Buffalo Sabres (5-4-2, 12 points)
Similar to the Red Wings, the Sabres keep kicking around, but things have turned ugly as of late. They are losers of their last four games with losses to the Kings, Sharks, Kraken and Red Wings.
It’s been a consistent effort on the offensive side, with Rasmus Asplund leading the way with 10 points and Victor Olofsson has five goals for first on the squad. Both Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski have played above expectations to start the season, but like the team, the numbers have slipped recently.
With a schedule consisting of the Capitals, Oilers, Maple Leafs, Penguins and Flames coming up, expect the Sabres’ downfall to continue.
Boston Bruins (5-4-0, 10 points)
The Bruins are the only team in the league that have yet to play 10 games yet, so don’t put too much stock into their placement in the standings. They have a stronger win percentage than both Buffalo and Detroit.
That said, this team has been extremely inconsistent and the defense is an issue. They are middle-of-the-pack in both goals scored and allowed. Brad Marchand continues on his excellent start with 14 points in nine games, but no one else has hit double digits in points yet.
While the Bruins are still good enough to contend, are they good enough to really compete for first in the Atlantic? It’s still early but things need to change if that is going to be the goal.
Ottawa Senators (3-7-1, 7 points)
Tough sledding for the Sens. After winning two of their first three games, they are 1-5-1 since then and losers of four straight. They haven’t just lost those four games, they’ve given up five goals in every one and are getting outscored 20-9.
Ottawa is giving up 3.64 goals per game, the third-highest amount in the league. Drake Batherson and Josh Norris are building off great seasons from last year with 12 and nine points respectively. The Senators are still a couple seasons away from finishing the rebuild so expect them to hang in the bottom of the Atlantic most of the season.
Montreal Canadiens (3-10-0, 6 points)
Not a lot of fun going on in Montreal. The Canadiens have the worst record in the Eastern Conference, are averaging a lowly 2.00 goals per game and Cole Caufield is currently skating with the AHL’s Laval Rocket after just one point in 10 games. You wouldn’t be able to convince most people this team played in a Stanley Cup Finals less than six months ago if they didn’t know.
On a positive note, Nick Suzuki has broke out of his slump and leads the team with 12 points and Carey Price is back with the team after entering the NHL’s player assistance program to start the season, although there is no timetable of his return to playing in games.
So we’re just about a month down in the season and things are returning to normal in the Atlantic (outside of the Bruins). Expect more of the same this season, with the Panthers, Maple Leafs, Lightning and Bruins pulling away from the rest of the pack. Come back in two weeks to see if that’s the case or if we see more changes in the division.