Heading into the NHL’s quarter mark, we’re beginning to see which teams are showing promise. While a hot start doesn’t always equal a playoff berth or post-season success, it certainly helps a teams’ case. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season this far is the Vegas Golden Knights. Certainly no one expected to the NHL’s newest expansion team to come out of the gate charging with 21 points to their name already. The Golden Knights are just one of many interesting story lines that have broken out during the 2017-18 NHL season. With that in mind, we shift gears to the NHL’s Easter Conference and will take stock in where things currently stand.
At the top of the Eastern Conference sit the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning have come out strong with a league-best 30 points. Tampa Bay has only lost two games outright in their first 18 contests. If they can keep up this torrid pace, they would end up with over 120 points to end the year.
Right behind the Lightning are the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs, sitting with 24 points a piece. Ottawa, Columbus, and Washington are right behind, each with 21 points. If Washington wants to turn things around and claim the President’s Trophy again, they’ll need to up their pace. They aren’t going to catch Tampa Bay at this rate, although Washington may benefit from having less pressure during the post-season. Clinching the East’s top seed hasn’t worked out well for them in the past.
In 7th place sit the Penguins, who don’t quite look like defending back-to-back champions just yet. Still, after playing 82 games plus a full slate in the playoffs for two years in a row, it’s natural that the Penguins may be off to a slow start. And finally, clinging to the last playoff spot are the New York Islanders. New York has 20 points, tying them with New York’s other team, the Rangers. These two rivals are going to be duking it out for the 8th seed for quite some time. Which team will ultimately prevail? Perhaps you should check out the NHL odds for Islanders games.
As you can see, it’s been an eventful start to the NHL season and there’s more excitement ahead!