How do you get ahead in hockey? How do you establish the Atlantic Division lead and become the top team in the Eastern Conference by a point? The Philadelphia Flyers have the simple answer: Win.
The Flyers won all three games last week, giving them a nice lead in the division for now. Do recall two of those games were intra-division games, so they're getting a good start on potential tiebreakers. As for the rest of the division, it wasn't a good week. The New York Rangers did well, but the other three teams ate it in some way or form. Especially, the bottom two teams.
It's hard out there for a New Jersey Devils supporter, what with team going yet another week earning only one win and everyone else in the Atlantic pulling away from them. Well, everyone but the New York Islanders.
|Potential Points||Last Week||Conf. Position|
The New York Islanders have lost their last seven games. A stretch of futility extending over two weeks now. It speaks volumes that they are ahead of the Devils (and the Buffalo Sabres) despite not winning any recent games.
In any case, do note that the rest of the Atlantic will play one more game than the Devils this week. So the Islanders and Flyers will make up their one game in hand on the Devils, while the Rangers will end the week with one still ahead on the Devils. New Jersey will pick up a game in hand on the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have also struggled as of late with two wins in their last six games. Still, don't expect the Devils to move up in the Atlantic unless the Islanders continue to flop like fish out of water and New Jersey can actually win some games.
|PHI||@ WSH||@ CAR||vs. FLA|
|NYR||vs. STL||vs. WSH||vs. BUF|
|PIT||vs. BOS||vs. TB||@ ATL|
|NYI||@ ANA||@ SJ||@ LA|
|NJD||vs. BUF||vs. EDM|
Feel bad for the Islanders: They get to go to the west coast to take on an improving Anaheim Ducks squad and two very talented teams in the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. The Devils at least have easier competition on paper in the also-worse-than-expect Buffalo Sabres and the poorly managed and poorly run Edmonton Oilers. Emphasis on the "on paper" part though, since the Devils are in no position to regard any opponent as easier given their own lack of performance.
Again, the key goal for this week should not be for the Devils to move up in the standings but to win some games and score some goals. You know, something Devils fans have been clamoring since the third week of the season.
The Philadelphia Flyers do not have an easy start with the Washington Capitals but the rest of their week is more favorable. Thanks to the fact that the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins play as many games as them, they are each behind the Flyers by four points, and both have tougher weeks on paper, Flyers fans should expect their beloved to stay at the top of the Atlantic Division for another week.