This past week felt pretty subdued. Those at the top of the standings had good weeks ad those at the bottom did not. Tampa Bay got back on track and proved they are still the best team in the league, the Boston Bruins could have their entire team back from injury at some point this week, and the Ottawa Senators are suffering through one of the worst stretches any team might go through this year. Let’s dive in and see what went on.
NHL Atlantic Division Notebook
Back To Winning Ways
The Tampa Bay Lightning used this last week to return to familiar territory. After three wins against the New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche, and Winnipeg Jets, the Lightning’s firm grasp of first place grew tighter and pushed their winning streak to four games. Now, while their season was never in jeopardy, this streak comes at a great time. Prior to these last four home games, the Lightning had lost four of six and their offense had cooled down. This past week, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, who have led the scoring all year, did their part and got the offense back on track and the team averaged five goals per game.
This next week, the Lightning set out West for a four-game road trip against St. Louis, Arizona, Colorado, and Vegas.
The Senators Struggle Continue
The Ottawa Senators are in the midst of a catastrophic stretch. In the past 12 games, the Senators have only recorded four points. They are nearing the end of a eight-game road trip and lost their last three games this past week. They were shut out by the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks, but managed a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings. This stretch has plummeted them into the seventh spot in the division standings. Desperate times call for desperate measures and it’s reported that management has called for the no trade lists of all their players.
Canadians Take A Step Back
It seems as if we don’t know what Montréal Canadiens team will show up week to week. Just last week I talked about how the Canadians captured 10 points in just a weeks time and moved into the third playoff spot in the division. The week before that, they went 0-3-2. That brings us to this past week, where the Canadians went 0-2-1. Sure, St. Louis, Calgary, and Edmonton are dangerous teams capable to win any night, but to have a letdown like this after playing themselves into a playoff spot just the week before, is inexcusable.
Things are not going to get any easier as they have one home game left before a seven-game road trip across Canada and the Southeast United States. They need to string together a few solid weeks or else inconsistency is going to be the downfall for the Habs.
Keeping Pressure On First-Place
The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the strongest teams in the NHL this year. This past week, they defeated Calgary, Pittsburgh, and Edmonton. At 20-10-1, they sit second in the Atlantic division and have the fourth most points in the league. They are only three points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the lightning were to ever stumble, Toronto playing the hockey they are, are in a prime position to overtake the top spot. Their upcoming stretch of games will be a test, as eight of the nine are away.
Bruins IR Continues Shrink
The Boston Bruins could be just days away from having their legitimate lineup together. Adam McQuaid, who has been out since October 19 with a broken leg, could return Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings. It has been a long two months, but the team has battled and kept themselves well in front of the eight ball. 14-9-4 has them third in the Atlantic division with 32 points and four games in hand on the Montréal Canadiens who are in fourth and Toronto Maple Leafs who are in second.
Quick Notes –
– The Florida Panthers 1-1-1 week moved their season totals to 11-14-4 and they occupy the sixth spot in the division standings. They lost Roberto Luongo to a lower body injury and he is expected to miss two to five weeks. While this season has not gone as they wished, their young offensive talent is showing promise. Jonathan Huberdeau (24) leads the team in points with 9-22-31 tallies. Vincent Trocheck (24) and Aleksander (22) follow closely behind.
– A slow week for the Detroit Red Wings saw them blowing out the Winnipeg Jets and then being blown out by the St. Louis Blues in their only two games this past week. Through 29 games, they find themselves fifth in the division with 29 points. Their 1-5-3 record in their last nine games goes to show how many points they have squandered away. This week has three Atlantic division opponents coming to town. It’s time to make up some points on other teams in the division.