Last week, the New Jersey Devils were on top of the Atlantic Division with games in hand. However, they didn't get the results they wanted and so there's a new temporary division leader. A little team
The Pittsburgh Penguins had a very strong week and now they have the top spot. The New York Islanders are right on their heels. They got five out of six points last week and they've got a game in hand on them. The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers both bring up the rear, but they've got enough points to make some noise. Unfortunately for those two teams in the short term, they'll play fewer games than the three teams ahead of them in this coming week.
|Potential Points||Last Week||Conf. Position|
When I put this together, I'm a little surprised that the Devils went winless and still earned more points than the Flyers. Ha. Anyway. the Penguins, Islanders, and Devils are going to have the chance to pull ahead from in this week with all of the additional games that they'll play. By next week, the Rangers will have a game in hand on the Devils and Islanders; the Flyers will have as many games as the Penguins. While the Devils really do need a win, the Flyers are in early trouble. They did just win on Saturday night, so perhaps they'll turn it around now.
Making the picture a little more confusing is the upcoming schedule that's filled with quite a few inter-divisional games:
|PIT||@ WSH||@ NYI||vs. WSH||@ NJD|
|NYI||vs. NJD||vs. PIT||@ NYR||vs. BUF|
|NJD||@ NYI||vs. NYR||vs. TBL||vs. PIT|
|NYR||@ NJD||vs. NYI|
|PHI||vs. TBL||vs. FLA||vs. CAR|
The Devils, Islanders, and Penguins will be playing at least three games within the Atlantic this week. The Devils have a game each against the two teams ahead of them in the standings and one against Our Hated Rivals. With Tampa Bay in the middle, it looks to be a very tough week for them. They can do some damage or fall further behind. The Isles got those same games with hosting Buffalo at the end. The Penguins can pull away from the Isles and Devils with their games while potentially adding points from a struggling Washington team.
As for the two bottom teams, the Rangers will need to be spoilers to move up this week. They get their two most hated rivals, who are currently ahead of them in the standings. As if they need any more incentive. The Flyers are the only team playing entirely outside of the division with three home games against Southeast Division opponents. Their mindset may not necessarily be to catch up but to start getting some wins.
It's still quite early but already we've seen movement in the division. What do you think will happen in this coming week? How will the Devils, Isles, and Penguins fare with their games within the Atlantic Division? Can the Rangers spoil the Devils and Isles? Will the Flyers come charging back or remain at the bottom for another week? Please leave your answers and other thoughts on week that was in the Atlantic in the comments. Thank you for reading.