For the first time this season, your Atlantic Division (and Eastern Conference) leaders are the New Jersey Devils. They are the hottest team in the league and they will enjoy a three game road trip. A situation that benefits them as the Devils have yet to lose on the road yet this season. The Pittsburgh Penguins finally won last night and will look to turn around their recent struggles this week. The New York Rangers will look to maintain their position; as the Philadelphia Flyers also begin a west coast road trip of their own. Don't pity them, as the New York Islanders spend this week on the road in the middle of a seven game trip.
Here's the next week in terms of potential points.
Let me point out something interesting that sort of justifies this weekly snapshot. The Flyers will play four games this week, whereas the Rangers will only have two. Because of that, the Rangers - third in the division - cannot catch the Devils and need Pittsburgh to lose out to move up. Yet, the Flyers - with fewer points and in fourth - can rocket up to the top by winning out. It may doubtful, but it's entirely possible this week. Incidentally, this week will see the Flyers actually make up a game within the division; but they'll still be behind the rest by 1 to 3 games.
Also, enjoy the view now because eventually the entire Atlantic won't be in the upper half of the Eastern Conference.
Anyway, the goal for the Devils is simple: Keep getting points. If they can get even just two ahead of the Penguins, they'll hold onto the Atlantic for another week. All good things must come to an end, and that includes the wonderful winning streak that the Devils are on. I honestly can't say I expect them to sweep this road trip; but then I can't honestly say I saw the Devils putting up 5 answered goals on the Washington Capitals in advance, and then it happened before my very eyes last night. Nonetheless, New Jersey controls their own destiny this week.
The big inter-division game is Monday's Devils-Flyers game. A preview will be up on that game tomorrow morning. It even will be nationally televised on Versus; meaning, I'm rocking my radio as I have DirecTV and so I don't have Versus, as such. Regardless of my situation, it should be a very good game as it's a match up between rivals; and it could have an impact within the division later in the season. Or even for next week. Again, the Flyers can shoot up to the division this week and they'll need a win on Monday to do just that. Of course, if the Devils stay hot, then the next week will remain with a new leader (and perhaps a new NHL record for consecutive road wins)