Things are beginning to normalize in the National Hockey League.
By that, I mean that the teams I thought would be good are winning games and the ones I thought would be bad are starting to lose more.
In the west, Minnesota and Los Angeles have stepped their games up after a rough start to the season. The Wild are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. The Kings? 7-3-0.
The Ducks are the only team that’s making me look really stupid right now. Chicago is far and away the best team in the Western Conference (and the league), but the Ducks are a close No. 2. I don’t see them dropping off unless they really get the injury bug.
Out east things are a little more scrambled. The Rangers have yet to find their stride, while New Jersey and Montreal continue to tear things up. Be cautious, though, Devils fans. Your team is 3-5-2 in their last 10 games.
I am a little surprised that Tampa Bay hasn’t played better. With names like Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Victor Hedman on their roster, it is probably the most talented team in its division and should be able to compete with the east coast teams.
Carolina leads that division right now, and that’s no surprise. It went out and made moves this season and they are paying dividends. And, hey, even the Winnipeg-what-are-we-doing-in-the-Southeast-Jets are ahead of the Lightning.
I’m still curious to see if Toronto can put themselves in the playoffs this year. The Canadiens look like they are for real and I would love to see those two teams square off in the first round. That would also mean that Boston has to be the runner-up in the Northeast Division, which is still unlikely at this point. That team is talented and knows how to win.
We’re almost halfway done and we’re beginning to see who’s who in the NHL.
NOTE: I am adding each team’s record in their last 10 games to the slideshow.
Last week Valterri J Murtonen suggested that I include the weekly record of each team, which is logical, but I’d like to widen the scope a bit. This is a weekly ranking, of course, but I’d like to widen the lens a bit in order to show trends rather than making a knee-jerk reaction to a team’s performance in any given week.
Thanks again, all of you, for your comments on these slideshows. They are much appreciated.