Southeast Division Roundup: A Little Plus/Minus Action

The point of this column is to let Lightning fans know what is happening with the other four teams in the South East Division, but it still gives me warm fuzzies to mention that the Bolts are up around the league lead in points. And it might not last forever, especially the way the goalies are letting them in, but it's nice at the moment.

You know who I'm all about right now? Sean Bergenheim. Have you ever seen anyone get as many clean breakaways as this guy? Sure, he didn't convert the penalty shot against Pittsburgh the other night, but seriously, the guy gets his chances. If you're a nickname person, "Breakaway Bergie" is looking pretty good.

But yeah, let's look at those other four SE Div teams after the jump.

Atlanta Thrashers: The Thrashers are keeping their heads above water, but are still allowing piles of shots and goals (kinda like the Lightning). Their 36 goals against is behind only Colorado for most in the NHL (tied with two other teams). They are getting goals, but four of of their top five scorers are minus players right now. All that aside, they are 2-0-1 in their last three, including an OT win in Buffalo on Friday night with Dustin Byfuglien potting the winner.

Carolina Hurricanes: How about rookie Jeff Skinner, huh? Seven points in nine games, and three points in Friday's win over the Rangers. How about veteran Eric Cole, huh? Six points in nine games and a plus eight. Plus eight? Yeah, that's okay. Pretty good for the oft-injured forward. The 'Canes are keeping up, although they'd probably like the 3-0 loss to the Caps on Wednesday back.

Florida Panthers: The only South East team below .500 at 3-5, the Panthers brass is probably wondering what it will take for Michael Frolik and Stephen Weiss to start putting the puck in the net, accounting for exactly zero and one goals, respectively. Weiss is also a minus six, but everybody knows that is a meaningless statistic, right guys? Guys? Hello? Oh, and the defense is starting to look all too human as well, allowing five goals to the offense-poor Senators on Thursday.

Washington Capitals: At 6-4 the Capitals are near the top in the East, and their depth is making up for Alexander Ovechkin's surprisingly "pretty good" start to the year. If my Stat-Comp 3000 machine is correct, he's had two points in his last five games, including the team's only goal in a loss to the Wild on Thursday. Maybe pummeling the mad hell out of Calgary on Saturday night will boost his spirits.

(Nolan Whyte keeps at Lightning blog at Frozen Sheets Hockey. Follow this and his other work on twitter @nolanwhyte.)