clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Atlantic Division Weekly: Joe Thornton is going to win a cup

The Florida Panthers, his new squad, are currently undefeated.

Oct 25, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Frank Vatrano (77) celebrates his goal against the Arizona Coyotes with center Joe Thornton (19) during the second period at FLA Live Arena. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this week was a bit rough for the San Jose Sharks. If you were too busy worrying about the Sharks losing and decided to swear off hockey for the week, we respect you.

Here is how the Atlantic Division shaped up this week. Spoiler alert: Jumbo Joe’s new team is red hot.

Boston Bruins (3-3-0)

Sure, the Sharks got beat by the Boston Bruins on Sunday (we won’t remind you of the details), but that was the only good thing that happened to the Bruins this week. They lost the rest of their games, starting out with a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. The lone Bruins goal was scored by Charlie Coyle.

Things continued to go downhill for the Bs, as they were shut out 3-0 by the Carolina Hurricanes (a bunch of jerks indeed). That was it for the Bruins. A less than stellar week.

Forwards Anton Blidh (upper-body) and Craig Smith (undisclosed) were missing from Thursday’s game against the ‘Canes. Nick Foligno, who was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 20 with an upper-body injury has yet to return. The Bruins are struggling to score goals, with just 15 compared to the league average of 21. They’re getting only slightly outscored on the whole, with 18 total goals-against, but it’s shaken out to a perfectly average season so far.

Buffalo Sabres (5-1-1)

Yes, the Buffalo Sabres are, believe it or not, still good. Sure, they started their week out with a 2-1 loss in overtime to the New Jersey Devils, but the rest of the week was strong. They beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Monday. Victor Olofsson scored two goals, while Robert Hagg, Drake Caggiula and Vinnie Hinostroza each added one of their own.

The team wrapped up their week in Anaheim, beating the Ducks 4-3 in overtime. Rasmus Asplun scored his second goal of the night with 43 seconds left in overtime, winning the game for the Sabres.

Their success continues to baffle, with five players on injured reserve, with more than half of the players out long-term. A collective save percentage of .948 certainly doesn’t hurt, with Craig Anderson getting five starts and Dustin Tokarski with two. The top-scorers are easily some of the coolest names in the league, featuring Victor Olofsson (4 goals, 4 assists), Zemgus Girgensons (3 goals, 3 assists) and Rasmus Asplund (3 goals, 2 assists).

Detroit Red Wings (4-2-2)

The Red Wings had a rough start to their week, losing 6-1 to the Hurricanes. The lone goal for Detroit was scored by Dylan Larkin, so at least they got something. The team bounced back, scoring six goals of their own against the Chicago Blackhawks. They won that game 6-3, thanks in part to Lucas Raymond earning himself a hat trick.

Detroit kept their groove going, defeating the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Wednesday. Then came the Panthers. After being down during the first period, the Red Wings were able to come back and force overtime. They lost 3-2, but put in a good effort and were rewarded with a loser point.

Tyler Bertuzzi continues to top the team in scoring with 6 goals and 3 assists. Nineteen total players have made it onto the scoresheet, making the Red Wings an offensive threat for the first time in years. They’re not out of the woods yet though, as the goaltending’s combined .909 save percentage and 2.96 goals-against average will keep the team humble.

Florida Panthers (8-0-0)

The Panthers had another great week, starting off with a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. They had another big game against the Arizona Coyotes, winning 5-3. None other than Joe Thornton netted his first goal of the season.

Then came the Bruins, who they beat 4-1. Next up were the Red Wings, who they were able to beat in overtime. The Panthers are undefeated. Is Joe Thronton going to win the cup?

Rookie forward Anton Lundell suffered an undisclosed injury against the Coyotes on Monday and has been out since. The 20-year-old center had 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in five games prior to the injury.

Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville resigned this week, after his role in covering up the 2010 sexual assault of player Kyle Beach was made public in an investigation into the Chicago Blackhawks.

Montreal Canadiens (2-6-0)

I know Sharks fans do not want to hear about the Montreal Canadiens this week, but unfortunately, I have to tell you how their week went. It started with a 6-1 victory over the Red Wings. Mathieu Perreault had a hat trick, while the other goals were scored by Christian Dvorak, Ben Chiarot and Mike Hoffman.

The Seattle Kraken beat them 5-1 on Tuesday. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, since they are in the same division as the Sharks, but anyone putting a beating to the Habs this week is welcomed. The only Montreal goal was scored by Hoffman. You know how it went when they saw the Sharks, I won’t make you relive it.

Eight games into the season and only three Montreal players have scored more than one goal (Hoffman, Perreault and Jonathan Drouin), while just eight players have three or more points. They’ve gotten out-scored 25-15 on the season, with seven of their goals-for coming this week, thanks to the four-goal performance in San Jose, as well as the six goals against Detroit.

Ottawa Senators (3-4-0)

The Ottawa Senators started their week off with a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. Things got worse when they saw the Capitals, who beat them in a high-scoring affair. The final score was 7-5 in favor of the Caps, but Drake Batherson netted a hat trick for Ottawa, so that is at least something.

Next came Joe Pavelski and his Dallas Stars on Friday night. Josh Norris gave the Senators the lead early with a pair of goals. The score ended 4-1 in Ottawa’s favor, but Pavs had the only goal for Dallas. I had to include that part.

Batherson and Norris are leading the Sickos offensively, but their depth is doing everything except score. Dylan Gambrell made his debut with Senators against the Stars last night. He took 16 shifts, laying one hit and one block. He went scoreless, but won seven of his nine faceoffs.

Tampa Bay Lightning (4-3-1)

The reigning Stanley Cup champions are having a bit of a mediocre start to their season. They currently sit fourth in their division’s standings. Sure, it’s early, but given the last few years they’ve had, I think it’s fair to judge them early. Y’all with me?

Their week went like this. They lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. They hit the road and got stomped in their next game against the Sabres on Monday. Back on their feet against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, they won 5-1. Deciding they liked that final score, the team beat the Coyotes 5-1 on Thursday for the season’s first home win.

Despite the slow overall start, the usual suspects in Tampa are having their way with opposing netminders. Steven Stamkos has 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists), Killorn has 9 (6 goals, 3 assists) and Victor Hedman has post 8 points, all assists. Special teams just aren’t clicking for the Bolts yet, though, with an anemic 15.38 percent success rate on the power play.

Toronto Maple Leafs (3-4-1)

Well, Saturday was not a good day to be a Leafs fan, falling 7-1 to the Penguins the night after losing to the Sharks. They followed that up with a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Monday. Tough start, eh? Anyway, they got it together on Wednesday against the Blackhawks, but their only win of the week came in overtime. Maybe Morgan Reilly is rethinking that eight-year contract he signed this week?

The roster is fairly healthy, so what’s up with Toronto? Their goal differential isn’t far off of Montreal’s, getting outscored 25-16 over eight games played. The power play sits at a meek 12 percent conversion, with three goals over 25 opportunities. The Leafs are shooting at just 5.8 percent, well below current league average of 9.4 percent while putting up about a league-average number of shots, so eventually more of those are going to go in.

Ten players have netted a goal for Toronto, but no player has more than three goals, and only four players have put up more than one goal. William Nylander (29 shots, 6 points) and John Tavares (28 shots, 4 points) lead the team in scoring.