Yes, we don’t do regular season hockey here. But we are having a heck of a regular season so far with the NHL locals. Here is where things stand:
Devils. In one of the more shocking developments this season, New Jersey has stormed out to a 19-4-0 record. The Devils’ 38 points are tied for the most in the NHL:. A franchise-record 13 game winning streak was the peak of this stretch, and after finishing with just 63 points last season, the Devilss have already surpassed 50% of that mark.
Things are looking up in Newark. Jack Hughes has inserted himself in the MVP race early on; his 26 points are tied for the team lead. For those who think this start by the Devils is a fluke, think again. New Jersey has won games in blowout fashion and as comeback kings. Their 5-3 victory over the Rangers earlier this week was a perfect example of their relentlessness. Down 2-0 early in the first period, the Devils tied the game up by the first intermission and then took over from there.
Islanders. The Isles sit right behind the Devils in the Metropolitan Division and are a nice early surprise after missing the playoffs last season. The trio of Matthew Barzal, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson lead on the offensive end. Barzal leads the team in points due to his ability to share the puck, despite just pouring in two goals of his own. The Isles have already put together solid win streaks of five and four games. Playing their next three contests in Belmont should be advantageous in picking up some points before two upcoming West Coast road trips.
Rangers. The Rangers’ 11-9-4 record looks bad, but they should not be written off yet. Adam Fox, Artemi Panarin, and Mika Zibanejad are all tied for the team lead with 25 points, with Chris Kreider not far behind. These guys were at the core of last season’s playoff run and their mere presence on the roster is enough reason to believe this Rangers squad still has a lot left in the tank still. The big issue has been the unexpected struggles of Igor Shesterkin in goal. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner is currently 13th in goals allowed per game.
The Devils have to be taken seriously as a Stanley Cup contender due to their historic start. The Rangers were contenders themselves last year and clearly have the experience to make another run if they get right. As for the Islanders, they’ve shown they can stick around with the league’s best and are also just two years removed from forcing a Game 7 in the cup semifinal round. The region has three good NHL teams for the first time in a long time.
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