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Weekly Atlantic Division Snapshot 12/19 - 12/25

You may wonder why am I bothering to do these considering the playoffs are all but unreachable by the New Jersey Devils. Namely because it's a good way to keep tabs with what's going on in general, a nice little post that showcases where everyone in the Atlantic Division is and what's coming up this week.

Anyway, the Pittsburgh Penguins stopped being the hottest team in the league and so the Philadelphia Flyers moved right into first place in this past week.

Atlantic Standings

Philadelphia 34 22 7 5 49
Pittsburgh 33 21 10 2 44
New York Rangers 35 20 14 1 41
New Jersey 32 9 21 2 20
New York Islanders 30 6 18 6 18

(updated 12.19.2010 at 8:32 AM EST)

Read on after the jump for a quick blurb on what everyone did last week and what everyone will do in the coming holiday-shortened week.

The Pittsburgh Penguins not only had a 12 game winning streak snapped but put up a zero-week in terms of points. They had two games, they lost them, and they were to division opponents: the Flyers and the New York Rangers. As a result, the Flyers turned a 2 point deficit to Pittsburgh into a 5 point lead. Inter-division games matter most when the standings are close.

As much as I don't like doing it, I have to give some credit to Our Hated Rivals. They had a tough week last week, but they won three out of four which does a lot to keep them in the race for first in the Atlantic. Too bad they only get one game this week, so they really can't gain too much ground. Still, they are getting results and so they remain in the hunt for first. Should the Flyers or Penguins slip, the boys in blue will be there ready to pounce (provided the Rangers keep up their current pace).

Potential Points Last Week Conf. Position
PHI 2 3-0-0 1st
PIT 6 0-2-0 4th
NYR 2 3-1-0 5th
NJD 4 1-2-0 14th
NYI 4 1-1-1 15th

It's going to be a short week for most in the division. The Flyers and Rangers get real short weeks with only one game. The Penguins keep it regular with 3 going into the short holiday break, including a pre-Winter Classic match-up with the Capitals. That should be a good one. The Penguins may not be able to catch the Flyers unless they sweep these three and the Flyers lose in any way to Florida.

On the other end of the standings, both the Devils and the New York Islanders managed to win a game. Actually, the Islanders did better - they picked up 3 out of 6 points last week. So the Devils got out-done by the Isles.

For those of you Devils fans still following the team, the season can actually get worse this week because that extra point puts them in range to take over the Devils for fourth in the division. It could very well happen on Thursday night when the two Eastern Conference Basement Dwellers face off in Newark. After all, the Devils already lost to the Islanders once this season. Moreover, 'Tis the Season for Giving and so the New Jersey may hand the Long Island boys their usual gift of 2 points via a terrible performance.

In any case, here's the upcoming week ahead:

12/19 12/20 12/21 12/22 12/23 12/24 12/25
PIT vs. PHX vs. FLA @ WSH

The Devils can avoid that with some points over the currently-hapless Washington Capitals. Though, that would require the Isles to get nothing at home against Tampa Bay (entirely possible) and for the Devils to play a good game of hockey against a team that's going to remember the Devils beat them 5-0 a month ago (incredibly unlikely).

I guess all I want for Christmas is to avoid seeing New Jersey in 15th by Saturday. That and a new coach. And a unicorn to magically solve all the team's problems, since I'm just straight-up wishing here. Leave your wishes and talk about the week ahead for the Atlantic Division in the comments.