After around 50 games from the NHL regular season, one of the divisions is catching on fire. Only two points separate the first to the third-placed in the Atlantic Division.
This is such a difference for the other three, where the gap between the first and third is at least eight points. For example, in the Metropolitan Division, Carolina Hurricanes (1) have 79, and New York Rangers (3) have 71.
In the Central on the West, the difference is almost 20 points – the highest in all the league. Colorado Avalanche (1) has 84, and Minnesota Wild (3) has 65. In the Pacific, Calgary Flames (1) have 70, while Vegas Golden Knights (3) have 64.
These numbers show the Atlantic Division is, by far, the tighter one. The first-place Tampa Bay Lightning has 76, while the second, Florida Panthers, have 75, and the third, Toronto Maple Leafs, have 74. Even being the better, Tampa still has one more advantage since the franchise has fewer games than the rival.
Just like the fourth-placed in the Atlantic has 68 points, the three teams ahead may not have difficulty advancing to the playoffs.
In another good regular season, the Lightning certainly is one of the favorites for the Stanley Cup title. They are coming from a back-to-back championship, after defeating Dallas Stars and Montréal Canadiens. Now the franchise will try their third in a row.
Besides the best record in the Division, Tampa still has the best streak in all the league, with five straight wins, beating Arizona Coyotes, New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, and Ottawa Senators. The next challenge will be at home again, on Thursday 3, against Pittsburgh Penguins. Tampa Bay Lightning is the favorite for the win on Bovada, with -170 odds.
As Boston, Tampa has the best defense in the Division, with 146 goals against, and the good results at home or away, is strength from Florida’s team, with 18 and 17 victories, respectively.
Talking about Florida, the Panthers are also making a great season, but they don’t pass by a good moment. With three losses in a row against Nashville, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Edmonton, and all of them at home.
On Thursday, in the same situation, Florida will have the chance to overcome this moment, defeating Ottawa. The franchise bets in their incredible offense to defeat the rival, with 218 goals in 53 games, resulting in more than four per game and the best record in the NHL. On Bovada, Florida Panthers is the favorite for the victory.
The Canadien team was coming from three straight wins (Minnesota, Detroit, and Washington) and had the chance to overcome the Panther in the Division. Still, they fell for the underdog Buffalo Sabres by 5 – 1 on Wednesday 2.
The franchise will try to recover on Saturday 5 when they will play against Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Arena again.