Russ Miller takes a look at the Southeast Division.
After only a dozen or so games, it is clear to this author that there are only two teams that are going to compete for the title of division winner in what has perennially been the worst division in the NHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes, aka the Natural Disasters, will battle it out all season to see who will snag that third seed in the East. The rest of the teams in this division are simply disasters.
Tampa Bay has lost four in a row and are a single point behind Carolina for first in the division. The Lightning struck early and often in winning six of their first seven games, recording 37 goals for (5.28 per game) and only 15 goals against (2.14 per game).
Unfortunately, in their last four games, Tampa has scored only six goals (1.5 per game) while allowing 14 goals against (3.50 per game). Anders Lindback and Mathieu Garon have combined for a 0.876 save percentage in the last four contests. Clearly, that’s not good enough, but it doesn’t all fall on the goaltenders. If you can only muster a mere 1.5 goals per contest, you aren’t going to win very many games, unless you play airtight defensively.
Below is an updated table of the SouthLeast Division: