This Week In The NHL's Atlantic Division: 10/21/13

The Panthers need to improve quickly or they will get left behind in the stacked Atlantic Division - Joel Auerbach

Now that enough games have been played for trends to emerge, LBC begins it's weekly recap of all the action in the newly formed Atlantic Division.

This recap covers the period from October 14 to October 20th

Detroit Red Wings: The busy Red Wings (6-3-0) started the week off with three-straight wins before they were beaten by the Phoenix Coyotes. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg lead the team in scoring with 11 points apiece. The club has gotten a boost from backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson who is 3-0 on the season. Detroit has scored 24 goals and allowed 23.

10/14 Detroit 3 @Boston 2

10/15 @Detroit 2 Columbus 1

10/17 Detroit 4 @Colorado 2

10/19 @Phoenix 5 Detroit 2

Trending: Up. The Red Wings got off to a 2-2 start but quickly found their legs in the Eastern Conference, and rolled off four-straight wins, including an early test against the Bruins, before the loss in Glendale. Detroit returns home for three games this week, beginning with tonight's battle royale against the San Jose Sharks. Jimmy Howard has nice numbers but is .500 on the season.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Maple Leafs (6-3-0) started the week off by defeating Minnesota for their third-straight win but dropped tough ones to Carolina and Chicago. Joffrey Lupul leads the team with 10 points (6G/4A). Jonathan Bernier looks to be pulling away from James Reimer in the battle for starts. Toronto has scored 30 goals and given up 22.

10/15 @Toronto 4 Minnesota 1

10/17 Carolina 3 @Toronto 2

10/19 @Chicago 3 Toronto 1

Trending: Down. The Buds have cooled off considerably after a pretty impressive start. They had to go to a shootout to beat Edmonton last week and didn't really play that well against Minnesota. They surrendered three third period goals to lose to Carolina, and despite the final 3-1 score, were badly outplayed by Chicago. This week sees the Leafs welcome Anaheim to the Air Canada Centre before they head to Columbus. The club returns home to face the Penguins to end the week before departing on a three-game swing through Western Canada.

Boston Bruins: The Bruins (5-2) finished the week on a positive note after dropping a tough 3-2 decision at home to Detroit. The B's took 4-of-4 possible points on a quick trip through Florida with a tight win over former goalie Tim Thomas and the Panthers, followed by a laugher against the Lightning. Milan Lucic and David Krejci pace the Bruins offense with 6 points apiece. Tuukka Rask has played every game so far and been absolutely stellar. Boston has tallied 20 goals and only allowed a league-best 10.

10/14 Detroit 3 @Boston 2

10/17 Boston 3 @Florida 2

10/19 Boston 5 @Tampa Bay 0

Trending: Up slightly. Despite some significant changes to the forward brigade, the Bruins still look to be among the elite of the Eastern Conference. The offense has struggled out of the gate, however, the five goals in Tampa could be a sign of things come. If the B's can simply give Rask enough goal support, there is no reason why Boston cannot win the division. Boston shuffles off to Buffalo for their next game before returning home to face San Jose and New Jersey.

Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens (5-3-0) started the week off with a nice shutout win over Winnipeg before returning home to beat Columbus. The club finished off with a tough loss at home to the improved Nashville Predators. P.K. Subban leads the team in scoring with 10 points, while Carey Price has provided strong netminding. Montreal has scored 26 goals and given up a stingy 15.

10/15 Montreal 3 @Winnipeg 0

10/17 @Montreal 5 Columbus 3

10/19 Nashville 2 @Montreal 1

Trending: Up. The Canadiens have the firepower to claim a playoff spot, provided Price continues to keep the puck of his own net. After a bit of a slow start, the Habs reeled off four wins in a row before getting edged by the Predators. This week, Montreal welcomes a trio of Western Conference teams to the Bell Centre. The Oilers are a beatable foe, but Anaheim and San Jose will offer stiffer tests.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning (5-3-0) started the week off in fine form with solid home wins over the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild, but got blasted by the Bruins. Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are the team scoring leaders with 10 points apiece. Ben Bishop is looking like the answer to the team's troubles in goal. Tampa Bay has scored 26 goals while allowing 21.

10/15 @Tampa Bay 5 Los Angeles 1

10/17 @Tampa Bay 3 Minnesota 1

10/19 Boston 5 @Tampa Bay 0

Trending: Steady. Tampa Bay has been better than expected all season, but the wheels came off during the bad loss to the Bruins. The club gets four days off to get over it before the Blackhawks come to town. The Bolts end the week at home against the struggling Sabres. The Lightning have only played two road games so far, so they will need to prove they can be successful away from the Times Forum.

Ottawa Senators: The Senators (3-3-2) started the week off with a road win over Phoenix in overtime and a home win over New Jersey before a disappointing loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Jason Spezza leads the team with 8 points, including a hat trick against Phoenix, while veteran Craig Anderson continues to give the Sens solid goaltending. Ottawa has scored 21 goals while allowing 24.

10/15 Ottawa 4 @Phoenix 3 (OT)

10/17 @Ottawa 5 New Jersey 2

10/19 Edmonton 3 @Ottawa 1

Trending: Up slightly. The Senators have been a bit off disappointment so far this season, but the wins over the Coyotes and Devils seemed to have the club pointed in the right direction. The loss at home to the troubled Oilers was a set back and returned the team to the .500 mark. The Sens have a light work week with a tough roadie against Detroit and a very winnable home game versus Buffalo.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers (3-6-0) went 1-2 this week, dropping one-goal decisions to Nashville and Boston before squeaking out a 2-1 shootout win over a road weary Minnesota Wild club. Tomas Fleischmann has the team lead in points with 8. Rookie center Aleksander Barkov notched the tying goal against the Wild. Florida has scored 20 goals and given up a Conference-worst 32.

10/15 @Nashville 4 Florida 3

10/17 Boston 3 @Florida 2

10/19 @Florida 2 Minnesota 1 (SO)

Trending: Steady. The Panthers have been stuck on a depressing win one - lose three pattern so far this season. With Tim Thomas back and looking like his old self over the last five periods, and three games at home this week, including one against the pathetic Sabres, the Cats have a chance to break that disturbing trend. The team needs to start finding the back of the net more often or it's going to be another long season in Sunrise.

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres (1-8-1) finally got their first win of the year, but dropped three more games this week to remain among the NHL's worst. Cody Hodgson leads the team with 7 points, while Thomas Vanek has contributed 3 goals and 3 assists. Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth have kept things close, unfortunately, the Sabres offense is practically non-existent. Buffalo has scored a league-worst 13 goals while allowing 28.

10/14 Minnesota 2 @Buffalo 1

10/15 Buffalo 4 @ New York Islanders 3 (SO)

10/17 Vancouver 3 @Buffalo 0

10/19 Colorado 4 @Buffalo 2

Trending: Up (only because they won one). Little was expected of the Sabres this season, but not this. The team has already played ten games and only managed to score 13 goals, with four of those coming in the shootout win over the Islanders. It looks like the Sabres and Flyers will be battling it out to see who gets the best shot at picking first overall in the draft. It's time for GM Darcy Regier to ship out Vanek and Miller and start from scratch.

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