Mark Jones's Eastern Conference Power Rankings
The Eastern Conference's interesting first-week shake-up has yet to settle down even through two weeks of action. The suddenly talented Sabres are currently tied for 2nd in the conference standings, and other teams, like the Flyers, Senators, and Panthers are not currently in the top 8 despite high expectations. Mark Jones tries to sort out the mixed-up Eastern Conference in these conference power rankings.
- (LW-2) Montreal Canadiens 11 pts, 5-0-1
- (LW-1) New York Rangers 13 pts, 6-2-1
- (LW-5) New Jersey Devils 10 pts, 5-1-0
- (LW-4) Pittsburgh Penguins 9 pts, 4-2-1
- (LW-7) Buffalo Sabres 11 pts, 5-0-1
- (LW-3) Washington Capitals 7 pts, 3-2-1
- (LW-8) Carolina Hurricanes 7 pts, 3-1-1
- (LW-10) Boston Bruins 7 pts, 2-1-3
- (LW-6) Ottawa Senators 5 pts, 2-3-1
- (LW-11) Florida Panthers 6 pts, 3-3-0
- (LW-15) Atlanta Thrashers 6 pts, 2-2-2
- (LW-9) Philadelphia Flyers 3 pts, 0-3-3
- (LW-12) New York Islanders 4 pts, 2-3-0
- (LW-13) Toronto Maple Leafs 5 pts, 1-2-3
- (LW-14) Tampa Bay Lightning 5 pts, 1-2-3
In the top spot is the Montreal Canadiens, who were the best team in the conference in last year's regular season and the preseason pick to go to the Stanley Cup in 09. Montreal, boasting a perfect season so far except for a single overtime loss, is certainly living up to expectations so far.
Just behind them, though actually ahead in points, is the New York Rangers. The Rangers 5-0-0 start was the best team start since the 1960's, and they have stayed in the top spot in the standings ever since.
Currently in third, though not a division leader, is the 5-1-0 New Jersey Devils led by veteran goalie Martin Brodeur.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth spots are occupied by three completely opposite teams; the Penguins, who are last year's Eastern Conference champion, the surprisingly talented Sabres, and the youthful Capitals, led by all-star Alexander Ovechkin. These teams are a combined 12-4-3 this year, which puts all of them in the top eight teams.
At seventh is the Carolina Hurricanes. After an injury-plagued season last year in which they missed the playoffs on the last day, the 'Canes look to recover their injuries, some of which have carried into the 08-09 season, and make the playoffs this year. They've done well so far, with their only regulation loss being to the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings.
In the hotly-contested 8th spot, resides the Boston Bruins. After a unnoticeable yet good season last year, they haven't made much of an impression so far this year either. Although they are 2-1-3, they still have a good chance to once again sneak into the playoffs.
Just out of the top 8 are the Senators and Panthers, two teams both expected to make the playoffs this season. Last year, the Senators were cruising along with the top spot when they suddenly dropped sharply and failed to win a series of postseason play. This year, they are continuing were they were at the end of last year: not too great. On the other hand, the Panthers are another youthful team, who after a decent but not spectacular season last year are looking to make the playoffs after an active off-season. The Panthers are currently an acceptable 3-3-0.
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