SPORTS

Canadian NHL teams back to work after Sochi Games

02/25/2014 01:36 EST | Updated 04/27/2014 05:59 EDT
As members of Canada’s Olympic men’s hockey team prepared to board various flights Sunday out of Sochi, Russia, many Canadian hockey fans delivered a final cheer to all players on the gold medal squad.

But don’t expect the love to last this week as the National Hockey League returns from an 18-day Winter Games shutdown, and the jockeying for playoff position resumes.

The lone game Tuesday features Carolina at the NHL-worst Buffalo Sabres.

Carey Price, who led Olympic goalies with a 0.59 goals-against average while posting a .971 save percentage and two shutouts, and the Montreal Canadiens host Detroit on Wednesday while the Canadian defence tandem of Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues might not receive the most loving welcome to Vancouver by fans later that night with the Canucks having lost seven straight.

Action ramps up Thursday on 12 fronts, including games in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary, where Team Canada’s Shea Weber pays a visit with the Nashville Predators after finishing second to fellow defenceman Drew Doughty in Canadian scoring with five points in Sochi.

And expect a strong contingent of Toronto fans in Montreal on Saturday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m.) prepared to boo Price and Canadiens blue-liner P.K. Subban, who saw limited action in Sochi.

The teams sat fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Eastern Conference entering play Tuesday with 70 points apiece, seven ahead of ninth-place Columbus, which has a game in hand on the Canadiens and two on the Maple Leafs. The No. 10 Ottawa Senators are also seven points in arrears of their Canadian foes.

In the West, the Dallas Stars occupy the eighth and final playoff spot with 64 points. Vancouver and Winnipeg have 63 and 62 points, respectively, but have played two fewer games.

Calgary and Edmonton are well back with 51 and 47 points.

Below is a capsulized look at the Canadian squads, where they stand coming back from the Olympic break and what lies ahead for the final six weeks of the regular season.

CALGARY FLAMES

Record: 22-29-7 for 51 points

Regulation plus overtime wins (first criteria for regular-season tiebreaker): 18

Standing: 13th in Western Conference; 6th in Pacific Division

Players returning from Olympics: D Ladislav Smid (Czech Rep.), G Reto Berra (Switzerland) and Mikael Backlund (Sweden)

Injuries: LW Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain, on IR), G Karri Ramo (knee, out indefinitely)

Games remaining: 24

Games left vs. teams in playoff spot: 11

This week’s schedule: Home (1) — vs. Los Angeles on Thursday; Away (1) — at Edmonton on Saturday

EDMONTON OILERS

Record: 20-33-7 for 47 points

Regulation plus overtime wins: 18

Standing: 14th in Western Conference; 7th in Pacific Division

Players returning from Olympics: F Ales Hemsky (Czech Rep.), D Anton Belov (Russia) and D Martin Marincin (Slovakia)

Injuries: On injured reserve — F Steve MacIntyre (knee), F Ryan Hamilton (knee), F Tyler Pitlick (sprained left knee) and G Richard Bachman (strained groin)

Games remaining: 22

Games left vs. teams in playoff spot: 13

This week’s schedule: Home (2) — vs. Minnesota on Thursday and vs. Calgary on Saturday

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Record: 32-21-6 for 70 points

Regulation plus overtime wins: 29

Standing: 4th in Eastern Conference; 3rd in Atlantic Division

Players returning from Olympics: G Carey Price (Canada), D P.K. Subban (Canada), F Tomas Plekanec (Czech Rep.), D Andrei Markov (Russia), D Alexei Emelin (Russia), G Peter Budaj (Slovakia) and F Max Pacioretty (United States)

Injuries: On injured reserve — D Davis Drewiske (shoulder surgery), F Alex Galchenyuk (broken hand) and F Michael Bournival (concussion). F Max Pacioretty (lower body, probable for Wednesday) and F Travis Moen (lower body, questionable for Wednesday)

Games remaining: 23

Games left vs. teams in playoff spot: 15

This week’s schedule: Hone (2) — vs. Detroit on Wednesday and vs. Toronto on Saturday; Away (1) — at Pittsburgh on Thursday

OTTAWA SENATORS

Record: 26-22-11 for 63 points

Regulation plus overtime wins: 23

Standing: 10th in Eastern Conference; 6th in Atlantic Division

Players returning from Olympics: F Milan Michalek (Czech Rep.) and D Erik Karlsson (Sweden)

Injuries: On injured reserve — F Mark Stone (arm). F Clarke MacArthur (foot, questionable for Thursday vs. Detroit) and D Chris Phillips (lower body, questionable for Thursday)

Games remaining: 23

Games left vs. teams in playoff spot: 12

This week’s schedule: Home (1) — vs. Detroit on Thursday; Away (1) — at Vancouver on Sunday

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Record: 32-22-6 for 70 points

Regulation plus overtime wins: 23

Standing: 5th in Eastern Conference; 4th in Atlantic Division

Players returning from Olympics: F Nikolai Kulemin (Russia), F Phil Kessel (United States) and F James van Riemsdyk (United States)

Injuries: On injured reserve — F Dave Bolland (left ankle surgery), F Trevor Smith (broken hand) and F Carter Ashton (hand). F Jay McClement (upper body, questionable for Thursday at NY Islanders)

Games remaining: 22

Games left vs. teams in playoff spot: 14

This week’s schedule: Road (2) — at NY Islanders on Thursday and at Montreal on Saturday

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Record: 27-24-9 for 63 points

Regulation plus overtime wins: 24

Standing: 10th in Western Conference; 5th in Pacific Division

Players returning from Olympics: G Roberto Luongo (Canada), D Dan Hamhuis (Canada), D Alex Edler (Sweden), F Daniel Sedin (Sweden), D Rafael Diaz (Switzerland), D Yannick Weber (Switzerland) and F Ryan Kesler (United States)

Injuries: On injured reserve — D Andrew Alberts (concussion), F Mike Santorelli (right shoulder surgery), D Christopher Tanev (broken thumb, doubtful for Wednesday vs. St. Louis) and D Kevin Bieksa (bruised foot, questionable for Wednesday). F Henrik Sedin (bruised ribs, questionable for Wednesday), F Ryan Kesler (hand, questionable for Wednesday), F Alex Burrows (sprained hand, questionable for Wednesday) and D Yannick Weber (upper body, questionable for Wednesday)

Games remaining: 22

Games left vs. teams in playoff spot: 11

This week’s schedule: Home (3) — vs. St. Louis on Wednesday, vs. Minnesota on Friday and vs. Ottawa on Sunday

WINNIPEG JETS

Record: 28-26-6 for 62 points

Regulation plus overtime wins: 23

Standing: 11th in Western Conference; 6th in Central Division

Players returning from Olympics: G Ondrej Pavelec (Czech Rep.), F Michael Frolik (Czech Rep.), F Olli Jokinen (Finland) and F Blake Wheeler (United States)

Injuries: On injured reserve — D Grant Clitsome (season-ending back surgery), F Jim Slater (sports hernia surgery, questionable for Thursday vs. Phoenix) and F Matt Halischuk (right forearm surgery). F Evander Kane (hand infection, probable for Thursday)

Games remaining: 22

Games left vs. teams in playoff spot: 14

This week’s schedule: Home (1) — vs. Phoenix on Thursday; Away (1) — at Nashville on Saturday

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