The Atlantic Division has all five of it's teams in the top 8 of the Eastern Conference as of writing this post. It also boasts the second hottest team in the league in the Philadelphia Flyers who have won their last 4, and the hottest team in the league in the New Jersey Devils who have won their last 5 and are still undefeated on the road. Thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers stumbling in the last week, as well as the New York Islanders continuing to pick up points, the division race is tight already in early November.Here's the current division standings as of this morning:
And here's how the next week bears out in terms of potential points along with last week's results and current conference position:
The Devils are in a fantastic position. They've been hot in nothing but close wins as of late, and they have the benefit of games in hand over Pittsburgh and the Rangers. If the Devils can top Pittsburgh (and Washington), then the Devils could very well lead the conference by the end of this week. They may not even need help from the Penguins and the Capitals to do that; the Devils play both teams in this coming week. A sweep of this week will give them first place at least by way of a tie - broken by fewer number of games played.
Here's a table of all the games in this coming week for the Atlantic Division. You get to rest tonight and Monday and if you're not a Penguins fan, then even Tuesday as well. Link in the team name goes to the appropriate SBN blog.
Notice that all of these games are all Eastern Conference opponents except for the Devils' game against Anaheim. The Rangers and Flyers both get the short end of the stick in terms of number of games - something that will continue Philadelphia's pile of games in hand on the rest of the division. If you need to feel bad for someone, feel bad for the Islanders. After grinding their way to a winning streak recently and having that broken but still splitting the last week, they start a seven game road trip. If they can get points this week, the good times should certainly be looking to roll; but don't be surprised if they fall below eighth by next week's snapshot.
If the Devils can continue to be on fire - no easy feat given games against Pittsburgh and Washington, two teams who would love to put them in their place - then despite all the injuries, the Devils could be on top real soon.