Happy Holidays to Lightning fans everywhere.
After a spell that saw the Bolts, Caps and Thrashers exchanging first place on a daily basis, the Lightning now sit at the top of the Southeast, having the same amount of points as the Capitals (47), but in two fewer games. The Lightning are also currently seeded second in the Eastern Conference, and are tied for fourth in the NHL in total points.
The Southeast division is starting to heat up, with three of the teams firmly entrenched in playoff spots. If the Carolina Hurricanes can rebound and get back to picking up ground, maybe the Southeast can steal some attention away from all the hype surrounding Sidney Crosby’s 398756 (24) game point streak, and Bruce Boudreau’s profanity laced tirades on HBO.
I think we'd all like to shed that "Southleast" tag.
More on the status of our division rivals after the jump.Atlanta Thrashers: After putting up thirteen goals in wins against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and New Jersey Devils, the Thrashers offensive has disappeared in losses to the St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, and the Lightning last night, having scored just two, one, and two goals respectively. That kind of thing can happen when your leading scorer and point producer is a defenseman.
Carolina Hurricanes: After a fun streak of four wins in a row, the Hurricanes have lost their last three. Their recent bad luck was articulated last night when top defenseman Tim Gleason was given a game misconduct after a clean hit on the Capitals’ Mathieu Perrault. Obviously, there are still some kinks to work out in the NHL’s handling of hits to the upper body.
Speaking of upper bodies, Cam Ward missed some time due to a strange skin infection on his forehead that forced his eye almost completely shut due to the swelling. Ward still has no idea what caused the infection.
Florida Panthers: Don’t look now, but the Panthers are only one game under .500. They’ve gone 6-4-0 in their last ten, which included an impressive 5-0 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. If they keep doing things like that, their new money back guarantee might not be such a bad idea.
Washington Capitals: Well, everyone can breathe again, Alex Ovechkin ended his goal drought after eight games. When asked about it, Coach Bruce Boudreau offered: "It’s about (expletive) time!" In other news, there is growing concern that the weather may cause some serious issues for this weekend’s Winter Classic. Say what you will about the Crosby/Ovechkin (over) hype, any misstep by the NHL in handling this game could hurt the little momentum the league has mustered the past few years. But, of course, it’s impossible for the NHL to control Mother Nature and her wrath. Maybe she’s sick of the Ovi vs. Crosby over-glorifications as much as the rest of us?