After the early set of games, there was a lot of movement within the division as everyone who wasn't the New York Rangers had plenty to do. There's now a new division leader, though their fans shouldn't get so comfortable with the lead. Namely because they don't really have one.
|New York Islanders||5||2||1||2||6|
|New York Rangers
(updated manually 10.17.10 11:18 AM EDT)
Clearly, everyone's still uneven in terms of games played, so the New York Islanders are technically division leaders by virtue of having played one less game than the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders did well, but not as well as the Penguins, who leaped up to second place. Still, no one in the division is off to a really hot start, which is good for the New Jersey Devils. A good week for them could, in theory, help them back out of the cellar. Will this be the week?
A quick look ahead says that, well, it can be the week if someone in front of them falters - and that's a bit unlikely.
|Potential Points||Last Week||Conf. Position|
The Devils and Flyers both draw the short straw in terms of potential points. The Devils will almost assuredly need some help by teams ahead of them losing. Of course, this plan requires to get New Jersey points. Given their situation, that's more important than whether they end up in fifth next Sunday.
Supporters of the New York Rangers should actually be pleased by the current standings as the team has at least 2 games in on everyone else in the division. Those games in hand can become very useful to move ahead while others are idle. They'll use up one of them on the Rangers and Flyers; but will remain having 2 on the Islanders and 3 on the Penguins.
Looking ahead at the coming week of games, there aren't any intra-division games for any point swings this week. However, this coming Thursday and Saturday will be crucial as everyone is playing on those two dates:
|NYI||@ TOR||@ TBL||@ FLA|
|PIT||vs. OTT||@ NSH||@ STL|
|PHI||vs. ANA||vs. TOR|
|NYR||vs. COL||@ TOR||@ BOS|
|NJD||@ MTL||vs. BUF|
The Islanders certainly have a challenging road ahead to maintain their divisional lead. They'll hit the hot Toronto Maple Leafs and both Florida teams as visitors. At least Pittsburgh gets a home game in this week. Should the Islanders faithful want to see their team in first for a second straight week, it's quite simple: do as well as or better than Pittsburgh. I'm sure the Rangers will look at the recent games by Colorado and Boston to get an idea on how to play them. They're going to want some revenge on Toronto on Thursday. The Flyers get the currently-miserable Anaheim Ducks, but will also see Toronto two days later.
Fortunately, the Devils won't be playing Toronto; but that's meaningless if their production continues to stall. Being on the road in Montreal can be intimidating; and Buffalo will almost definitely have Ryan Miller sparkling again to make matters worse for NJ. Again, the goal for the Devils shouldn't be divisional positioning but to get some wins.