I’m not sure where I’m going with this, exactly, but I’m trying to find a silver lining in the Pens’ loss against the Bruins tonight. If there’s one thing that’s mildly reassuring about the Penguins’ surprisingly mediocre start, it’s that two other teams in their division, the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils, have been even worse. Actually, much worse. Here’s a glance at the goal differentials so far in the Atlantic division:
The Flyers are a flat-out good team, but the Pens actually have a better goal differential than every other team in the division. The Islanders and Devils, meanwhile, have easily the two worst goal differentials in the entire NHL – the Oilers are the only other team worse than -10. New Jersey’s position in the division is the exact reverse from where they were a year ago, when they won the division with 103 points.
Things do indeed look bad for the Devils, who have lost Zach Parise for three months, but it’s still unclear what to make of the fact that the Islanders and Devils have been so bad. Should the Penguins be excited that they have these two teams on their schedule nine more times, mostly down the stretch? Or should they merely feel glad that a former top division rival has been even worse this season than they have? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure – there’s a ton of hockey left to play, and these standings probably don’t look the way they will in a few months.