NHL East: Right Where It's Expected to Be
Outside of one team, the NHL East is moving along like most people envisioned.
And that one team would be Les Canadiens de Montréal.
Dudes are back.
At the spectrum's other end, the Columbus Blue Jackets, who came on so wonderfully at the end of last season, started the season 0-7, fired Todd Richards, hired John Tortorella, kept right on losing. They're currently sitting at 4-11-0 and April tee times.
Tampa Bay was expected to be the class of the Atlantic Division, but the Lightning have been sputtering. They were counting on living up to the hype right out of the gate:
Instead, the 'Ning have hovered around the .500 mark, ironically due to scoring issues.
Ottawa has opened the 2015-2016 campaign with a decent 7-4-3 mark, while Florida, Detroit, and Boston will fight to be fodder in the playoff. Buffalo is rebuilding and beyond happy with No 2 overall pick Jack Eichel.
The Metropolitan Division will be up for grabs all season, with the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals taking an early lead.
Washington lost a heartbreaking playoff series to the Rangers last season, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them square off again. Henrik Lundqvist seems ageless right now, and Alexander Ovechkin still has his pedal floored.
The Penguins and New York Islanders will be in the thick of the playoff race all season long. Pens fans are steeled for it, but the Isles are having issues drawing crowds to their new digs in Brooklyn. Maybe going to the Nets' black-&-white look will help, but a dynamic season will help more.
It's a good think Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Bobby Nystrom, Billy Smith & Co aren't dead. They'd be rolling over in their graves.
The best to be said about the rest of the division is there's room for improvement. Philadelphia flatters to deceive on occasion, but the roster's still too thin for an extended playoff run. Carolina and New Jersey can only hope to find the pixie dust that got sprinkled over Calgary and Winnipeg last season.