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Around the Division: Wide Open

As expected the Atlantic division looks to be wide open

Montreal Canadiens v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

As expected going into the season the Atlantic division is wide open. Outside for the two teams at the top. Nobody looks to be a club that is going to run away in the top of the division. Even the teams at the top have some flaws that could keep them close to the pack. Here’s how the division looks through the first few weeks of the season.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning | 7-1-1 | 15 PTS.

The Lightning are healthy and they look dangerous again like they did a few years ago. Steven Stamkos has reminded the league exactly what the team was missing for the majority of last season. He has 18 points through nine games this season. Nikita Kucherov has 10 goals and 16 points in nine games. While Brayden Point has stepped right into the spot vacated by Jonathan Drouin with 10 points on the season.

Mikhail Sergachev has been really good in his first full pro season on the Tampa Bay blue line. Also, Andrei Vasilevskiy has been impressive as well with a .933 save percentage. Look out for the Lightning this season

2. Toronto Maple Leafs | 7-2-1 | 14 PTS.

The Leafs are off to a good start this season. Even with the struggles for Mitch Marner early on, Auston Matthews has picked up right where he left off last season. Willie Nylander is also a point per game player for the NHL’s top scoring team.

However, the Leafs still struggle to keep the puck out of their net. They’ve given up the seventh most goals against in the league through nine games. If they want to go far in the playoffs the defense will need to be addressed.

3. Ottawa Senators | 4-1-3 | 11 PTS.

The Sens are oddly enough 3-0 on the road and 1-4 at home this season. The Guy Boucher system is getting it done again early in the season, but they’re not a scary team by any means. Getting Erik Karlsson back and healthy will help Ottawa a lot moving forward. He pretty much is their entire blue line.

4. Detroit Red Wings | 4-4-1 | 9 PTS.

The Red Wings goaltending has been average at best so far this season. Jimmy Howard has a .916 save percentage in six games and Petr Mrazek has a .901 save percentage in four games.

Detroit finally got a deal done with speedy forward Andreas Athanasiou on a one year contract. We’ll see if he can give some more juice to the offense.

5. Boston Bruins | 3-3-1 | 7 PTS.

Boston has been a very inconsistent team and is already battling injuries. Patrice Bergeron just got back into the lineup, Tuukka Rask missed a few games with a concussion and Adam McQuaid is out with a broken leg.

We got a glimpse of the two sides of the Bruins over the weekend. Also got a look at how the Bruins are toast if they need to rely on Anton Khudobin in net for any length of time.

6. Florida Panthers | 3-4-0 | 6 PTS.

I don’t know what to say here really. Florida has been Florida. Nothing exceptional to dive into. I guess if you want it KHL import Evgenii Dadonov is off to a good start.

7. Buffalo Sabres | 2-5-2 | 6 PTS.

We know about this team.

8. Montreal Canadiens | 1-6-1 | 3 PTS.

The Canadiens only win of the season is that 3-2 shootout victory over the Sabres on opening night. Montreal is just a mess. Drouin hasn’t started off that well as a top line center. Alex Galchenyuk is being played on the fourth line. The defense has been bad and Carey Price isn’t playing well enough to cover up all of the flaws on the roster.

Marc Bergevin could be in some trouble if things don’t turn around soon for the Habs.