The Good, Bad, and Montreal of the NHL’s Eastern Conference and it’s First Few Weeks

Boston

Positives: Boston’s power play has been on fire, going at about 30% is impressive. That’s not something that’ll stay so high, but if they keep it at about a 1/4 clip, they’ll be satisfied and things will pick up. Plus, Bergeron is back.

Negatives: Boston is a 3-3-1 team, and they look like it. Allowing 3.7 goals per game, it’s more of a sign of bad defense than bad goal tending. Dead last in shots on goal is a surprise, but they don’t have much going for them seven games in.

Buffalo

Positives: They aren’t taking very many penalties, and Jack Eichel has 11 points through 9 games.

Negatives: They blow. They’re in the bottom third of the league inmost offensive categories, so basically they’re a low scoring team in a high scoring division. Good luck.

Carolina

Positives: Defensively, they’re about as expected. Top ten in a lot of categories, including goals allowed. Offensively, they’re putting the puck on net, and scoring dirty goals which later on in the season will pay dividends.

Negatives: They were just about everyone’s “bold” prediction for the playoffs, and they aren’t showing signs of being a playoff team. 3-2-1 isn’t awful at this point, but they need much more blue line production to keep up with the top eight teams in the east.

Columbus

Positives: They’re 5-3, winning most of their close games. Artemi Panarin is meshing well with the offense, and Bob is holding a .928 save percentage so far.

Negatives: They’ve lost two in a row in ugly fashion. When behind, they’re showing signs of being lost in trying to comeback, and abandoning any and all game plans.

Detroit

Positives: Henrik Zetterberg has apparently turned back the clock, continuing to be their best player. Mike Green is also somehow up there in points and continues to save a putrid blue line.

Negatives: A four game losing streak, trading Riley Sheahan, and getting rid of Ryan Sproul, which was a fan favorite for the future of the defense. Their power play is awful, and there’s still massive inconsistency in net for them.

Florida

Positives: Aaron Ekblad and Vincent Trochek are still performing at a high level, and Evgenii Dadonov is becoming a key piece of their power play success.

Negatives: They’re in the bottom five of just about every defensive category, giving up 3.57 goals against, and Luongo in on the IR again.

Montreal

Positives: They have, uhh, one win.

Negatives: Fucking everything. They sign Price to some MASSIVE contract just for him to shit the bed eight games in. 1-6-1, nothing is going right. They’re terrible.

New Jersey

Positives: What’s not to love about this team so far? They’re so fast, scoring goals, defensively sound. They’re top five in goals per game and shooting %. Who knows if it’ll keep up, but they’re showing a lot of potential so far.

Negatives: Goal tending is spotty at times and their penalty kill needs some serious improvement if they want to stick around as the season progresses.

NY Islanders

Positives: They’re in a playoff spot, and holding strong in hockey’s best division, so far.

Negatives: Everyone’s lovable loser John Tavares is streaky as usual, their PP is running at 4% and giving up a PP goal around a fifth of the time. Not a good defensive team, to no one’s surprise.

NY Rangers

Positives: Kevin Shattenkirk is producing, and they’re fairly healthy. We can expect some sort of run from them soon.

Negatives: Their record is awful, Henrik looks broken, and they’re 27th in goals per game.

Ottawa

Positives: Eric Karlsson is back! It’s tough to judge the Sens based on what they do without their best player, but we’ve seen more good than bad from last year’s Eastern Conference runner-up. Top 10 in most offensive categories, bringing back their best defenseman, and overall player, will only help them get better.

Negatives: Bobby Ryan is injured again, Clarke MacArthur is on IR, and Zack Smith is failing to stay healthy as usual. They seem to have a good core intact, but it’s tough not to be weary of injuries with a team that leans so heavily on a few key pieces.

Philadelphia

Positives: Philadelphia is off to a “Flying” (lol) start, beating everyone they should, and they were even gifted a game against Washington’s backup tender, and they lit him up for 8. A young blue line seems to be the focal point for this Philadelphia team, and it shows, giving up just 2.25 goals a game.

Negatives: They went on a tear last year and proved once again that they can’t hang with the truly talented teams. Rough and tough gets you places in the playoffs, but not necessarily to the playoffs. They need to do more than pick fights to get past a brutal Metropolitan division.

Pittsburgh

Positives: They have Sidney Crosby, the second best power-play in hockey, and haven’t been bitten by their usual early season injury bug.

Negatives: They’re fucking terrible defensively. Matt Murray looks lost when he’s not playing in the Stanley Cup finals. They’re worst in goals allowed, and need to seriously tighten up their defensive core if they even want a shot at getting back to the Finals. It’ll be a long season for their net-minders if they can’t pull it together on the back-end.

Tampa Bay

Positives: Literally everything. There’s nothing not to love about this team. Nikita Kucherov is a machine and Steven Stamkos looks like, well, Steven Stamkos. Oh, and I should add that they found a goaltender BETTER than Ben Bishop, who led them to the ECF twice and the Stanley Cup Finals once. This team, holy hell this team is destined for the Cup.

Negatives: OKAY well maybe I got ahead of myself, their PK sucks and they take an awful lot of penalties. But, other than those two things they’re absolutely golden.

Toronto

Positives: See above. But seriously, Auston Matthews is better than McDavid, Mitch Marner is starting to remember he plays professional hockey, and they have the best coach in the league. They’re putting up a staggering 4.5 goals per game, and everything is falling into place for them.

Negatives: They’re still young. They got a taste of the playoffs last year and now they’re gunning for the division, and possible a presidents trophy. Who knows how far their young leaders will take them, but you can guarantee they won’t go quietly.

Washington

Positives: Ovechkin is playing like a man possessed. Just absolutely destroying the puck every time it gets to his tape. Holtby is Holtby and they continue to find supplementary scoring up and down that roster. I’ve probably said “this is the year” four or five years running now, but if they’re going to win the cup, this has to be it. And gosh darn it they may just have what it takes.

Negatives: That shit stack Philipp Grubauer is just terrible. Man, seriously it’s almost a guaranteed L when he’s in the crease. They need to figure out a new backup, or change their game plan when he is in there because that’s at least 8 losses just on him alone.

 

 

POWER RANKINGS:

  1. Tampa
  2. Toronto
  3. Pittsburgh
  4. Washington
  5. New Jersey
  6. Ottawa
  7. Columbus
  8. Philadelphia
  9. NY Islanders
  10. NY Rangers
  11. Carolina
  12. Detroit
  13. Boston
  14. Montreal
  15. Florida
  16. Buffalo

1 Comment

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