This article contains opinion. All stats accurate through Nov. 13.
Just a quarter of the way through the season, and things are already heating up.
There’s been constant motion in the standings throughout these couple of weeks. Some will go on streaks, others through droughts. But a rough start doesn’t guarantee not making playoffs. It takes time to crawl you way up from the bottom, but there’s always the classic tale of the underdogs.
A good example would be the St. Louis Blues, who went from being in last place at the turn of the year to Stanley Cup Champions a few months later.
‘Tis early. It’s still anyone’s game. But you must have the fight and the want to win.
The St. Louis Blues (12–3–4) recently went on a seven-game win streak, with five out of seven forced into extra minutes. Though, after their streak was snapped by the Arizona Coyotes in a shootout, the Blues suffered another loss.
Vladimir Tarasenko recently injured his shoulder but said he isn’t worried. Vlad is optimistic about the recovery. In the least, he wants to be sure he’s fully healed, especially in a timely manner before playoffs. Being the goal scorer he is, Tarasenko plans to help the Blues get back to the playoffs. The Blues sit in first place in the Central Division with 28 points on the season.
The Philadelphia Flyers (10–5–3) are off to an impressive start. Their record is sitting at its best since the 2011–12 season. The parts are all coming together very well since the addition of new coach Alain Vigneault. His ability to work well with the younger team helps develop the team together.
The added help of goaltender Carter Hart assisted as well, who admittedly was slow in the beginning but came around just fine. The Flyers are making a name for themselves early in the season, especially with their recent four-game streak, broken by division rival Washington Capitals in a shootout.
The Pittsburgh Penguins (10–6–3) are staying on their feet going through the injury process. Most recently, it seemed the team was finally healed. Then, as if overnight, the moment of bliss was gone.
Through three games after a healthy Pittsburgh team, Patric Hornqvist, Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby wound up making early exits to the locker room. The Penguin’s captain went through a core muscle surgery and is expected to be out six weeks. Hornqvist was placed on the injured reserve list over the weekend, and Letang is day-to-day.
Despite the multitudes of injures, the Pens are winning and hope to keep doing so while their teammates recover.
The Metropolitan Division has its fair share of talent. The Islanders are 9–0–1 in the past 10 games, and had another impressive 10 game streak going but ended when Pittsburgh forced overtime. The Capitals also coming off hot streak of six games, which was snapped by the Arizona Coyotes through another shoot out.
Third-ranked Florida Panthers (9–5–4) pulled off an impressive comeback against first place Boston Bruins (11–3–4), both native to the Atlantic Division. Both teams scored four goals in a single period: Bruins through the second, Panthers through the third. Then they went through OT and brought another shootout.
Really great goal tending or even better goal scoring can cause a matchup to go past overtime and into a shootout. During the past few days, there have been nine games played through the NHL, five of which went to a shootout. I’d give a nod to the goalies, particularly in overtime.
There sits a seven-way tie for wins so far in the season. Jordan Binnington, Matt Murray, Carey Price, Marc-Andre Fleury, Braden Holtby, Frederik Andersen and David Rittich all have brought home nine wins for their respectable club.
As the season rolls on, we’ll see how those goalies can separate themselves from the pack.