Recapping the NHL conference divisions

Kiley Fischer recaps the NHL conference division teams so far in the season.

By: Kiley Fischer
Sports Editor
Atlantic GP W L OT PTS
Philadelphia 25 15 6 4 34
Pittsburgh 26 16 8 2 34
NY Rangers 26 14 11 1 29
New Jersey 24 8 14 2 18
NY Islanders 22 5 12 5 15
Northeast GP W L OT PTS
Montréal 24 15 8 1 31
Boston 22 12 8 2 26
Ottawa 25 11 13 1 23
Buffalo 25 9 13 3 21
Toronto 22 8 11 3 19
Southeast GP W L OT PTS
Washington 25 17 6 2 36
Tampa Bay 24 13 8 3 29
Atlanta 24 12 9 3 27
Carolina 24 10 11 3 23
Florida 22 10 12 0 20
GP: games played
W: wins
L: losses
OT: overtime/shootout losses
PTS: points
Northeast Divison:
Boston Bruins:
12-8-2, 26 points (pts)
The Bruins are sitting in 2nd place in the division behind their bitter rival, the Montréal Canadiens. A lot of this season for the Bruins is going to come down to goaltending. Tim Thomas leads the league in both shutouts and save percentage (4 and .951% respectively.) As for Marc Savard – who hasn’t played all season due to post-concussion issues – he’s finally looking to come back as he was cleared for full-contact practice on November 23 as reported by the Boston Globe.
Buffalo Sabres:
9-13-3, 21 pts
With an atrocious start, the Sabres have been looking less than lack-luster, losing five of their first six. 14 games have been one-point games with seven of those ending in overtime or a shootout. On the subject of goaltenders, Ryan Miller’s 7-7-2 record is definitely the more solid of the two for Buffalo in comparison to Patrick Lalime’s 0-4-0.
Montréal Canadiens:
15-8-1, 31 pts
The Canadiens took a lot of abuse over the summer after the trade of their playoff hero Jaroslav Halak over Carey Price. But those in-net woes seem to be wearing off as Price leads the league’s goalies in wins with 14. This season also marks only the second time that an American has captained the Canadiens as Brian Gionta assumed the captaincy over the summer. As the Canadiens’ website points out, Gionta leads by example: put the puck on net. Ginota has fired off 30 more shots than the next highest, tallying 101 shots this season.
Ottawa Senators:
11-12-1, 23 pts
Sergei Gonchar proved himself as an asset in his five seasons with the Penguins. With his 4 goal and 10 assists already this season for the Senators, he’s on pace to top his 11G and potentially his 31A from last season. However, Gonchar is a -12 on the season so far. The only other Sens defenseman with a +/- rating that low? Chris Phillips, also a -12.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
8-11-3, 19 pts
Starting the season 4-0, it seemed as though the Maple Leafs might finally have the season their fans have been waiting for since 1967 when they won their last Stanley Cup. However, losing 9 of their last 12 games, the Leafs find themselves 13th out of 15 in the Eastern Conference. Colby Armstrong should be returning soon after having finger surgery at the end of October for a torn ligament in his knuckle.
Atlantic Division:
New Jersey Devils:
8-14-2, 18 pts
“Devils” and “Brodeur” are basically synonymous in hockey vocabulary. The same goes for “Brodeur” and “brick wall.” But so far this season, Martin Brodeur sits with a 4-10-1 record as well as 42 goals against. As for the Devils as a team, they’re 4th in the Atlantic and 14th in the East.
New York Islanders:
5-12-5, 15 pts
The Islanders’ first win of November came Friday afternoon against the struggling Devils. Before that, the Isles lost 14 in a row dating back to October 23. Star John Tavares said that winning is a “huge weight off” his team. Islanders fans must feel better as well as they gave their team a standing ovation with about 16 seconds left in Friday’s game.
New York Rangers:
14-10-1, 29 pts
Rangers pest Sean Avery has been relatively quiet this season as he avoids suspension for what was basically a golf swing to Mike Komisarek. The Rangers also picked up heavy-weight Derek Boogaard over the summer. This has certainly made games between the Rangers and the Penguins a lot more fun as Boogaard and Avery can match up with Eric Godard, Mike Rupp and Deryk Engelland.
Philadelphia Flyers:
15-6-4, 34 pts
The 2010 Eastern Conference Champions are sitting on top of the Atlantic Division. Chris Pronger became a victim of the “Sean Avery Rule” (yes, the forementioned Sean Avery) Friday afternoon against the Calgary Flames. Pronger was in fact waving his hand in front of goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, however, the rule clearly states, “An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender.” Pronger was not facing Kiprusoff but was still called for a penalty, and Mike Richard’s goal was called back. The Flyers then lost the game in a shootout.
Pittsburgh Penguins:
15-8-2, 32 pts
Marc-André Fleury may have started out in a rough patch, but the Penguins have pulled up to 2nd place in the Atlantic, 4th in the East, and 4th in the league. Saturday afternoon against the Flames, Sidney Crosby scored his 200th goal, 6th career hat trick and the 1st hat trick in the CONSOL Energy Center while extending his scoring streak to 12 games. Hopefully, Jordan Staal will make a return to the lineup soon after breaking his hand before his original return date.
Southeast Division:
Atlanta Thrashers:
12-9-3, 27 pts
After his on-ice collapse during the first period against the Washington Capitals on October 8, goaltender Ondřej Pavelec has played 14 games and accumulated a 6-4-2 record. The Thrashers have completely changed direction this season with the switches in management, coaching staff, and players. With the departure of Ilya Kovalchuk and the need to try something different, the Thrashers acquired former Blackhawks Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel, Akim Aliu and Andrew Ladd. (Chicago needed to clear space in their salary cap.) While Atlanta has only qualified for the playoffs once, they currently sit in 7th place in the East and could potentially make a playoff run this year.
Carolina Hurricanes:
10-11-3, 23 pts
The Hurricanes, hosts to this year’s All-Star Game, have been watching their new rookie Jeff Skinner’s impressive start. In 24 regular season games, Skinner has registered 7 goals and 12 assists for 19 points. Skinner and his linemates Tuomo Ruutu and Chad LaRose combine for 46 points so far this season. The ‘Canes are off to a better start than last year (5-15-4 after 24) and currently sit three points behind 8th place Boston in the Conference.
Florida Panthers:
10-12-0, 20 pts
12th place Florida is also 30th – on their power play. With a power play percentage of only 6.41 (3.45% behind 29th place New Jersey), the Panthers have tallied only five power play goals (PPG) all season. Their leading scorers have 5 and 6 goals (Radek Dvorak and Mike Santorelli respectively) on the season. Fortunately for Florida, their penalty kill is much better: they rank 5th in PPG against with 12 and 15th in penalty kill percentage.
Tampa Bay Lightning:
13-8-3, 29 pts
After missing out on the playoffs for the last three years, Tampa is starting to reap the benefits of their own rebuilding. Steven Stamkos, who shared the Rocket Richard Trophy with Sidney Crosby last year for most goals in the regular season, has already notched 21 goals in 24 games; three more than Crosby and Washington’s Alex Semin, 11 more than Alex Ovechkin.) Their 29 points also give the Lightning fifth place in the East and second in the Southeast.
Washington Capitals:
17-6-2, 36 pts
Last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners are at it again. Sitting on top of the Southeast, the East and the league, the Caps are feeling pretty good right now. Add in the upcoming Winter Classic matchup against the Penguins on Jan. 1 and Ovechkin and company have a lot to be happy about. Ovechkin would like to score more goals, but as he said, “right now we win, and that’s [the] most important thing.”