In this week’s Eastern Edge, we continue analyzing the big storylines from around the Eastern Conference. We began our journey with observations from Boston to New Jersey in last week’s article. I know I promised that we’d close out the series this week with thoughts on teams from New York to Washington, but I got a little carried away and only made it to Philadelphia. So, if there’s any news in Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto or Washington that you want me to discuss next week, please DM me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza!
New York Islanders
No Man is an Island
After an outstanding performance last season that saw them finish fifth in league standings, most predicted the Islanders to regress this year – I guess the team missed the memo. New York has won 18 of their first 25 games and sit fourth in the league despite playing fewer games than the teams around them. They’ve maintained the strong defensive play that made them so successful last season, allowing just 2.36 goals per game – only Boston and Arizona have been better defensively. It’s interesting to note that teams with a 1A/1B goaltending situation have done a good job of keeping the puck out of the net. Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper have shared the net in Arizona while Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask have split time in Boston. Continuing the theme, Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov have shared the net pretty equally and both have performed pretty well thanks to the strong defensive system that coach Barry Trotz has implemented. Greiss sports an impressive 10-2 record, alongside a 2.10 GAA and .931 SV%. Varlamov is 8-3-2 with a 2.39 GAA and .922 SV%.
As you would expect, Mathew Barzal leads the team in scoring with 23 points in 25 games. More surprisingly, Brock Nelson sits second with 20 points in 25 games, while