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The best thing going for the Devils right now is that the Chicago Blackhawks play in the Western Conference.
The Blackhawks have gotten off to a record 16-0-3 start and are just tearing through the competition. Things are much tighter in the Eastern Conference though, where no teams stand out too much.
The Boston Bruins are probably the largest threat for the conference title right now. Although they've played only 15 games, they still hold the No. 5 seed in the conference. Right now, they are third in their division behind the Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators, who have both gotten off to better starts than anticipated.
The Ottawa Senators will likely be unable to keep up that pace, as they've been hit hard by injuries and are currently without their two best skaters in Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza.
The Canadiens may put up a stronger fight, but they are still a very incomplete team and it's hard to believe they will be at the top of the East for much longer. They simply don't have the offensive ability to sustain this kind of success.
The Maple Leafs are also sitting right behind the Devils, but with inconsistent goaltending, injury issues and a serious lack of depth, they will likely struggle to maintain a high standing for the playoffs.
Both the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers were thought to be threats at the beginning of the season, but both teams have been extremely underwhelming; they currently sit ninth and 10th in the league, respectively. Both teams have twice as many road losses as wins and negative scoring differentials.
In the Southeast Division, no clear leader has emerged. While the division features multiple talented teams, the current leader has five fewer points than the Devils.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the wild card. On paper, they're easily one of the league's best teams. However, they recently lost former MVP Evgeni Malkin to a concussion. The injury is still very much up in the air, but thoughts of Crosby's struggles with concussions fresh in the minds of fans and management will keep everyone cautious about this injury. Expect Malkin to be out until they are 100 percent confident with his health.
And with Malkin out, the Penguins are just a much less dangerous team. Besides offering an alternative elite threat to Sidney Crosby, Malkin also has developed the chemistry that's turned James Neal into an elite goalscorer. They're still wildly talented, but the loss of Malkin will inevitably cause some trouble for the team. He's too good for them to not be hurt without him.
A lot of teams still hold the potential to win the conference, but in a shortened season, you can't slip up, and that gives a consistent team a huge opportunity to come out on top of the conference.