This is couple days behind the biweekly pace because of the holidays, and it's actually just as depressing as it would've been before the two-game sweep of Florida.
When we first checked, we saw that the Tampa Bay Lightning were on a similar late October pace to last year's Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, and Phoenix Coyotes. Two weeks ago, we saw that the Veteran's Day pace was identical to that of last year's Lightning. Today?
The Lightning are currently 11-9-2, +2 compared to a point per game pace. Who else had that pace at this time last year? Not a lot of playoff teams, that's for sure.
*The Chicago Blackhawks were +2 on November 27th last year, with a record of 13-11-2. They would struggle to make the playoffs and would be eliminated in the first round after a spirited comeback from a 3-0 series deficit to the Western Conference champion Canucks.
*The Atlanta Thrashers were also +2 on November 27th last year, with a record of 11-9-3. We already saw what happened to them, and I for one would feel much better if we got far away from their pace.
*The third team with a +2 on November 27th of last year was the Minnesota Wild, with an 11-9-2 record identical to today's Lightning. Like the Thrashers, they would falter and finish with 86 points, well outside a playoff spot.
Like I said, that was depressing. On a less depressing note, the closest team to this bunch was the Nashville Predators, who were just +1 at 9-8-5, but who finished with 99 points and made the second round of the playoffs.
Other playoff teams who were struggling at this point include the Anaheim Ducks, who were +0 at 11-11-3 but who finished fourth in the West, and the Buffalo Sabres, who were -4 at 9-13-3 but who would finish seventh in the East. Several non-playoff teams were still riding high coming out of Thanksgiving 2010, with the highest being the 14-7-0 Columbus Blue Jackets, who fell from +7 against a point per game pace on November 27th to -1 at the end of the season, finishing with 81 points, 13th in the West. But the biggest fall came from the Colorado Avalanche, who were 13-9-1 and leading their division at this point last season, only to finish 29th in the NHL with 68 points.