Updated March 7
Sometimes it takes a midseason coaching change to turn a team around, as the New Jersey Devils can attest with their remarkable recovery since Jacques Lemaire took over in December.
Other times, a front office move does the trick as the Calgary Flames have proven in the aftermath of Jay Feaster replacing Darryl Sutter as general manager.
|New owner Terry Pegula has changed the tone -- and the results -- in Buffalo. (AP)|
That's not good news for the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes, both of whom seemed to have the final two spots comfortably in their grasps just a couple of weeks ago. The Rangers may be more vulnerable despite sitting seventh because they have played more games than anyone in the East and have mostly struggled at home.
But Carolina has had its own consistency issues all season, and that creates a potential opening for the Sabres, New Jersey and yes, even the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are all playing their best hockey of the season right now
Meanwhile, the situation in the West remains unsettled despite recent struggles by bubble teams like Anaheim, Minnesota and Nashville. All are still among the eight teams separated by just five points starting the new week. Still the more compelling story in the conference of late has been the surges of both the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks, two powerhouses hitting their strides with only one month to go this season.
Stay tuned. The rankings through Sunday's games: