The Minnesota Wild are on pace to extend their playoff streak to six straight seasons, but things are heating up in the Western Conference playoff race.
Check out our thoughts on the week ahead below, from first place in the Central Division through a few playoff hopefuls battling for the two wild-card spots. First, a reminder: The top three teams in each division make the playoffs, as well as two wild-card teams.
USA TODAY SportsMarilyn Indahl
Nashville Predators (93 points)
This week: vs. Dallas, vs. Anaheim, vs. New Jersey
Notables: The Predators have won eight in a row, have a plus-46 goal differential and are set to add a bona fide top-six forward in prospect Eeli Tolvanen as soon as the KHL season ends. There's not much that can slow Smashville down at this point.
Winnipeg Jets (87 points)
This week: at New York Rangers, at New Jersey, at Philadelphia
Notables:Patrik Laine has points in eight straight and is a legitimate contender for the scoring title with 35 goals on the season. The Jets added veteran center Paul Stastny at the deadline, who slots in nicely as their No. 3 center and has 44 points on the season.
Minnesota Wild (81 points)
This week: vs. Carolina, at Vancouver, at Edmonton
Notables: The Wild are one of the league's best home teams at 23-5-6. They closed out February on a five-game win streak thanks to Eric Staal, who now has 34 goals and 31 assists (65 points) in 66 games. They stumbled against the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche over the weekend, but have an opportunity to pull away from the Stars if they hold serve in three very winnable games this week.
USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
WC 1 - Dallas Stars (80 points)
This week: at Nashville, vs. Anaheim, at Pittsburgh
Notables: The Stars are just 4-4-3 in their last 10 games, and opted to stand pat (mostly) at the deadline. Goalie Ben Bishop was injured in a loss the Ottawa Senators on Monday, forcing Dallas to start backup Kari Lehtonen. His numbers have improved this season, but Lehtonen has been a .904 goaltender over the last three seasons, and probably can't be counted on if Bishop is forced to miss much time.
WC 2 - Los Angeles Kings (77 points)
This week: vs. Washington, vs. St. Louis
Notables:Jeff Carter is back after missing 55 games with a lower-body injury, and has three goals in five games since his return. It's a timely get for the Kings, who lead the resurgent Avalanche by just one point and are off until Thursday.
USA TODAY SportsWalter Tychnowicz
Colorado Avalanche (76 points)
This week: at Chicago, at Columbus, vs. Arizona
Notables: The Avalanche are just one point out of a playoff spot with a game in hand on the Kings after rattling off three straight wins against the Canucks, Flames and Wild, then taking the Predators to overtime. They could overtake L.A. as early as early as Tuesday with a win over the struggling Chicago Blackhawks.
St. Louis Blues (75 points)
This week: at San Jose, at Los Angeles
Notables: The Blues' personnel losses are adding up. Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and forward Scottie Upshall are out for the season. One of their deadline adds -- forward Nikita Soshnikov -- is out with a neck injury. It's poor timing for St. Louis, which has lost eight of its last 10 heading into pivotal matchups with the Sharks and Kings.
Notables:Nick Shore and Dalton Prout aren't exactly the trade deadline reinforcements the Flames needed. Franchise cornerstones Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are in the midst of career seasons, but they've both gone cold of late, combining for a single assist in their last four games. Coincidentally, the Flames are winless over that span, and have just three wins in their last 10 games.