The Atlantic Division remains as it was position-wise. The Pittsburgh Penguins remain the hottest team in hockey, whereas the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders are securing the basement in both the division and the Eastern Conference.
Yet, even with Pittsburgh continuing to win - 12 straight games now - Philadelphia is right there with them. It just so happens that both teams will play each other in this coming week. Who knows, maybe the Flyers will be the first team to beat them in so far? After all, nothing like a rivalry to shake things up. Find out what else will be going on in the Atlantic Division after the jump.
Even if Pittsburgh beats on the Flyers for a 13th straight win, the Flyers can actually keep pace with them thanks to the schedule. The Orange & Black will have 2 games beyond the Penguins, who will only have 1.
The Rangers are in an odd spot. They've clearly pulled away from New Jersey with a gigantic 17 point lead. Yet, they are just holding onto eighth place in the East. This is actually a big week for them just to get ahead in the East and not have start shifting in and out of 8th place. They'll have the opportunity for points with 4 games.
Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, they draw Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Washington this week; three of the top teams in the East.
As far as the Devils and Islanders are concerned, this may be the time they are playing for pride. The Devils are 8 points behind 13th-place Toronto, and the Islanders are 11 points back of the Leafs. Assuming a 90 points would be good enough to get the postseason, the Devils will need 72 points in their next 53 remaining games. That's should be a points earned percentage of 67.9%. For the Islanders, it will be about 68.2%, or 75 points in their 55 remaining games. Given the poor play by both teams so far in this season, it's really difficult to fathom such a massive turnaround. Especially since said turnaround pretty much has to start right now. That's hard to believe since both teams have yet to win in December.
The message remains: get points. Maybe this week will be the first time in December they do so.