Around The Atlantic: Leafs gaining on Lightning while everyone else spins in the mud

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

The Atlantic Division is turning into a two horse race at the top as the Senators, Bruins, and Habs struggle to keep up with the Leafs and Lightning.

1st: Tampa Bay Lightning

15-3-2 (32 points) / +28 goal differential / 50.2 CF% (14th) / 103.2 PDO (1st)

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Even though they had their five-game winning streak snapped by the New York Islanders, the Lightning are still rolling at the top of the Atlantic Division. Last week, they handily beat the Dallas Stars and lost to New York, like I mentioned, and now own a 15-3-2 record. They’re overachieving their peripherals, sure, but with the lethal duo of Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov clicking and Andrei Vasilevskiy emerging as a star in net, the Lightning are hard to bet against.

2nd: Toronto Maple Leafs

14-7-0 (28 points) / +16 goal differential / 50.1 CF% (15th) / 102.8 PDO (3rd) 

The Maple Leafs are on a six-game winning streak and are catching up to the Lightning for top spot in the division. Last week, they edged out the New Jersey Devils with a 1-0 overtime win and then dismantled the Montreal Canadiens on the road with a 6-0 spanking on Hockey Night in Canada. Frederik Andersen has posted back-to-back shutouts and his poor start seems to be in the rearview mirror.

3rd: Detroit Red Wings

10-8-3 (23 points) / +5 goal differential / 49.2 CF% (20th) / 100.9 PDO (13th) 

The Red Wings currently sit in third place in the division largely because nobody else seems to want to win any games. The Wings won two games and picked up a loser point last week, bringing their record to 10-8-3 on the season. They hammered Calgary 8-2 then beat Buffalo 3-1 but lost 4-3 in overtime to Colorado. This team can overachieve so long as the goaltending remains strong.

4th: Ottawa Senators

8-5-6 (22 points) / 0 goal differential / 48.1 CF% (23rd) / 99.6 PDO (20th) 

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After winning both of their games in Sweden, the Sens have had a rough return to North America. They got dropped by the Penguins and Coyotes (!!!) and then got shutout 3-0 by the Rangers last week and are now behind Detroit in the division standings. The issue for the Sens has been an inability to score. Matt Duchene hasn’t picked up a point in his first five games with the team.

5th: Boston Bruins

8-7-4 (20 points) / -6 goal differential / 52.5 CF% (5th) / 99.2 PDO (23rd) 

The Bruins had a strong West Coast road trip last week, winning against the Kings and Sharks but losing to the Ducks. All in all, they’re kind of floating in purgatory. Their underlying numbers are good, but only one line on the team can actually score goals. Also, Tuukka Rask hasn’t been very good, and he has to be in order to compensate for the team’s lack of offence.

6th: Montreal Canadiens

8-11-2 (18 points) / -23 goal differential / 53.9 CF% (3rd) / 96.3 PDO (30th) 

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Hey look, the Habs are bad again. After going on a little bit of a hot streak and climbing up the standings, Montreal had a nightmare week, losing to Columbus and Arizona and then capping it off with an embarrassing 6-0 to the Maple Leafs at home. They can’t score and Charlie Lindgren clearly wasn’t actually the answer in net. The Habs need Carey Price to come back and be an MVP in order to turn this thing around.

7th: Florida Panthers

7-11-2 (16 points) / -11 goal differential / 49.2 CF% (19th) / 99.6 PDO (21st) 

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Now it’s time for our weekly look at the basement. The Panthers played four games last week and won two of them, giving them a slight edge on the Buffalo Sabres.

8th: Buffalo Sabres

5-11-4 (14 points) / -25 goal differential / 46.8 CF% (27th) / 97.4 PDO (27th) 

While Florida managed to put up a very impressive (for them) .500 week, Buffalo dropped all three games they played, sliding them back into last place in the Atlantic.