Maybe a strong finish is worth something after all.
In the final third of every NHL season, some team previously thought to be completely out of the playoff chase suddenly starts playing .600 hockey, only to inevitably fall just shy of a post-season berth.
Usually it’s Florida. Last year, it was Ottawa. And Florida.
Typically the late-season surge does nothing but create unrealistic expectations for the following year. The Sens, however, are off to a nice start, sitting atop a Northeast Division that’s going to be extremely weak if Boston doesn’t get it together soon.
Pascal Leclaire has done the job in goal, captain Daniel Alfredsson is leading the way with three goals and nine points in seven games and the team is killing 93.1 percent of the penalties it’s assessed, good for the second-best mark in the league.
The Sens still need more production from top center Jason Spezza, but at least the entire team isn’t procrastinating this time around.
Old newcomer Jay McKee forms nice 'D' pair with young Alex Goligoski
Nice to see a revived Wade Redden on the blueline
Got their fifth win on Oct. 17; last season, that came on Nov. 5
Did you catch Cristobal Huet's incredible hiccup?
Matt Duchene gets first NHL goal versus Detroit, then gets welcome news he is staying with the big club all year
Brendan Morrison is going to win somebody a hockey pool
Big Brian McGrattan records a Gordie Howe hat trick versus Vancouver
Getting some solid play on the back end from longtime AHLer Matt Carkner
Posted four or more goals in four of five games
Have been outscored 9-4 in third periods
Eight games and just one assist for Ryane Clowe
Phoenix has best team GAA at 1.43, thanks largely to Ilya Bryzgalov
Seems bizarre to contemplate, but this team could finish fourth in the Central
Best 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio in the league at 2.4
Captain Brenden Morrow has five goals, eight points after spending much of last season on the shelf
Martin Brodeur can tie Terry Sawchuk's all-time shutout record (103) Thursday in Madison Square Garden
Vets Keith Tkachuk, Andy McDonald and Paul Kariya carrying the offensive load early, but don't forget young Erik Johnson's six assists in six games
Gilbert Brule finally showing signs of a breakthrough with four goals and seven points in seven games
Losing Milan Lucic to a broken finger won't help middling early-season start
Need to straighten out streaky results
After filling the Ducks' hole at No. 2 center last year, Andrew Ebbett was placed on waivers and picked up by Chicago
Mason Raymond finally using that terrific speed to cut hard to the net
Six assists, but no goals through seven games for Vincent Lecavalier
Six 5-on-5 goals is worst total in the league
In desperate need of offense; have just 14 goals in seven games, seven of which came in one tilt
Good for one really bad period a game
Central Division's lone soft touch right now
Matt Moulson starts his Isles career with four goals and seven points through six games
Injuries piling up; how much can Chuck Kobasew help?
Winless in seven, Leafs now hit the road for five straight
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.
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