NHL Atlantic Division Notebook: October Comes To An End

NHL Trade Deadline

Tomorrow is Halloween, bringing us to the end of the first month of the NHL season. A quick gander at the at the standings will leave many scratching their head if they haven’t been following along. The New Jersey Devils sit atop the Metro Division, Edmonton has struggled out the gate, and the Vegas Golden Knights lead the Pacific division in their inaugural season.

When it comes to the NHL Atlantic Division, the biggest surprise has to be the Montréal Canadiens. Through 11 games, they are last in the division at 3-7-1. They finally broke out of their scoring slump, finding the back of the net five times against the New York Rangers over the weekend but their sluggish start has them behind the eight ball. Last week, I gave some updated standings so let’s see what went on this last week. Let’s dive in.

Streaks Stop in Tampa

The Tampa Bay Lightning (9-2-1) still lead the Atlantic Division after a 2-1 week. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each had their 11 game point streaks to start the season snapped in the teams 4-1 loss to the Anaheim ducks. Now, although the streak was snapped, Nikita Kucherov is continuing to prove he’s one of the best in the league. During his first three full seasons in the league, he registered 65, 66, and 85 points. This year, with 19 points through 12 games, he is on pace to shatter last year’s numbers. At 24 years old and cap hit of $4.76M, it’s almost laughable how much of a steal he is for the Lightning.

Goaltending in Sunrise

The Florida Panthers goaltending situation has been bad this year and this past week it actually got worse. Neither Roberto Luongo or James Reimer have stepped up and locked in that number one spot. This past week, Luongo was placed on injured reserve with a right hand injury and the Panthers claimed Antti Niemi off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Niemi, in three games with the Penguins this year, has been terrible allowing 16 goals with a .797 save percentage. With the Panthers going to waivers for a goaltender, the injury to Luongo might be more serious than expected. Something needs to change though. Maybe the change in scenery sends Niemi back to his San Jose ways.

Quick Notes

– The Boston Bruins lost a heartbreaker on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings. After battling to a 1 – 1 tie in regulation, Boston gave up a goal off of a face-off with just 0.4 seconds to go.

– After going 2-1 last week, there are still desperate times in Montréal and desperate times call for desperate measures. Al Montoya will be getting the start for the Canadians tonight as they take on the Ottawa Senators.

– Jack Eichel’s 21st birthday did not go as planned. The Sabres lost to the San Jose Sharks 3-2 after a late third-period goal. Eichel, clearly frustrated by how things have gone, took it out on his stick.

Nothing a cold, legal beverage won’t take his mind off of.

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