The top teams in this division are now trending down and teams that have been forgotten hang around playing great hockey. All teams have played the same or a similar number of games and the division is wide open. Who will end up on top? The race is on.
Here’s the latest on the Atlantic Division
Montreal: The Habs sit atop the Atlantic division with 72 points. After a dry spell, Montreal won the first game in their last eight last night against the Rangers. The win comes as the first under new (again) coach Claude Julien. The Canadiens were in the right place at the right time to hire Julien. Perhaps GM Marc Bergevin wasn’t mixing words when he said getting Julien beats any trade they could make by the deadline.
Ottawa: Second in the division with 70 points. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention their injury issues that could change their post season forecast. Among the injured: Bobby Ryan broken finger, Mike Hoffman groin and Mark Stone, neck injury. This is not the time for the Senators to be bitten by the injury bug.
Florida: Now third in the division with 66 points. Winners of their last five straight makes this division highly contested. They are the hottest team in the division now and their last 10 games prove it at 8-1-1. They also bumped the Bruins out of third place and into the second wild card slot in the east.
Boston: Fourth in the division with 66 points. Like the Panthers ahead of them in the standings, the Bruins are hot and showed no signs of rust after their bye week ended Sunday night against the Sharks with a solid defensive win. They boast a perfect 4-0 under Bruce Cassidy. Next up — the Ducks Wednesday and the Kings Thursday night.
Toronto: Fifth place in the division with 65 points. They have been hanging around in 2nd place for the Eastern Conference wild card slot behind the Rangers for a while but are now replaced there by the Bruins. The Leafs may be making their move in the Atlantic.
Tampa: Marks the bottom divider of the Atlantic in sixth place with 62 points in the division. The Lightning pulled ahead of Buffalo in the standings after their win against the Oilers 4-1 Tuesday night going 5-2-3 in their last 10.
Buffalo: Like Tampa has 62 points but have played one more game, putting them behind the Lightning in the standings. They are 1-5 in their last 6 games.
Detroit: The bottom of the barrel, 8th in the Atlantic with 58 points and 4-5-1 in their last 10 games.