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And for a brief moment, Tampa Bay is on top of the standings

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It's been a while since Bolts fans looked at the NHL's Eastern Conference standings and saw this sight.

Mike Carlson

I'm very cautious, but it's hard not to smirk if not grin broadly at the NHL standings this morning. It's one day, and it won't last longer than that (I don't think) but it is a view to behold. Your Tampa Bay Lightning are in a place of note in the standings:

Eastern Standings

Tampa Bay Lightning 11 8-3-0 16
Toronto Maple Leafs 12 8-4-0 16
Boston Bruins 10 7-3-0 14
Pittsburgh Penguins 11 7-4-0 14
Detroit Red Wings 12 6-4-2 14
Montreal Canadiens 11 6-5-0 12
Carolina Hurricanes 11 4-4-3 11
New York Islanders 11 4-4-3 11
Columbus Blue Jackets 11 5-6-0 10
Ottawa Senators 11 4-5-2 10
Washington Capitals 11 5-6-0 10
New Jersey Devils 11 2-5-4 8
Florida Panthers 12 3-7-2 8
New York Rangers 9 3-6-0 6
Philadelphia Flyers 10 3-7-0 6
Buffalo Sabres 13 2-10-1 5

First place in the division and the conference with a game in hand, not too shabby.

The stat that has gotten me the most since the end of the game last night versus the Panthers: The Bolts 5-1-0 record in 1-goal games this season matches their win total for 1-goal tames in all of last season (21 games played, 5-12-4). More games were close affairs like that, but they turned into 2-goal games with thanks to empty-net goals scored by opponents in the waning seconds of games.

This position is something to take pride in for a minute and then dismiss it until later on if it lasts. It's still far, far too early to get excited. We learned that the hard way last season when a hot start turned into a nightmare.