All seems to be back to normal in the Atlantic with Pittsburgh scoring goals and winning games while the New York Islanders sit at the bottom of the pile.
What? The Islanders are in first place? When did that happen?
The story so far this season in the Atlantic Division is not the slumping Devils or the mediocre play of the Rangers and Flyers but the surprisingly consistent first place Islanders.
Through seven games the only regulation time loss came from a hard fought 2-1 game against the great Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. Not a bad loss at all. The best part of this Islander team is that they’re getting scoring from everyone not just one or two players.
Last season it seemed that John Tavares was the only one scoring goals and that just was not enough. This season PA Parenteau leads the team with seven points while five other players are tied with six.
After missing the first three games due to injury, Tavares returned to the lineup and has posted four points (2 G, 2 A) to start the season off well and jump right back into the swing of things. Everyone expects big things from Tavares this season and a supporting cast consisting of Parenteau, Blake Comeau, PA Parenteau, Doug Weight, Frans Neilsen and Matt Moulson will really make things easier for the young star to shine on the normally dim Islanders.
Goaltenders Rick DiPietro and Dwayne Roloson are showing that they can handle their roles and so far splitting time has not affected Rick, in fact it’s probably helping him sharpen his skills and shake off the rust from his long time off.
The Islanders’ start to the season has shown they are not satisfied with last season’s outcome and are determined to change things this year. I can’t say that they will still be on top at mid-season but if they keep up the intensity of their play I can see them battling all season for a playoff spot.
The Penguins are beginning to gel and they’re getting scoring from everyone including their defense. The last thing opponents need is for players other than Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to start scoring. It’s hard enough to stop those two. This is the team you can expect to finish first in the Atlantic with the other four looking to slide into the seventh or eighth spot in the East.