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Lightning Round: Atlantic Division update

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Boston and Tampa remain at the top of the division.

NHL: DEC 12 Bruins at Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At the end of the week we’re taking another look at the Tampa Bay Lightning’s competitors in the Atlantic Division and discussing what every team could expect in remaining part of the season.

Boston Bruins34-10-12 – 80 points

After having a little slump at the end of 2019, the Bruins successfully bounced back. In 2020 just two teams have more points that the Bruins. The bounce helped them to get ahead of the Washington Capitals in the standings. Last night they beat the Arizona Coyotes thanks to two goals by Charlie Coyle. David Pastrnak, who recently lost the leading goal scorer post spot to Auston Matthews and Alex Ovechkin, added two assists, including a helper on the gamewinning goal by Jake DeBrusk. This victory extended the winning streak to six games for Boston.

Tampa Bay Lightning35-15-5 – 75 points

As i mentioned before, just two teams have recorded more points than the Bruins in 2020. One of these teams is the Tampa Bay Lightning. Thanks to an impressive point streak the Bolts stormed back to the top of the league. They are currently just five points behind the Bruins with one game in hand and two points behind the Capitals in the Eastern Conference. Unlike the first half of the season, the Lightning started getting points in those games where they’re supposed to win and winning despite being outplayed, just like this week against the Golden Knights. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos continue to be the hottest players in 2020, scoring 26 and 23 points respectively in 17 games since the start of the year. Andrei Vasilevskiy beat the franchise recored for the longest point streak and Anthony Cirelli is slowly emerging into a two-way star, just look what he did last night to Mathew Barzal, arguably one of the most fastest players in the league.

Toronto Maple Leafs29-19-8 – 66 points

Despite returning into a wild card spot, the Maple Leafs continue to struggle in recent games. This week they were defeated by two divisional rivals, the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens, and lost several players to injuries, including their starting goalie Frederik Andersen and defenseman Cody Ceci. They’re two points ahead of the Panthers, however Florida have two games in hand. After hiring Sheldon Keefe, the Leafs are top-5 team in point percentage in the league, but the race for the playoff spot will be very tight.

As a positive moment, Auston Matthews scored four goals in four games this week and tied Alex Ovechkin for the most goals this season. He also broke the 40-goal mark for the second time in his career.

Florida Panthers – 29-19-6 – 64 points

Despite a very important win over the Maple Leafs, the Panthers didn’t have either a very successful week. They’ve lost three consecutive games since defeating Toronto, including a 2-7 debacle against the Golden Knights. Good news for the team that last week’s injury to Alexander Barkov wasn’t very serious, the Finnish centre returned last night after a three-game absence but couldn’t help his team to earn a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sergey Bobrovsky remains a biggest concern for his team.

Montreal Canadiens – 27-23-7 – 61 points

The Montreal Canadiens won last night’s matchup against the Leafs 2-1 thanks to goals by their recent acquisitions Marco Scandella and Ilya Kovalchuk. Scandella tied the game with 2,5 minutes left in the third period and Ilya Kovalchuk scored a gamewinning goal after 24 seconds of overtime. The Habs improved to five wins in the last six games and closed the gap between them and Florida to three points, although they played three more games than their closest opponent.

Buffalo Sabres24-23-8 – 56 points

The season is officially over for the Buffalo Sabres. The season that had a very promising start turned into another disappointment. After scoring 40 goals and signing a ten-million contract, Jeff Skinner currently has just 11 goals in 45 games, Casey Mittelstadt still hasn’t developed into a decent player and Jack Eichel remains the only bright spot on this team. The Sabres have also had to deal with several injuries, losing among others rookie Victor Olofsson, who scored 16 goals in his first 42 games of the season. The team even managed to lose this week against the Detroit Red Wings.

Ottawa Senators18-26-11 – 47 points

Despite sitting at the bottom of the league with zero chances to make playoffs, the Senators should be very optimistic, waiting for the next summer’s NHL Draft. Besides their own first round pick, they also own the San Jose Sharks first round selection, which they acquired in Erik Karlsson’s trade before the 2018-19 season. The Sharks are the sixth in the Pacific Division, so there’s a big chance the Senators will end up with top-10 picks in the upcoming draft.

Last night Ottawa were destroyed by the Winnipeg Jets and personally Patrick Laine, who scored his first hat-trick of the season.

Detroit Red Wings – 13-39-4 – 30 points

Nothing new about the Detroit Red Wings, they won just once over the last ten game. This week they were shut down twice by the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Philadelphia Flyers but earned a win against the Buffalo Sabres.

Lightning Org News

The Lightning won their sixth straight game and extended point streak to eight games. Check out our last night’s recap.

The Syracuse Crunch were defeated 4-5 in a shootout last night by the Utica Comets, despite taking a lead several times during the game.