; April 11 Florida.
vs. Central -- March 30 Columbus.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Skinny: Tampa Bay comes out of the Olympic break with a golden opportunity to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in three seasons. The Lightning are currently one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 19 of their remaining 21 games coming against conference opponents.

Washington Capitals

Remaining games: 20
Home: 12
vs. Atlantic -- March 6 New York Rangers; March 24 Pittsburgh.
vs. Northeast -- March 30 Ottawa; April 5 Boston; April 11 Boston.
vs. Southeast -- March 4 Tampa Bay; March 10 Carolina; March 12 Tampa Bay; April 1 Atlanta; April 9 Atlanta.
vs. Central -- None.
vs. Northwest -- March 28 Calgary.
vs. Pacific -- March 8 Dallas.

Away: 8
vs. Atlantic -- April 6 Pittsburgh.
vs. Northeast -- March 3 Buffalo.
vs. Southeast -- March 16 Florida; March 18 Carolina; March 20 Tampa Bay; March 25 Carolina.
vs. Central -- March 14 Chicago; April 3 Columbus.
vs. Northwest -- None.
vs. Pacific -- None.

Skinny: The Capitals have two more meetings with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby -- March 24 at Verizon Center and April 6 at Mellon Arena -- before preparations begin for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Washington, which has already clinched a playoff spot, closed out the month of February riding a three-game losing streak (0-1-2). Following a visit to Buffalo on March 3, the club has a five-game home stand before an intriguing tussle with red-hot Chicago at United Center on March 14.

Western Conference

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks

Remaining games: 21
Home: 10
vs. Central --March 7 Detroit, March 28 Columbus, April 6 St. Louis, April 11 Detroit
vs. Atlantic -- No games
vs. Northeast -- No games
vs. Southeast -- March 14 Washington
vs. Northwest -- March 3 Edmonton, March 5 Vancouver, April 4 Calgary
vs. Pacific -- March 10 Los Angeles, March 23 Phoenix

Away: 11
vs. Central -- March 25 Columbus, March 30 St. Louis
vs. Atlantic -- March 2 N.Y. Islanders, March 13 Philadelphia, April 2 New Jersey
vs. Northeast -- No games
vs. Southeast -- No games
vs. Northwest -- March 31 Minnesota, April 6 Dallas, April 9 Colorado
vs. Pacific -- March 17 Anaheim, March 18 Los Angeles, March 20 Phoenix

Skinny: After a four-game homestand from March 3-10, the Blackhawks won't play consecutive home games again until the playoffs. They will also make three separate trips to the East Coast to face the Islanders, Flyers and Devils. They will play two home-and-home series, one against Phoenix and one against Columbus. Depending on how things shake out over the final month, the Blackhawks' season finale against the Detroit Red Wings could be a preview of a first-round playoff matchup.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Remaining games: 19
Home: 10
vs. Central -- March 13 St. Louis, March 25 Chicago, April 9 Detroit
vs. Atlantic -- March 27 N.Y. Islanders
vs. Northeast -- None
vs. Southeast -- March 11 Atlanta, March 30 Tampa Bay, April 3 Washington
vs. Northwest -- March 2 Vancouver, March 15 Edmonton, March 19 Minnesota
vs. Pacific --

Away: 9
vs. Central -- March 20 Nashville, March 28 Chicago, April 1 Detroit, April 5 St. Louis, April 7 Detroit
vs. Atlantic -- March 23 New Jersey
vs. Northeast -- No games
vs. Southeast -- No games
vs. Northwest -- Northwest
vs. Pacific -- March 6 San Jose, March 8 Los Angeles, March 9 Anaheim

Skinny: Sure, they're no mathematically eliminated, but the task is daunting, because making up nine points and passing seven teams is a huge hurdle. The Jackets have eight games with Central Division opponents over the rest of the way and play a bevy of teams of battling for the final spots in the West, so they may have some motivation to play spoiler.

Detroit Red Wings

Remaining games: 21
Home: 12
vs. Central -- March 5 Nashville, March 24 St. Louis, April 1 Columbus, April 3 Nashville, April 7 Columbus
vs. Atlantic -- March 22, Pittsburgh
vs. Northeast -- March 13 Buffalo
vs. Southeast -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 3, Vancouver March 9 Calgary, March 11 Minnesota, March 26 Minnesota, March 30 Edmonton
vs. Pacific --

Away: 9
vs. Central -- March 7 Chicago, March 27 Nashville, April 9 Columbus, April 11 Chicago
vs. Atlantic -- April 4 Philadelphia
vs. Northeast -- None
vs. Southeast -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 1 Colorado, March 15 Calgary, March 19 Vancouver, March 20 Edmonton
vs. Pacific -- None

Skinny: Three games with Columbus and two with Edmonton -- those are 10 attainable points for the Red Wings, who will need them if they want to pull themselves into playoff position. The schedule is forgiving the rest of the way, with 12 home games and 8 games overall against teams not in the playoff picture right now. It sets up well for the Red Wings the rest of the way.

Nashville Predators

Remaining games: 21
Home: 12
vs. Central -- March 20 Columbus, March 27 Detroit, April 1 St. Louis, April 10 St. Louis
vs. Atlantic -- March 16 Philadelphia
vs. Northeast -- None
vs. Southeast -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 7 Vancouver, March 18 Minnesota
vs. Pacific -- March 2 Edmonton, March 4 Los Angeles, March 23 Dallas, March 25 Phoenix, March 30 Los Angeles

Away: 9
vs. Central -- March 5 Detroit, March 21 St. Louis, April 3 Detroit
vs. Atlantic -- None
vs. Northeast -- None
vs. Southeast -- March 9 Atlanta, March 29 Florida
vs. Northwest -- None
vs. Pacific -- March 11 San Jose, March 12 Anaheim, March 14 Los Angeles, April 7 Phoenix

Skinny: After a four-game, six-day trip through Atlanta, San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles, it's quite the forgiving schedule. They follow that with six of seven at home, a great chance for the Preds to solidify a spot in the playoffs.

St. Louis Blues

Remaining games: 20
Home: 8
vs. Central -- March 21 Nashville, March 30 Chicago, April 5 Columbus
vs. Atlantic -- None
vs. Northeast -- None
vs. Southeast -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 16 Colorado,
vs. Pacific -- March 25 Los Angeles, March 28 Edmonton, April 3 Dallas, April 9 Anaheim

Away: 12
vs. Central -- March 13 Columbus, March 24 Detroit, April 1 Nashville, April 7 Chicago, April 10 Nashville
vs. Atlantic -- March 11 N.Y. Islanders, March 18 N.Y. Rangers, March 20 New Jersey
vs. Northeast -- None
vs. Southeast -- None
vs. Northwest -- March 6 Colorado, March 14 Minnesota
vs. Pacific -- March 2 Phoenix, March 4 Colorado

Skinny: The Blues will return from the break just four points out of the playoffs, but they will also return to the division's most daunting schedule. They will play eight of their first nine games after the Olympics on the road, with trips as far West as Phoenix and as far East as New York. But if they can somehow come out ahead after all that, they'll have a chance to make another late run into the postseason.

Northwest Division

Calgary Flames

Remaining games: 20
Home: 9
vs. Atlantic -- March 5 New Jersey
vs. Northeast -- March 11 Ottawa
vs. Central -- March 15 Detroit
vs. Northwest -- March 3 Minnesota; April 8 Minnesota
vs. Pacific -- March 19 San Jose; March 23 Anaheim; March 31 Phoenix; April 6 San Jose

Away: 11
vs. Atlantic -- March 25 NY Islanders
vs. Northeast -- March 27 Boston
vs. Southeast -- March 28 Washington
vs. Central -- March 9 Detroit; April 4 Chicago
vs. Northwest -- March 7 Minnesota; March 14 Vancouver; March 17 Colorado; March 21 Minnesota; April 2 Colorado; April 10 Vancouver

Skinny: One strike against the Flames is that they have one fewer game remaining than any of their Northwest Division foes. Calgary, sporting a 15-14-3 record at Pengrowth Saddledome, simply has to play better in front of the home crowd. Though they are 15-9-6 on the road, the Flames' schedule includes an East Coast trip with an undesirable game at Washington, and a tough Central Division visit to Detroit and Chicago.

Colorado Avalanche

Remaining games: 21
Home: 11
vs. Southeast -- March 11 Florida
vs. Central -- March 1 Detroit; March 6 St. Louis; April 9 Chicago
vs. Northwest -- March 9 Vancouver; March 17 Calgary; April 2 Calgary
vs. Pacific -- March 24 Los Angeles; March 31 Anaheim; April 4 San Jose; April 11 Los Angeles

Away: 10
vs. Central -- March 16 St. Louis;
vs. Northwest -- April 6 Vancouver; April 7 Edmonton
vs. Pacific -- March 3 Anaheim; March 4 Phoenix; March 14 Dallas; March 21 Anaheim; March 22 Los Angeles; March 27 Phoenix; March 28 San Jose

Skinny: Looking for their first postseason trip since 2007-08, the Avalanche appear in good shape with a young and exciting nucleus, a dominating home record (20-8-2) and the fourth-best goal differential (plus-20) in the Western Conference. A potential stumbling block is a three two-game road trips to visit Pacific Division squads. With 76 points, the Avalanche has already surpassed its point total from all of last season (69), also making them the only NHL team thus far to surpass its 2008-09 point total.

Edmonton Oilers

Remaining games: 21
Home: 9
vs. Atlantic -- March 7 New Jersey
vs. Northeast -- March 9 Ottawa
vs. Central -- March 19 Detroit
vs. Northwest -- March 5 Edmonton; March 23 Vancouver; April 5 Minnesota; April 7 Colorado
vs. Pacific -- March 21 San Jose; March 26 Anaheim

Away: 12
vs. Northeast -- March 11 Montreal; March 13 Toronto
vs. Central -- March 2 Nashville; March 3 Chicago; March 15 Columbus; March 28 St. Louis; March 30 Detroit
vs. Northwest -- March 16 Minnesota
vs. Pacific -- April 2 Dallas; April 3 Phoenix; April 10 Los Angeles; April 11 Anaheim

Skinny: With the worst record (19-36-6) in the League, the Oilers are playing out the string and will miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. One area Edmonton does lead the NHL is man games lost due to injury, with 340. Among the current fallen are stars Ales Hemsky, Sheldon Souray, Nikolai Khabibulin, and Shawn Horcoff, Lubomir Visnovsky, Mike Comrie, Robert Nilsson and Sam Gagner have also missed time. The Oilers play 15 games in March, seven at Rexall Place, where they are 11-17-4.

Minnesota Wild

Remaining games: 21
Home: 10
vs. Southeast -- March 9 Florida
vs. Central -- March 14 St. Louis; March 31 Chicago
vs. Northwest -- March 7 Calgary; March 16 Edmonton; March 21 Calgary
vs. Pacific -- March 23 San Jose; March 29 Los Angeles; April 2 San Jose; April 10 Dallas

Away: 11
vs. Atlantic -- March 25 Philadelphia
vs. Northeast -- March 12 Buffalo
vs. Central -- March 11 Detroit; March 18 Nashville; March 19 Columbus; March 26 Detroit
vs. Northwest -- March 3 Calgary; March 5 Edmonton; April 4 Vancouver; April 5 Edmonton; April 6 Calgary

Skinny: The Wild are attempting to return to the postseason for the first time since 2007-08. Minnesota has the sixth-most home wins (21) in the League and will look to close the five-point gap between 13th and eighth place on the strength of their dominance at Xcel Energy Center, where the Wild have 10 games remaining. However, not all the home contests will be easy. Included are two visits each by San Jose and Calgary, and one from Chicago and Los Angeles. The road schedule features two dangerous visits to Detroit, also in the playoff hunt.

Vancouver Canucks

Remaining games: 21
Home: 10
vs. Atlantic -- March 16 NY Islanders
vs. Northeast -- March 13 Ottawa
vs. Central -- March 20 Detroit
vs. Northwest -- March 14 Calgary; April 4 Minnesota; April 6 Colorado; April 10 Calgary
vs. Pacific -- March 18 San Jose; March 24 Anaheim; March 30 Phoenix

Away: 11
vs. Central -- March 2 Columbus; March 3 Detroit; March 5 Chicago; March 7 Nashville
vs. Northwest -- March 9 Colorado; March 23 Edmonton
vs. Pacific -- March 10 Phoenix; March 27 San Jose; April 1 Los Angeles; April 2 Anaheim; April 8 San Jose

Skinny: The Canucks are cruising toward a second straight playoff berth. They’ll return from the Olympic break to play the last six games of a League-record 14-game road trip. Thus far, Vancouver is 4-4-0. On March 13, the Canucks return home for the first time since Jan. 27 to play five straight at GM Place, where they are 23-7-1 (tied for the League lead in home wins). Vancouver is in first in the Northwest Division with 76 points, same as Colorado but with two more wins.

Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks

Remaining games: 20
Home: 12
vs. Atlantic -- March 19 Islanders
vs. Northeast -- March 7 Montreal
vs. Central -- March 9 Columbus; March 12 Nashville; March 17 Chicago
vs. Northwest -- March 3 Colorado; March 21 Colorado; April 2 Vancouver; April 11 Edmonton
vs. Pacific -- March 14 San Jose; March 29 Dallas; April 6 Los Angeles

Away: 8
vs. Central -- April 9 St. Louis
vs. Northwest -- March 23 Calgary; March 24 Vancouver; March 26 Edmonton; March 31 Colorado
vs. Pacific -- March 6 Phoenix; April 3 Los Angeles; April 9 Dallas

Skinny: The Ducks play 12 of their last 20 at Honda Center, where they are 19-8-2 and won a franchise-record 11 straight heading into the Olympic break. Most of those 12 games will be against tough opponents, as only four are matchups with teams currently not in postseason position. Coming back from the Olympic break, Anaheim will be at home for eight of its first nine games, including a seven-game home stand. The Ducks are in 11th place in the conference, two points behind No. 8 Calgary for the final Western playoff berth. Anaheim has not missed the playoffs since 2003-04.

Dallas Stars

Remaining games: 21
Home: 12
vs. Atlantic -- March 18 Philadelphia
vs. Northeast -- March 20 Ottawa
vs. Central -- March 4 St. Louis; April 6 Chicago
vs. Northwest -- March 14 Colorado; April 2 Edmonton
vs. Pacific -- March 2 Los Angeles; March 12 Los Angeles; March 16 San Jose; March 21 Phoenix; March 31 San Jose; April 8 Anaheim

Away: 9
vs. Atlantic -- March 6 Pittsburgh
vs. Northeast -- March 10 Buffalo
vs. Southeast -- March 8 Washington
vs. Central -- March 23 Nashville; April 3 St. Louis
vs. Northwest -- April 10 Minnesota
vs. Pacific -- March 25 San Jose; March 27 Los Angeles; March 29 Anaheim

Skinny: The Stars play 12 of their last 21 at American Airlines Center, where they are 18-6-5. Heading into the Olympic break, they won seven of their last eight games at home, and 10 of their last 12. Only three of those 12 home games come against teams currently out of the playoff picture. Dallas also has one trip to the East Coast to meet three formidable foes. They are currently ninth, one point behind Calgary for the final Western playoff berth with a game in hand on the Flames. The Stars have never missed the postseason for two straight seasons since relocating to Dallas in 1993-94.

Los Angeles Kings

Remaining games: 21
Home: 11
vs. Atlantic -- March 20 NY Islanders
vs. Northeast -- March 6 Montreal
vs. Central -- March 9 Columbus; March 14 Nashville; March 19 Chicago
vs. Northwest -- March 22 Colorado; April 1 Vancouver; April 10 Edmonton
vs. Pacific -- March 27 Dallas; April 3 Anaheim; April 8 Phoenix

Away: 10
vs. Central -- March 4 Nashville; March 10 Chicago; March 25 St. Louis; March 30 Nashville
vs. Northwest -- March 24 Colorado; March 29 Minnesota; April 11 Colorado
vs. Pacific -- March 2 Dallas; March 12 Dallas; April 6 Anaheim

Skinny: The Kings play 11 of their final 21 games at Staples Center, where they are 18-9-3, and only four of the 11 are against non-playoff teams. March features one four-game home stand but also mixed in are four separate two-game road trips. Four of Los Angeles’ six games in April are at home. The Kings are in fifth place in the Western Conference, 10 points ahead of ninth-place Dallas, and are third in the Pacific Division behind Phoenix and San Jose. With the second-best record after 61 games in franchise history, the Kings are in prime contention to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02.

Phoenix Coyotes

Remaining games: 19
Home: 8
vs. Central -- March 2 St. Louis; March 20 Chicago; April 7 Nashville
vs. Northwest -- March 4 Colorado; March 10 Vancouver; March 27 Colorado; April 3 Edmonton
vs. Pacific -- March 6 Anaheim

Away: 11
vs. Southeast -- March 13 Carolina; March 14 Atlanta; March 16 Tampa Bay; March 18 Florida
vs. Central -- March 23 Chicago; March 25 Nashville
vs. Northwest -- March 30 Vancouver; March 31 Calgary
vs. Pacific -- March 21 Dallas; April 8 Los Angeles; April 10 San Jose

Skinny: The surprising Coyotes will spend the majority of their last 19 games on the road, where they are 15-12-3. After returning from the Olympic break with a four-game home stand, Phoenix will play nine of the next 11 on the road, beginning with four games against Southeast Division foes, all of which are currently out of the playoff picture in the East. The Coyotes are in fourth place in the Western Conference, 11 points ahead of ninth-place Dallas, and are second in the Pacific Division behind San Jose. Phoenix is on pace to reach the postseason for the first time since 2001-2.

San Jose Sharks

Remaining games: 20
Home: 10
vs. Atlantic -- March 2 New Jersey
vs. Northeast -- March 4 Montreal
vs. Southeast -- March 13 Florida
vs. Central -- March 6 Columbus; March 11 Nashville
vs. Northwest -- March 27 Vancouver; March 28 Colorado; April 8 Vancouver
vs. Pacific -- March 25 Dallas; April 10 Phoenix

Away: 10
vs. Northwest -- March 18 Vancouver; March 19 Calgary; March 21 Edmonton; March 23 Minnesota; April 2 Minnesota; April 4 Colorado; April 6 Calgary
vs. Pacific -- March 14 Anaheim; March 16 Dallas; March 31 Dallas;

Skinny: The Sharks, in contention for a second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy, have an evenly balanced schedule of home and away contests. After the Olympic break they return to HP Pavilion at San Jose for five games, followed by a six-game road trip. At 19-5-7 and 21-8-2, the Sharks have had little problem winning at home and on the road, respectively. On pace for a third straight Pacific Division title, San Jose is two points ahead of Chicago for first in the Western Conference but have one less game remaining.