The Flyers are stuck somewhere between last place and a playoff spot. The next five games, all home, will be the final telling on whether or not this is a playoff team, or a team destined to draft high.
For the New York Islanders, home hasn't been very sweet, but somebody has been adding some sugar. The Isles, in the midst of a seven game home stand, have points in their last three games, all of which have been on home ice. Even better, they have fought through some adversity to earn these points.
One of the many highlights from Thursday's thrilling 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers was a penalty kill in the third period.
No, you didn't read that wrong. The Flyers killing of a 5-on-3 power play that included a four-minute double minor for high sticking and a two-minute penalty for hooking turned out to be the ultimate seal of Philadelphia's first victory of the 2013 season.
(Photo: Max Talbot and Rick Nash fight for the puck. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The 2013 NHL season is no longer an 82 game marathon, but instead is a 48 game dash to the finish line.
Will teams that had multiple players skating in Europe fair better? Will veteran squads win because they will have fresh legs all season long? Only the next few months will tell.
Here are my Eastern Conference power rankings.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins – A healthyEvgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will lead Pittsburgh deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The addition of veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun gives Coach Dan Bylsma a solid option if Marc-Andre Fleury falters.
The NHL is still in the midst of a lockout due to a CBA dispute between the NHL and the NHLPA. There have been rumors that a season could start around the beginning of December, TCL's Shane Blackburn provides a preview of the Eastern Conference should the lockout end. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
The recent news of Lubomir Visnovsky filing a grievance with the NHLPA has Islander fans hanging their heads in despair. He has filed a grievance in an attempt to uncover a “No Trade Clause” that wasn’t honored at the time of the trade. It’s hard to decide if the actual news was the most painful or the fact that the Rangers netted Rick Nash for a bag of sweet tarts and a draft pick in a similar time frame. (Photo Credit, clydeorama/Flickr)
For playing under the same city name, the Rangers and Islanders could not be more different at the moment. Consistently, the Rangers keep improving on an already well stocked roster. They are able to speed up the process of rebuilding with their young players by pairing them with proven and perennial All Stars. It is a formula that leaves the Islanders in the dust.
In terms of young, raw talent the Islanders have the edge. However, an unproven stock- pile of draft picks does not win many games. The Rangers are able to introduce young players into the fold while adding great players in their prime.
It is like the Islanders rebuild plan but on steroids.