The excitement and anticipation of every new NHL season is palpable for hockey fans all over North America and around the world. The thrill of seeing their favorite teams take to the ice with the hopes of achieving greatness and raising the coveted Stanley Cup is unmatched. And while every team starts with the same clean slate at the beginning of the regular season, their paths often diverge as the season progresses.
One division that has consistently stood out in the NHL is the Western Conference – Central Division. With the most champions in recent years, it has become the epicenter of top-notch hockey. This division features some of the most talented teams in the league and provides an intense and entertaining battle for the top spot every season. But as the saying goes, it’s not about how you start, but how you finish. And in this article, we will take a closer look at the regular season and playoff performance of the Central Division teams and how they fared against each other and the rest of the league.
The Central Division consists of the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, and Winnipeg Jets. These teams have been battling it out on the ice since the league realignment in 2013 and have shown no signs of slowing down.
Let’s begin with the regular-season performance of the Central Division teams in recent years. In the 2018–2019 season, the Nashville Predators claimed the top spot with 100 points, followed by the Winnipeg Jets with 99 points. The St. Louis Blues, who went on to win the Stanley Cup that season, finished third in the division with 99 points.
Moving on to the 2019–2020 season, the St. Louis Blues were once again the top team in the division with 94 points, followed by the Colorado Avalanche with 92 points. The Dallas Stars and the Winnipeg Jets rounded out the top four with 82 and 80 points, respectively. The Central Division was truly living up to its reputation of being highly competitive, with each team fighting tooth and nail for every point.
But the real test for these teams comes in the playoffs. The Central Division has had a member in the Stanley Cup Finals for the past five seasons, with the Chicago Blackhawks winning three championships during that time. However, in recent years, the division has struggled to make it past the first round.
In the 2018–2019 season, only one team from the Central Division, the St. Louis Blues, made it past the first round, and they went on to win the Stanley Cup. The other teams, including the top-seeded Nashville Predators, were eliminated in the first round. This was a shock to many fans and experts, as the Central Division had been dominated by the top teams for the past few seasons.
The 2019–2020 playoffs saw a similar trend, with only the Colorado Avalanche making it to the second round. The St. Louis Blues, who were the defending champions, were eliminated in the first round, once again proving that the playoffs can be unpredictable and anything can happen.
So why have the top teams in the Central Division struggled in the playoffs in recent years? One key factor is the grueling nature of the regular season in this division. With a high level of competition, each game is a battle, and the physical toll it takes on the players is immense. This can lead to fatigue and injuries, which can affect the team’s performance in the playoffs.
Another factor to consider is the level of talent in this division. With teams like the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues boasting some of the most skilled players in the league, there are no easy matchups in the playoffs. Any team can rise up and cause an upset, making it extremely difficult for the top teams to advance.
However, despite these struggles, the Central Division remains one of the most exciting divisions in the NHL. The intense rivalries between the teams, the high level of competition, and the sheer talent on display make for a thrilling regular season. And while the playoffs may have proved to be a challenge for the top teams, they have also shown that any team can rise up and compete with the best.
The Central Division of the Western Conference in the NHL is a hotbed of talent and intense competition. With top teams constantly battling for the top spot in the regular season and unpredictability in the playoffs, this division provides non-stop entertainment for hockey fans. And as the new season approaches, fans can’t wait to see what lies ahead for the Central Division and how these teams will fare in the race for the Stanley Cup.