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NHL Central Division Has Three-Way Logjam at the Top: Fan Reaction
The NHL has some heated rivalries. None will be more prominent than those in the Central Division as three teams are tied atop the standings with 53 points apiece. The Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks all have the same point total in what is arguably the best division in hockey. Just five points behind are the Nashville Predators.
All three top teams arrived at 53 points in pretty much the same fashion. The Blues, Blackhawks and Red Wings all dominate teams on home ice but then can't seem to win on the road. The teams have just 10 losses among them at home. Yet on the road, they have combined for 29 losses in regulation.
Four teams in the Central Division would make the Western Conference playoffs if the postseason were to start today. Only two teams each from the other divisions would qualify from the west.
The Central is arguably the best division in hockey. The top four teams have higher point totals than any other division. The lone bad apple in the bunch belongs to the Columbus Blue Jackets who happen to be the worst team in the NHL with just 27 points.
When the top teams battle it out during the second half of the season, the entire NHL may look to the nation's midsection to see three great teams slug it out. The Blues, Red Wings and Blackhawks have some of the longest and most heated rivalries in hockey save for the Canadian teams.
Having these clubs so close together in the standings simply makes for some exciting hockey and it isn't even the All-Star break. The three teams have got to figure out ways to win on the road or they may have to fight for seeds as the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs approach.
The Blues next play Jan. 10 on the road against the Montreal Canadiens. The game is a homecoming of sorts for Blues netminder Jaroslav Halak—he spent the better part of two seasons in Montreal from 2008 to 2010. His best season was 2009-2010 in which Halak started 43 games and had a 2.40 goals against average. After 21 games in St. Louis already this season, the Czech goaltender has a 2.29 GAA which is a career best for the number of games he's played.
William Browning was born in St. Louis and has been a lifelong Blues fan.
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