NHL Atlantic Division Notebook: Milestones Before The Holidays

Hockey News

The standings stayed similar in the NHL Atlantic division over the last week. The Tampa Bay Lightning remain atop the standings but the battle for second place is heating up. Others in the division took this last week to turn losing streaks around. These next two weeks are important before heading into the new year, so expect some good hockey to be played. Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

First To 50

The Tampa Bay Lightning are 24-6-2 and became the first team to reach 50 points this season after going 3-0-0 this past week. All three of these wins came on the road and the Lightning’s winning streak is now seven. Their dominance has continued all season long. Their offense, led by Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point, ranks the best in the league. Andrei Vasilevskiy, having the Vezina type year that he is having, is a critical part in having the team ranked second in goals-against this year.

Their road trip concludes Tuesday night in Vegas when they take on the Golden Knights. As it stands now, the Lightning have not lost a game in the month of December. The way their schedule shapes out, if they can get past the Knights, they have a legitimate opportunity to not drop a game the entire month. It might all come down to their game on New Year’s Eve against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Battle For Second Place

The battle for second place in the Atlantic division is a lot tighter than it may seem. As it stands, the Toronto Maple Leafs hold the second spot with 41 points and 34 games played. The Boston Bruins sit in third with 35 points but only 30 games played. Six points with four games in hand is entirely possible.

It was a tough week for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Auston Matthews went down with an injury last Sunday and missed the teams three games this past week. Although Matthews was out, the Leafs let points slip away after going 0-3-0 against the Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota Wild, and Detroit Red Wings.

The Boston Bruins managed to capture three of a possible six points with an overtime win against Detroit, a loss against the Capitals, and an overtime loss against the New York Rangers. Adam McQuaid’s return from the IR is right around the corner. He will be the final one to return from what seemed like a never ending list of injuries just a month ago. With players returning and some playing better than others, the team placed Matt Beleskey on waivers.

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Trying To Bounce Back

The Detroit Red Wings captured four of a possible six points this past week. After back-to-back overtime losses to the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins, the Wings knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. This string of play comes at a critical time. During the few weeks prior, the Red Wings watched points slip away, going 1-5-3. Now, they sit in fifth place, only four points out of a playoff spot. It will be interesting to see what Detroit Red Wings team makes the trip on their upcoming four-game road trip.

The Ottawa Senators were in the same boat as the Detroit Red Wings this past week. After going 2-1-0 and grabbing four points on the week, the Senators were able to bring their five-game losing streak to a halt. Before their back to back wins, the Senators had just one win in the last 13 games. Now, sixth in the standings with 29 points, it’s hard not to wonder where they could be.

 

Read More: 

NHL Pacific Division Notebook: Taking On Water In Vancouver

 

Photo Credit: By Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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