Canadiens Get Some Company At The Top Of The Standings: Atlantic Division Recap – Week 9
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings find themselves a top the standings with the Montreal Canadiens after both teams were able to post a good amount of wins during this past week’s of action in the NHL.
With that said, let’s do what we do at the beginning of every week and take a look at what’s been going on recently within the Atlantic division.
As always teams are listed in order of their current standing within the division and since this is being posted on Tuesday morning, all Monday night games were taken into account.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Record: 17-6-2 (36 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Lightning have won 4 games in a row and are rolling right a long just as they have been all year behind stud goaltender Ben Bishop. Tampa Bay gets a home and home against the Sabres this week so look for the Bolts to have another rather successful week as they continue to pile up wins and points.
Who’s hot? Until he slows down, Steven Stamkos is going to occupy this spot for the majority of the season it feels like. The man is just unstoppable at the moment and he now has 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in 25 games. He’s also been held off the scoresheet just twice in his last 16 games, that’s just ridiculous.
Who’s not? Pretty tough to find a weak spot on Tampa’s roster at the moment, however their penalty-kill could use a little work as it’s currently ranked 18th in the NHL.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/2 at Buffalo Sabres, Thursday 12/4 vs. Buffalo Sabres and Saturday 12/6 vs. Washington Capitals
Record: 17-7-2 (36 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Canadiens have lost 3 of their last 4 and are struggling at the moment but they’ve shown to be too resilient and too talented this season to let that stay a trend for too long. However with a tough schedule this week that involves a few games on the road Montreal will have their hands full as they look to get back on track.
Who’s hot? Max Pacioretty has been a force in the offensive end so far this year for the Canadiens as he’s fired an obscene 96 shots on net that has translated into 20 points (12 goals, 8 assists) for the burly winger. As he and his linemates go, so does Montreal.
Who’s not? Despite seeing a massive increase in ice time, defenseman Sergei Gonchar went pointless this week and has been held without a point for 5 straight games. Needless to say but he hasn’t brought an offensive spark from the back-end like was originally anticipated when the Canadiens traded for him last month.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Wednesday 12/3 at Minnesota Wild, Friday 12/5 at Chicago Blackhawks and Saturday 12/6 at Dallas Stars
DETROIT RED WINGS
Record: 14-5-5 (33 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Red Wings are absolutely on fire at the moment as they’ve ripped off 4 wins in a row and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. If they keep this up they’ll definitely be proving me wrong as before the season started I boldly predicted they may not make the playoffs. But at their current pace they’ve put themselves in great shape and could possibly challenge for the division’s top spot by season’s end.
Who’s hot? Henrik Zetterberg’s spectacular season continues as he now has 23 points (5 goals, 18 assists) on the year and he is currently on a 4-game point streak where he has compiled 1 goal and 5 assists in that span. He’s the captain of the Red Wings and right now he is definitely leading the way.
Who’s not? This is where I’d usually trash Stephen Weiss but the veteran has bounced back in a big way as he now has 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in 5 games this year after spending plenty of time in the minors for conditioning. At the moment everything is alright in Hockeytown.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/2 vs. Florida Panthers, Thursday 12/4 vs. Dallas Stars, Saturday 12/6 vs. New York Rangers and Sunday 12/7 at Carolina Hurricanes
Record: 14-10-1 (29 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Bruins have lost 3 out of their last 4 and are stumbling but it’s not like they’ve just been playing terrible hockey or getting outworked. All the games have been close and could’ve easily gone in Boston’s favor with a bounce or two but one thing has become obvious, their offense just isn’t getting the job done and the team is making too many mistakes at the wrong time.
Who’s hot? Dougie Hamilton has collected 4 points in his last 3 games and just continues to shine in the absence of Zdeno Chara for the Bruins. Hamilton now has 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 25 games this year and he is officially a stud.
Who’s not? Winger Reilly Smith continues to struggle to find the scoresheet as he’s now been held pointless in his last 3 games and was even demoted to the Bruins 3rd line while 2014 1st round pick David Pastrnak has taken his spot next to Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the 2nd line. In Smith’s defense he’s one of many Bruins forwards that need to start scoring and in bunches.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/2 at Los Angeles Kings, Thursday 12/4 at San Jose Sharks and Saturday 12/6 at Arizona Coyotes
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Record: 12-8-3 (27 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Maple Leafs are winners in 3 of their last 4 and have been playing some excellent hockey since getting blown out by the Nashville Predators two weeks ago. Recently it’s been the Leafs blowing teams away as they’ve outscored their opponents 18-9 in the 4 games since that ugly night against Nashville.
Who’s hot? Center Tyler Bozak has 7 points (5 goals, 2 assists) in his last 4 games to go with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 23 games this season and that’s pretty darn good.
Who’s not? Defenseman Stephane Robidas use to be a reliable source of offensive production from the blue-line but now he’s 37-years old and ust another guy. He’s been alright for the Leafs but I think they were hoping for a little more than just 3 points in 22 games while only firing 14 shots on net in that same span.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/2 vs. Dallas Stars, Thursday 12/4 vs. New Jersey Devils and Saturday 12/6 vs. Vancouver Canucks
Record: 9-7-6 (24 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Panthers are playing .500 hockey at the moment as they’ve gone 2-2 over their last 4 games however they still just aren’t scoring enough goals to win more games and until the offense comes a long they’ll continue to just be a tough team to play against.
Who’s hot? The Panthers defense and goaltending gets a nod here as the team only allows an average of 2.36 goals against a game, good for 8th in the league.
Who’s not? Unfortunately for Florida, as good as they’ve been at preventing goals they haven’t been as good at scoring them as they currently only average 2.04 goals a game, good for 28th in the league.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/2 at Detroit Red Wings, Thursday 12/4 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets and Saturday 12/6 vs. Buffalo Sabres
Record: 10-9-4 (24 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? Senators have lost 3 of their last 4, including an ugly loss to the Florida Panthers and they continue to be one of the weaker teams in the Atlantic Division despite their stellar and often elite goaltending. Goalies can’t do it alone and the Senators are living, breathing proof of that.
Who’s hot? Starter goaltender Craig Anderson has somehow managed to post a stellar .932 save percentage (good for 3rd in the league) while facing an average of 35-40 shots a game. Things are ugly in Ottawa but it would be a lot worse if not for Anderson.
Who’s not? Pick an Ottawa Senators forward and they’re probably underperforming. At this rate they may find themselves below the Buffalo Sabres in the standings not too far from now.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/2 at New York Islanders, Wednesday 12/3 vs. New York Islanders, Saturday 12/6 at Pittsburgh Penguins and Sunday 12/7 vs. Vancouver Canucks
Record: 8-14-2 (18 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? Surprise, surprise, there is a pulse in Buffalo after all as the offense has awoken and the once laughable Sabres are now playing .500 hockey while currently riding a 2 game winning streak. Will it last? I doubt it but for now at least Sabres fans have been able to watch some pretty good hockey recently.
Who’s hot? Tyler Ennis has 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) in his last 4 games and that goal may end up as the goal of the year for the Sabres as Ennis was able to beat Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price with a backhand as he was falling away. It was a thing of beauty and Buffalo will need a whole lot more of it to get out of the cellar.
Who’s not? Paging Cody Hodgson, are you there? No, Hodgson is not there as he ONLY has 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) in 24 games this year to go with a horrific -9 rating. He’s colder than the winter weather in Buffalo.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/2 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Thursday 12/4 at Tampa Bay Lightning and Saturday 12/6 at Florida Panthers