Around the Northeast division

With about 12 games played into the 2009-2010 season, it’s time to look at the rankings in the Northeast division

Northeast GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Road L10
Buffalo 11 8 2 1 17 33 24 4-1-1 4-1-0 8-2-0
Ottawa 12 6 4 2 14 37 37 3-2-2 3-2-0 5-3-2
Montreal 14 7 7 0 14 38 45 5-2-0 2-5-0 5-5-0
Boston 13 6 6 1 13 33 35 4-4-0 2-2-1 5-4-1
Toronto 12 1 7 4 6 30 50 0-4-1 1-3-3 1-6-3

The real surprise here is the Buffalo Sabres who lead the division
with 17 points in only 11 games. Ryan Miller has been stellar so far
this year with eight wins and only one loss. His 1.86 GAA and .940 save
percentage ranks his 2nd and 1st respectively among NHL goaltenders.
Connolly, Pominville and Roy are the scoring leaders for the Sabres,
while rookie defenseman Tyler Myers has been impressive with five
points and a +7 ratio in 11 games.

In Ottawa, the Senators have been quite inconsistent this season,
showing great efforts at times and looking invisible at other times.
Newcomers Alex Kovalev (5 points in 11 games) and Jonathan Cheechoo (2
points in 11 games) have been big deceptions so far, while their
defensive corps has seen pivotal players suffer injuries. Filip Kuba
missed eight games earlier this season, while Anton Volchenkov is
currently sidelined with an injured right elbow. On the other hand,
Daniel Alfredsson has been magical this season with 16 points (5 goals
and 11 assists) and Mike Fisher has raised his game as he was supposed
to do a few years ago with 11 points (5 goals and 6 assists) in 12
games.

The Montreal Canadiens have been two different teams at home (5-2)
and on the road (2-5). They have been outplayed, outshot and outscored
by a wide margin away from the Bell Centre, where they have shown more
energy, determination and conviction. Carey Price has been a great
disappointment for Jacques Martin and that’s why Jaroslav Halak has
seen most of the action lately. On the offense, Micheal Cammalleri and
Tomas Plekanec have pulled the team with 13 points apiece in 14 games.
Glen Metropolit has been a pleasant surprise with 8 points in only 8
games. On the defense, Andrei Markov’s injury has left a gaping hole on
the blue line that Roman Hamrlik, Jaro Spacek and newcomer M-A Bergeron
have had problems filling.

In Bee Town, the injury bug has hit the Bruins very hard this
season, with Milan Lucic missing seven of the Bruins’ 13 games, and
Marc Savard missing the last six games with an injured ankle. Both
players are still several weeks away from returning into action.
Boston’s lack of scoring is obvious as Patrice Bergeron being their
leader scorer with only 8 points in 13 games. Players like David
Krejci, Dennis Wideman, Mark Recchi and Zdeno Chara have to improve
their game to put the Bruins back on track before it’s too late.

Finally in TO, the Leafs have had problems keeping pucks out of
their net from the beginning of the season. They are dead last in the
NHL with 50 goals allowed in 12 games. Vesa Toskala has been awful
while Jonas Gustavsson has been good, but not enough. Offensively,
Tomas Kaberle has been phenomenal with 17 points in 12 games, while
Grabovski and Hagman have regularly been on the scoresheet with 10
points and 9 points respectively. On the other hand, Francois
Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek have been mediocre at best. Especially
Komisarek who’s been held pointless in 12 games. He is also a team
worse -9, while being very undisciplined with 31 penalty minutes. The
Leafs hope to turn it around as they expect Phil Kessel’s return this
week.

Tendencies:

Look for the Sabres to lose a few more games in the upcoming weeks
as they have 4 back-to-back games in November against tough opponents
(BOS, PHI, OTT, CGY).
The Bruins will still have problems scoring goals unless they find
secondary scoring from guys like Marchand, Wheeler and Ryder, until
Savard and Lucic return.
The Senators should gain a few positions as they play 9 of their 12 November games at home where they generally have success.
The Canadiens will likely play for .500 until their revamped line-up starts to gel together, which usually takes 20 games.
Finally, the Leafs will win more games because they have lost many
close games, and with Kessel’s addition they should get more offense to
help them with close match-ups.

In your opinion, which team will lead the division after about 25 games? Buffalo? Boston? Ottawa?