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Lightning Round: Atlantic Division update

While the 2022-23 regular season started just one month before, we can already see some trends in the league standings and can predict early favourites and losers. Let’s take a look precisely at the Atlantic Division, where the Tampa Bay Lightning is playing.

Boston Bruins — 13-2-0 — 26 points

With a ridiculous .867 point percentage, Boston is currently leading not only the Atlantic Division, but the whole league. The team is 9-1-0 over their last ten games and 3-0-0 during this week, where they defeated the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres with identical 3-1 scores. The Bruins are currently scoring more than anyone else in the NHL (3.93 goals for per game) and allowing less than anyone else (2.20 goals against per game). Boston also have the league best penalty kill with 94.44 PK%.

Toronto Maple Leafs — 8-5-3 — 19 points

Despite losing two games during this week, the Leafs took advantage of their opponent’s losses and moved to the second place in the division. The goaltending issue remains ongoing as both of their starting goalies, Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov, are still not ready to play and Erik Kallgren isn’t very consistent.

Florida Panthers — 8-6-1 — 17 points

The departure of Jonathan Huberdeau and Anthony Duclair’s injury has affected the Panthers’ power play, which conversion rate has dramatically dropped from last season’s 24.43 % to 14.75% at the start of this season. Despite it, however, Florida still keep recording points consistently and stay in the top half of the division. At the beginning of the week they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 and lost to the Edmonton Oilers 2-4.

Detroit Red Wings — 7-5-3 — 17 points

The Red Wings, which is now managed by former Lightning assistant coach Derek Lalonde, have been one of the biggest surprises this season. However, after the fresh start of the season, the Red Wings have stalled recently, dropping all three games this week and recording just one point after a shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

Montreal Canadiens — 8-6-1 — 17 points

Heading in an opposite direction as Detroit, Montreal has improved recently, posting their longest winning streak so far after winning all three games this week. It’s started with a shootout win against the Red Wings, continued with a confident 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks and yesterday they also defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime. The Canadiens are led by three players younger than 24: Nick Suzuki (ten goals and nine assists in 15 games), Cole Caufield (nine goals and seven assists in 15 games) and Kirby Dach (four goals and ten assists in 15 games).

Tampa Bay Lightning — 7-6-1 — 15 points

The Bolts struggled offensively this week, losing both games to the Edmonton Oilers and the Washington Capitals. The Lightning’s power play have been inconsistent recently as the team went 3-for-15 in the last four games.

Buffalo Sabres — 7-8-0 — 14 points

The Buffalo Sabres’ decline happened a little bit earlier this season: just couple of weeks before Buffalo were one of the best teams in the league, but their recent five-game losing streak pushed them back in the standings. Although it is fair to say that two of their latest losses happened against two best teams in the league — the Boston Bruins and the Vegas Golden Knights.

Ottawa Senators — 5-8-1 — 11 points

Yesterday, the Senators ended their seven-game losing streak after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers. A young Ottawa team, leading by experienced Claude Giroux, is still very fun to watch. The Senators are top-10 in both goals for per game and goals against per game, they have a pretty strong power play, which ranks 10th in the league. They also have a pretty solid possession numbers at 5v5, but somehow it still isn’t transforming in their record.

Yesterday, the Lightning claimed forward Rudolfs Balcers off of waivers from the Florida Panthers [Raw Charge]

For now, if Balcers stays with the Lightning, the left-handed shot winger will likely slot in on the third or fourth line. With a lack of production coming from the bottom-six could find a spot in place of Cole Koepke who has yet to produce a point and has seemed invisible from time to time. Some time in Syracuse may get Koepke back into the scoring mode that he displayed last year with the Crunch.

The Washington Capitals’ forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel was suspended for three games for his hit on Cal Foote.

Pat Maroon has been fined for unsportsmanlike conduct for his fight in the Washington game.

Nikita Kucherov ended at the 72nd place in the Athletic’s ranking of the best 100 players in the NHL modern era.

The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Utica Comets 8-3 on Saturday night.

The Lightning’s prospect Lucas Edmonds scored his first AHL goal.

Hockey News

The results of all 13 games played in the NHL last night.

Minnesota Wild goalie prospect Jesper Wallstedt scored a goal in the AHL.

The Toronto Maple Leafs held a special ceremony for retired player Borje Salming.

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