NHL: Atlantic Division Update
The Atlantic Division has had a rough week. Only two out of eight teams managed to grab a victory in their last games (Toronto and Florida). Here’s a look at the standings and a short update on each team as we head into a new week of action.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning 28p (14-6-0)
The Bolts are at the top of the division, but the big story of out of Tampa Bay has been the horrific injury to superstar Seven Stamkos. Stamkos is expected to be out for at least three month with a broken tibia after crashing into the net against Boston in a 3-0 loss last Monday. After the injury to Stamkos, the Bolts picked up wins over Montreal and Anaheim before getting manhandled by the Coyotes (6-3 loss) on Saturday in Glendale. Besides the disappointing result, starting goalie Ben Bishop had to leave the ice with an upper-body injury. The Bolts still have three more games on the road before heading back to Florida, and it’s going to be a tough one with the LA Kings on Tuesday and then back-to-back games against San Jose and Anaheim on Thursday and Friday.
2. Boston Bruins 25p (12-6-1)
The Bruins are coming off a loss to the Ottawa Senators, a match that ended a four-game winning-streak. Boston are starting to look like the Boston that we are used to see after a somewhat uneven opening to the season. Tuukka Rask has been solid in net, and Jarome Iginla has settled in nicely with his new team getting 11 points (4G 7A) in 19 games. Bruins could do with some more scoring, right now Milan Lucic is the leading the team with eight goals. Bruins are taking on Carolina twice this week (tonight and Saturday) and between those games they also battle the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs 25p (12-7-1)
The Maple Leafs started the season extremely well, winning six out of the first seven games. After that Toronto has been struggling to put a string of victories together. The 4-2 win over the Sabres on Saturday was the start of a five-game homestand for the Leafs with the Islanders, Predators, Capitals and Blue Jackets all coming to visit Air Canada Centre within the next seven days. Phil Kessel has been leading the way for the Leafs in scoring with his 19 points (10G 9A) in 20 games. Free agent pickup Mason Raymond is second with 15 points (7G 8A). The goalie tandem with Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer has been playing really well, so expect the 1a/1b situation to continue a bit longer.
4. Detroit Red Wings 25p (9-5-7)
The Red Wings are in a slump right now, losing five straight games in OT/SO. They are allowing almost three goals per game and that is not acceptable for a team that is supposed to battle at the top of the division. Detroit has a three-game homestand to turn things around, starting with the Predators on Tuesday followed by games against the Hurricanes and Senators. Henrik Zetterberg (23p, 10G 13A) and Pavel Datsyuk (22p, 11G 11A) are playing great hockey, but the lack of secondary scoring is obvious, so look for Detroit to try and bring in a goalscorer before the trading deadline. Daniel Alfredsson has gotten a decent start to his Red Wings career, the former Senators captain has 14p (3G 11A) in 19 games. The other off-season addition, Stephen Weiss has been a huge disappointment with a lousy 3p (2G 1A) in 17 games. One thing that really stands out is how poor the team has been at home, with a record of 3-2-6 Joe Louis Arena is not the fortress it has been traditionally for the Red Wings.
5. Montreal Canadiens 22p (10-9-2)
Canadiens are coming off a tough 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers, and even though goaltender Carey Price played an impressive game and saved 33 shots, the Canadiens lacked efficiency in the attacking zone and Ryan Callahan’s power play goal was enough for the Rangers to win it and take the two points back to Manhattan. Montreal have a challenging week ahead, with games against the Wilds (home), Capitals (away) and Penguins (home). P.K. Subban leads the team with his 17 points (3G 14A) and Brendan Gallagher leads the goalscoring department with eight goals in 20 games.
6. Ottawa Senators 20p (8-8-4)
The Senators have been very inconsistent so far this season. They had a great game against Detroit winning 6-1, but then they completely collapse and lose 5-0 against a terrible Flyers team. Coming off a 4-1 loss to the Blue Jackets, the Senators are up for a interesting week with meetings against the Flyers (away), Wild (home), Red Wings (away) and Hurricanes (away). Bobby Ryan has had a great start to his Senators career coming over from the Ducks. Ryan leads the team in scoring and points (20p, 10G 10A). Super-offensive d-man Erik Karlsson also has 20p (7G 13A) and leads all defensemen in the league.
7. Florida Panthers 14p (5-12-4)
The Panthers are just as poor as many predicted heading in to the season. Many people were surprised when Florida took in Tim Thomas when they have a great young goaltender in Jacob Markstrom. After Kevin Dineen got the boot and was replaced by Peter Horacheck, Markstrom got sent down to the AHL. Markstrom didn’t have great numbers, but that was more as a result of the terrible defending by the team. The Panthers are coming off a 4-1 victory over the Avalanche in Colorado and the road trip continues this week with games against the Canucks, Oilers and Flames. Brian Campbell and Tomas Fleischmann leads the team in points, both have 12p (3G 9A).
8. Buffalo Sabres 11p (5-16-1)
The Sabres had an abysmal start to the season and last week head coach Ron Rolston and GM Darcy Regier were relieved of their duties. Ted Nolan got hired as the interim head coach and Sabres legend Pat LaFontaine is now the President of Hockey Operations. In Nolan’s first game back behind the bench (he coached the Sabres between 1995-97) the Sabres beat the Maple Leafs 4-2. The Sabres have already traded Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson and a couple of picks, and it feels like just a matter of time before Ryan Miller is traded. The team is in a complete rebuild, but that’s no excuse for just how pathetic the Sabres has started the season. Tough week ahead for the Sabres as the first host the Blues on Tuesday, followed by an away meeting with the Fyers on Thursday before closing the week on Sunday at home against the Red Wings.