Welcome to the 2018-2019 season of the NHL! So far, the first month of the season has lived up to every single expectation. While star-packed teams have been proving their place in the league, weaker teams from the previous season have been surprising their fans with unexpected victories.
Each division is separated geographically into seven or eight different teams. Despite the fact that inter-division games occur, each team remains ranked within its own division. During the season, a total of 82 games take place. The games will take place all the way through April, keeping hockey fans at the edge of their seats.
Here’s an overview of the results of the first month by division.
Every year, this division is filled with lightning quick offenses and is always a close finish to win the division. The Pittsburgh Penguins are in first place through the first month with a record of 6-1-2. The Carolina Hurricanes are making a push in this division for the first time in a while, holding second place with a record of 6-4-1. Defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Washington Capitals, are not off to the most promising start, with a record of 5-3-2, putting them in fourth place at the moment.
This is the division with all the top dogs. The red hot Toronto Maple Leafs are lighting teams up being on top of the division with a record of 8-4-0. In second place, it’s the other blue and white team, the Tampa Bay Lightning with a record of 7-2-1. The team with the fourth worst record in the league last year, The Montreal Canadiens are currently third in the Atlantic.
After the first month, this is the best performing division, with most of its teams off to a flying start. Only two points separate first and fifth place. In first place, it is the Nashville Predators with an awesome record of 8-3-0. In second place, it is the high flying Colorado Avalanche and their red hot top line with a record of 7-3-2. Ironically, the Winnipeg Jets have managed to put themselves into the third place, despite the fact that their star scorer, Patrik Laine, is not performing with his usual intensity.
This division is off to a disappointing start, with most of its teams playing below 500. Last year’s first round matchup teams, the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights are currently at eighth and sixth place, respectively. As expected, the San Jose Sharks are currently at the top of the division, with the record of 6-3-2. The second place is occupied by the Vancouver Canucks, which was the second worst team in the whole Western Conference last year. They hold the record of 7-6-0. In third, it is Connor McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers with a record of 6-3-1.
Winners & Losers
Toronto Maple Leafs (8-4-0)
This team is just on fire at the moment scoring goals left and right. Imagine having John Tavares on your second line! I guarantee you, in every other team in the league he will be in their first line. They seem to have had no trouble scoring goals, and all they need, to be virtually unstoppable is to have Frederik Anderson step up his goaltending a little more. It will be interesting to see how Toronto plays without Auston Matthews as his shoulder injury will keep him sidelined all of November.
Colorado Avalanche (7-3-2)
I get envious watching this team play. They have so much heart, and give every little bit of energy in every shift. They have the hottest line in the league right now, Mikko Rantanen, (22-years-old,) leads the NHL in scoring with 21 points. Nathan MacKinnon (23-years-old) scored 18 points, and the captain, Gabriel Landeskog (25-years-old) with 16 points. For such a young line, they are performing like seasoned all-stars. This team is going to scare everyone they go up against this season, as long as their top line remains together.
Los Angeles Kings (3-7-1):
The Kings got off to their worst 10 game start since 1985 (2-7-1). This team’s weak point right now is their goaltending. Jonathan Quick is just not that same Quick we all remember from his Stanley Cup winning days. After being out for five games due to an injury, fans were hopeful that upon his arrival, Quick would come back better than ever, but to their disappointment, the athlete was injured once again, and has been out since. With Quick being out, all the slack goes on the backup, Jack Campbell. Campbell has gotten all three wins for the Kings so far this season. He is still adjusting to the starting role at the moment, but expect good things for the young goaltender. This team is just way too slow, they are currently the lowest scoring team in the league, due to the lack of consistency in their offense. The team needs to fix this situation, before the front office takes matters into their own hands.
Florida Panthers (2-4-3):
The Florida Panthers had high expectations from their fans, because they added a ‘sniper’ named Mike Hoffman from the Ottawa Senators. While, they are scoring goals, they can not manage to win games and finish them off when they have a lead. To be fair, since the beginning of the season they have been without their star goaltender Roberto Luongo, who is a proven netminder and knows how to close out a game properly. If this Florida team learns how to close out games with lockdown defense, they can do damage in the Atlantic soon.