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Atlantic Division: Boston Bruins continue to play catch-up

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Charlie Coyle #13 of the Boston Bruins battles for the puck against Rasmus Sandin #38 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Charlie Coyle #13 of the Boston Bruins battles for the puck against Rasmus Sandin #38 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Four weeks down and a heck of a lot more hockey to go for the Boston Bruins and the Atlantic Division.

We’ve seen some change from the division over the last two weeks. Two teams expected to be at the top have righted the ship after a rocky start, while some teams are slowly slipping back in the pack.

Here’s a breakdown of the Atlantic through four weeks into the 2021-22 NHL season.

Florida Panthers (10-0-1, 21 points)

The Panthers have yet to lose in regulation and smacked the crap out of Carolina last Saturday 5-2, the only other team in the East that had not lost in regulation at that point.

Boston is the only team to beat the Panthers so far with a 3-2 shootout win, but the Panthers are dangerous. Anthony Duclair, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksandar Barkov have 12 points this season, with Duclair leading the team with eight goals. Sergei Bobrovsky continues to be outstanding with a 6-0-0 record, 1.72 GAA and a .948 SV%.

They are second in the league in goals per game with 4.18 and third in the league in goals allowed with 2.09. Expect this team to be in first place for a long time.

Toronto Maple Leafs (7-4-1, 15 points)

I mentioned this in the recap of the Bruins’ 5-2 loss to the Leafs, but Toronto slow start was exactly that – just a slow start. This team has won five in a row thanks to their star players rounding into form.

Mitch Marner and John Tavares are up to 12 points in 12 games played, William Nylander has 10 points in 12 games and Auston Matthews has eight points in nine games. The four of them have combined for the the Leafs’ last 13 goals. Jack Campbell continues his stellar play in net, 6-2-1 in 10 starts with a 1.88 GAA and a .936 SV%.

This team is as good as its stars will take them, which right now looks like it should be a pretty good distance.

Tampa Bay Lightning (6-3-2, 14 points)

Like the Maple Leafs, the Lightning started off struggling, but Tampa has won four of its last five matchups and has points in five straight games. They’re turning back into the Lightning that people expected to see this season and they are playing this well without Nikita Kucherov.

Steven Stamkos has turned back the clock, as he leads the team with 14 points in 12 games. Alex Killorn’s seven goals is the best out of any skater on the team and Victor Hedman has nine assists. Andrei Vasilevskiy isn’t quite back to his Vezina-caliber self (2.40 GAA and .919 SV%), but those numbers should improve.

Looking ahead, the Lightning do have a tough three-game stretch against the Panthers, Hurricanes and Islanders, but this team should still be in contention for a top spot in the division.

Detroit Red Wings (6-5-2, 14 points)

Yes, Detroit is still kicking around! And that is thanks to rookies Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider. While Tyler Bertuzzi leads the team with 15 points, Raymond has been the highlight on offense. He has 14 points through 13 games and is riding a three-game point streak. He had the lone goal in Detroit’s 5-1 loss to the Bruins last Thursday. Seider is first on the team in assists with nine.

The concern is in net and on the defensive end. The Red Wings are allowing 3.39 goals per game, the third-highest rate in the Eastern Conference. Both Thomas Greiss and Alex Nedeljkovic have GAA over 3.00 as neither have taken control as the No. 1 goalie.

Expect the Red Wings to be a tough team to play, but they will likely slide further and further down in the standings.