By: Josh Chodor
What is wrong in Anaheim?
The Ducks, who had led the Western Conference in points each of the last two seasons, sit tied for last in the entire league. The problem, simply put, has been offense. The big names: Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Ryan Kesler have scored no combined goals. Losses to the lowly Avalanche and Coyotes signify Anaheim’s early season struggles. Meanwhile, goaltending, oft the concern for the Ducks, has been the strong suit so far. Fredrik Andersen, coming off another postseason collapse, has a stellar 2.05 GAA, but is only playing to a 1-5-2 clip.
The strongest division in the NHL is once again the Central, a division which saw each of its teams finish with over 90 points last year. Dallas, widely regarded as a disappointment last season, has surged out of the gate and leads the Western Conference. The addition of Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya has helped immensely, and the goaltending tandem of Antti Niemi and Keri Lehtonen has proved to work for Head Coach Lindy Ruff. The Blues, Wild, Predators, Jets, and Blackhawks, each playoff teams from a year ago, are separated by only three points. Look for a back and forth battle to take place over the next few months.
Same Old Story in the East, Minus One
Four of last years top five Eastern Conference teams are once again in playoff position, with the Canadiens, Rangers, Islanders, and Capitals leading the conference in points. The Habs, again led by MVP goalie Carey Price, came out blazing and lead the entire league with 23 points, holding a nine-point division lead. The Rangers, reigning President’s Trophy winners, lead the Metro early, holding off the streaky Isles and Caps. Absent from the top four is last year’s Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay. The Lightning, playing to a 3-5-2 clip in their last 10 games, look to improve as the season goes on.