0
Photo Credit: © Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Around The Atlantic: Leafs, Lightning, and Sens all go undefeated, Habs slowly climbing

This a weekly feature that rounds up news, rumours, and interesting things happening around the NHL. 

Despite not having Auston Matthews in the lineup, the Leafs won all four games they played last week, keeping pace with the Lightning and Senators who were also perfect. The Canadiens are riding the play of a hot rookie goalie up the standings and everything is starting to look like it should.

1st: Tampa Bay Lightning

14-2-2 (30 points) / +25 goal differential / 49.9 CF% (16th) / 103 PDO (2nd) 

The Tampa Bay Lightning haven’t showed any signs of slowing down recently. Their middle-of-the-pack shot numbers suggest that their elite goal numbers might be a representation of them overachieving, but Tampa swept their West Coast road trip last week with commanding wins over San Jose and Los Angeles and a gritty win over the Ducks.

If they continue at this pace, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are on pace to eclipse 130 points and the team is on pace to win 64 games. That probably isn’t going to happen, but the Lightning look like contenders yet again.

2nd: Toronto Maple Leafs

12-7-0 (24 points) / +9 goal differential / 50.5 CF% (13th) / 101.4 PDO (9th) 

The Toronto Maple Leafs returned home from a difficult road trip and, despite not having Auston Matthews in the lineup, won all four games they played. They edged Vegas in a shootout, beat Minnesota despite getting heavily outshot, and won both games of a home-and-home with the Bruins.

At a glance, it’s easy to say the Leafs didn’t deserve to win all four games, but picking up points when your best player is injured is a good thing no matter how you slice it.

3rd: Ottawa Senators

8-3-5 (21 points) / +6 goal differential / 47.4 CF% (26th) / 100 PDO (18th)

It was Matt Duchene week in Sweden last week. After pulling off a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Avalanche, the Ottawa Senators’ newest forward got a chance to play his old team. The Sens won both games overseas 4-3, but heavily outplayed and outshot Colorado overall.

Their underlying numbers suggest regression, but the Sens seem to have something working here that defies logic.

4th: Detroit Red Wings

8-8-2 (18 points) / -2 goal differential / 49.7 CF% (17th) / 99.7 PDO (19th) 

The Detroit Red Wings are still hanging around despite everything suggesting they shouldn’t. They have mediocre shot numbers and are below average in goals for and against at even strength. Then, of course, there’s the underwhelming roster, too. Despite a six-game losing streak in October, the Wings, who went 1-1-1 last week, are floating around by playing .500 hockey.

5th: Montreal Canadiens

8-9-1 (17 points) / -15 goal differential / 53.3 CF% (3rd) / 97.3 PDO (30th) 

After a putrid start to the season, the Montreal Canadiens are slowly climbing their way back into it. Last week, they went 2-1-0 and, since starting the season 1-6-1, have won seven of their last ten games. They still aren’t scoring many goals, but the surprisingly good play of rookie Charlie Lindgren, who has a .964 save percentage in four starts, has given Montreal life.

6th: Boston Bruins

6-6-4 (16 points) / -7 goal differential / 52.6 CF% (5th) / 98.8 PDO (23rd) 

The Boston Bruins have yet to win back-to-back games this season. Last week, they got off to a good start with a win over the Wild, but then got dropped by the Rangers and lost back-to-back games to the Matthews-less Leafs. Injuries haven’t helped their cause, but the Bruins have been desolate outside of their top line so far this season.

7th: Buffalo Sabres

5-9-3 (13 points) / -20 goal differential / 48.1 CF% (24th) / 97.3 PDO (29th)

The Buffalo Sabres aren’t in last pace anymore. Unfortunately for them, that isn’t really a testament to their strong play, but instead reflects on how bad the Florida Panthers have been as of late. Buffalo went 1-1-1 last week, which is pretty good for them.

8th: Florida Panthers

5-9-2 (12 points) / -9 goal differential / 48.9 CF% (20th) / 100.6 PDO (15th) 

And then there’s the Florida Panthers, who have managed to fall beneath Buffalo and into last place. Nothing is working for this team right now, so I guess they’re going to have to add some more grit, toughness, and intangibles to the roster and find a way to blame the advanced stats team.