The Atlantic Division is stacked. Last year, it had the Boston Bruins lead the way. That Bruins team had the most wins and points for any regular season team ever.
Despite all of their success, they were stunned in the first round when the Florida Panthers took them down. Florida ended up going all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning were the other two teams that made the playoffs. Toronto won the playoff series between the two. It was their first series win in the Auston Matthews era.
Those four teams have dominated the division for a while now. Things may just be going according to plan this year too when it comes to this division.
The Atlantic Division is mostly going according to plan at Christmas.
Right now, the Bruins are in first, the Leafs are in second, the Panthers are in third, and the Lightning are in fourth. It feels very likely that these are the four teams from this division that make it into the playoffs.
The Detroit Red Wings have been very cold lately so they dropped from being well up there in the standings to fifth place in the division. They are right in the thick of the Wild Card Conversation but they must start winning again soon or they will be too far behind.
Shockingly, the Montreal Canadiens are in it as well. They looked like a potential lottery team on paper but have exceeded all expectations. With some of the talent still on its way in Montreal, things could get good quickly.
At the bottom of the division are two incredibly disappointing groups. The Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators should both be better than where they are. Each team looked like a squad that could take a big step this year but it isn’t happening.
The league is loaded with good teams and the Atlantic is full of them. Don’t be surprised if the bad teams are still in the mix by the end of it all. We’ll see who the true top dog in the division is in short order.