Pacific: Trio of teams begin journey to Cup

by Andrew Knoll
on

 

Photo: Three Pacific Division players that could play key roles for their respective clubs include Oliver Ekman-Larsson (L) and Mike Smith (R) of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Patrick Marleau (C) of the San Jose Sharks (courtesy of

Bob Stanton/Icon Smi)

Three Pacific Division teams enter the 2012 NHL Playoffs after a wild race at season's end that left another Pacific team (Dallas) out in the cold. Below is a look at the three series involving the three Pacific teams that made the postseason – the Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, and Los Angeles Kings.

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Northeast: Sulzer a revelation for Sabres

by John-Eric Iannicello
on

 

Photo: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer has been a productive acquisition since coming over from the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline (courtesy of

Jerome Davis/Icon SMI)

Defenseman Alexander Sulzer (Buffalo Sabres), Jake Gardiner (Toronto Maple Leafs), and forward Phil Kessel (Toronto Maple Leafs), are the three stars of the week in the Northeast for March 30 – April 5.

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Atlantic: Penguins duo in high gear heading into playoffs

by Ian Altenbaugh
on

 

Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby is heading into the NHL playoffs on an offensive roll following a 10-point week (courtesy of

Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

There are some familiar faces in this week's three stars. Penguins stars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby continued to put on a clinic, combining for five goals and 12 assists over their last four games. Not to be outdone by his rivals, Philadelphia Flyers star Claude Giroux was almost as prolific, notching a goal and six assists in four games. The Flyers and Penguins will face off on Saturday in what will be a first round playoff preview.

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Southeast: Bogosian rounding into form for the Jets

by Cory Lavalette
on

 

Photo: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian has taken his game to another level this season for the improving Jets (courtesy of

Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI)

The Winnipeg Jets fell short of the playoffs in the season's final month, but that hasn't kept a couple of the Jets' core players from thriving in the last weeks of the season. And the Capitals — who clinched a playoff berth Thursday — got clutch play from an oft-criticized forward to avoid missing the postseason. Here are the Southeast Division's three stars for the week of March 30 – April 5.

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Central: Umberger finishing strong for Blue Jackets

by Andrew Sykes
on

 

Photo: Columbus Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger has struck the celebratory pose several times in recent games as the Blue Jackets wrap up a disappointing season on a high note (courtesy of

Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)

In what was an up-and-down week for the top four teams in the NHL's Central Division, it is a member of the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets who walks away with the first star of the week for Mar 30-Apr 5.

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