Red Wings And Lightning Tied For Top Spot: Atlantic Division Recap – Week 10
How about those Detroit Red Wings? They just keep on winning but unfortunately for them so do the Tampa Bay Lightning and the two now find themselves tied for first place in both the Atlantic Division as well as the Eastern Conference.
With that said, let’s turn our attention to the Atlantic Division as a whole as we recap last week’s action within in the division and take a quick look at what the future may hold for some of these teams.
As always teams are listed in order of their current standing in the division.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Record: 18-7-3 (39 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? Tampa Bay just keeps moving right along and continues to find themselves near or at the top of the standings. Also, not to continually beat a dead horse or anything, but they have the offense, defense, depth and goaltending to keep it that way for the rest of the season. They are and will be one of the better teams in the Atlantic for a while.
Who’s hot? Surprise, surprise, but Steven Stamkos has remained red hot this year and he now has 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) in 28 games. That includes 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) in his last 5 games.
Who’s not? Rookie Jonathan Drouin has cooled off immensely after a pretty solid start to season and he has his seen his ice-time dwindle while occasionally finding himself in the press-box as a healthy scratch. His time will come, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be this season.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/9 vs. Washington Capitals, Thursday 12/11 vs. Carolina Hurricanes and Saturday 12/13 at Washington Capitals.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Record: 17-6-5 (39 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Red Wings have won 3 in a row and are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games, so needless to say but they are definitely on the rise. Head coach Mike Babcock just continues to showcase why he is arguably the best coach in the league and if he keeps this up he will no doubt become the highest paid coach in the NHL next season. The question remains whether or not that will be in Detroit but that’s a conversation for another day.
Who’s hot? The only thing hotter than the Red Wings right now is their assistant captain, Pavel Datsyuk, who now has 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in his last 5 games. That’s just ridiculous, even for the man they call “the Magician”.
Who’s not? Captain Henrik Zetterberg has cooled off a bit and has been held pointless in his last 3 games. In those 3 games he also has a -2 rating while only getting 4 shots on net.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Wednesday 12/10 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Friday 12/12 vs. Florida Panthers and Saturday 12/13 at Toronto Maple Leafs.
Record: 17-10-2 (36 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Canadiens continue to stumble a bit and are currently riding a 3 game losing streak. In their last 10 games they are 3-6-1 and unfortunately for Montreal they likely won’t be making up much ground this week as they only have 2 games on the schedule and both come against pretty strong opponents.
Who’s hot? Alex Galchenyuk has been one of the lone bright spots for the Canadiens as they fight through their current struggles as the youngster has 4 points (1 goal, 3 assist) in his last 5 games.
Who’s not? Since scoring in back to back games, power forward Max Pacioretty has now been held off the scoresheet in 3 straight games.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/9 vs. Vancouver Canucks and Friday 12/12 vs. Los Angeles Kings.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Record: 14-9-3 (31 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? At 5-4-1 in their last 10 games the Leafs are doing what they have been all year and that’s playing inconsistent hockey. However they do find themselves in 4th place in the Atlantic to start the week and that’s 1 spot better than they were last week, so technically I guess they are on the rise.
Who’s hot? Center Mike Santorelli has proven to be a solid source of secondary scoring for the Leafs so far this year and he now has 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in his last 4 games. Contributions like that will certainly help the Leafs down the road.
Who’s not? David Clarkson has taken a lot of heat since signing a huge contract in Toronto and failing to live up to it, but the veteran forward notched his first multi-point game with the Leafs on Saturday and deserves a bit of stick tap for that. He’s been better this year than last, however that’s not saying much.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tuesday 12/9 vs. Calgary Flames, Wednesday 12/10 at Detroit Red Wings and Saturday 12/13 vs. Detroit Red Wings.
Record: 15-12-1 (31 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Bruins continued their downward spiral this week and have lost 3 of their last 4 games. The effort has been there, however the offense and execution has not for Boston as they dropped below the Maple Leafs in the standings after another tough week.
Who’s hot? Pesky forward Brad Marchand has 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in his last 5 games as he single-handedly tries to spark the Bruins offense. He is showing the kind of player he can be when his head is more into the game than his on-ice antics.
Who’s not? Milan Lucic has just 1 point (1 assist) in his last 4 games and has struggled to do much of anything without David Krejci by his side. He’s too big and too strong to be constantly getting shutout and if he could start chipping in a little more it would go a long way to get Boston back on track.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Thursday 12/11 vs. Chicago Blackhawks and Saturday 12/13 vs. Ottawa Senators.
Record: 11-7-7 (29 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? Despite their record and current standing, the Panthers are on the rise for me as their young talent just continues to impress and while it may not happen this year, eventually these Panthers will be one of the better teams in the division because of guys like Aaron Ekblad and Nick Bjugstad.
Who’s hot? The aforementioned Eklbad is currently riding a 4 game scoring streak in which he has registered 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists). The 2014 1st overall pick is showing why he was picked first and he is on pace for a 50 point season as an 18-year old defenseman, just incredible.
Who’s not? Veteran defenseman Brian Campbell logs big minutes for the Panthers and while he’s not the offensive juggernaut he use to be from the back end, he can still contribute more than he has recently (0 points in his last 4 games). However, in Campbell’s defense he is a +6 over that span.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Monday 12/8 at St. Louis Blues, Friday 12/12 at Detroit Red Wings and Saturday 12/13 at Buffalo Sabres.
Record: 11-11-5 (27 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? The Senators are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and while they’ve been playing a little better of late, I still just don’t see enough from Ottawa to make me believe they are anything more than a bottom of the barrel team in the Atlantic. Which is too bad for goaltender Craig Anderson who has been spectacular this year only to constantly find himself hung out to dry.
Who’s hot? Much maligned youngster Mika Zibanjead appears to have finally found his way after stumbling out of the gate as the right winger now has 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in his last 4 games. That includes a 4 point (2 goals, 2 assists) torching of the Vancouver Canucks this past Sunday night.
Who’s not? Kyle Turris has 0 points in his last 3 games to go with a -3 rating. The Senators simply don’t have enough offense for guys like Turris to be cold for too long.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Thursday 12/11 vs. Los Angeles Kings and Saturday 12/13 at Boston Bruins.
Record: 9-16-2 (20 points)
Are they on the rise or the fall? How far can you fall when you are already dead last in your division? Despite going 6-4-0 in their last 10 games the Sabres have been losers in their last 2 games and still find themselves at the bottom of the Atlantic.
Who’s hot? Right winger Drew Stafford returned to the Sabres lineup on Saturday and notched a goal on his only shot of the game, so there’s that.
Who’s not? After scoring a highlight reel goal against the Canadiens, center Tyler Ennis has cooled off tremendously and he now has 0 points in his last 3 games while registering a -2 rating.
Upcoming schedule for the week: Tursday 12/9 vs. Los Angeles Kings, Thursday 12/11 vs. Calgary Flames and Saturday 12/13 vs. Florida Panthers.