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Atlantic Division Update: Auston Matthews’ scoring slump

The Leafs aren’t relying on Matthews anymore

NHL: Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs fell to the Boston Bruins this week. When the puck was passed to Auston Matthews, he failed to shoot. The Maple Leafs star has one goal in his last nine appearances, a result we’ve grown used to seeing since his return from the injured reserve list. The Leafs have more offensive power now and rely on Matthews less.

First in the Atlantic: Tampa Bay Lightning

Games played: 46

Points leader: Nikita Kucherov

The Tampa Bay Lightning don’t just lead the Atlantic Division, they also lead the entire league. They sit happily at the top of both tables with 72 points, a whole 16 more than the Bruins have. This team has been unstoppable this season until the New York Islanders put them in their place this weekend. The Islanders beat them 5-1, putting 27 shots on Andrei Vasilevskiy. It should be mentioned that Vasilevskiy was pulled not once, not twice, but three times in the final ten minutes of the game. I truly have no idea what that was all about.

Second in the Atlantic: Toronto Maple Leafs

Games played: 44

Points leader: Mitch Marner

With Auston Matthew’s scoring slump, the Leafs continue to rely on key pieces of their lineup like Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and Morgan Rielly; who all sit above Matthews in points produced. The Leafs lost to our Bruins, but they were also shutout by the Nashville Predators this week. They got in one win over the New Jersey Devils, but fell flat otherwise. Goaltending has been an issue when they lost Fredrick Andersen to injury. Andersen will make his return between the pipes today for the Leafs when they face the Colorado Avalanche.

Third in the Atlantic: Your Boston Bruins!

Games played: 45

Points leader: David Pastrnak

The Bruins have been playing great hockey so far in 2019. Aside from a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, they’ve won every game they’ve played in 2019. They shutout the Minnesota Wild 4-0 this week, where Tuukka Rask made all 24 shots the Wild threw on net. Sean Kuraly has stepped up, making an impact on the ice with every game. It’s been a fun 2019 for our team so far. They face the Montreal Canadiens today. What would make 2019 even more fun? A big ole’ win over the Habs.

Fourth in the Atlantic: Montreal Canadiens

Games played: 46

Points leader: Max Domi

The Habs are in a weird place. They win some games and then lose others. They’re not very consistent as of late, so let’s cheers to that. They just shutout the Colorado Avalanche 3-0. Carey Price made 28 saves. Shea Webber’s return to the lineup has made an instant impact, making Habs fans think they can go all the way. Well, I guess it is good to stay positive and have dreams, right? Old friend Claud Julian intends to keep the winning Habs lineup intact as they face the Bruins tonight. This lineup won’t be winning for long, right?

Fifth in the Atlantic: Buffalo Sabres

Games played: 45

Points leader: Jack Eichel

The Buffalo Sabres have had a hell of a season but are now finding themselves sinking in the standings. It’s been a fight for wins as of late. They either find themselves without a chance, like the 4-1 loss the St. Louis Blues hand delivered them, or failing to bounce back from being a goal down, like the 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers. Currently, they’re out of a wild card spot and the Montreal Canadiens are benefitting from it. It’s time we start rooting for Buffalo, guys.

Sixth in the Atlantic: Florida Panthers

Games played: 44

Points leader: Jonathan Huberdeau

The Panthers are so weird. I don’t know what other word I can use to describe them. They hold on in games against teams like the Calgary Flames (a 4-3 Florida loss) but then lose to teams like the Vancouver Canucks (a 5-1 Florida loss). They Panthers have lost their last six games. They made a transaction this week, sending Alex Petrovic to the Edmonton Oilers for Chris Wideman. They’re looking for anything to turn their luck around and they’re going to have to find that luck soon. Things aren’t looking so hot for the Panthers.

Seventh in the Atlantic: Detroit Red Wings

Games played: 47

Points leader: Dylan Larkin

Things have been ugly for the Detroit Red Wings, but they did pull off a pretty impressive win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. The 5-2 victory saw a Tyler Bertuzzi hat trick, the first of his career, while Thomas Vanek had a pair of goals. Jimmy Howard was pretty good in net, saving 16 shots. All-in-all, the Red Wings can’t complain. The Wild on the other hand said this was the worst game they’ve ever played. Oh well, Red Wings finally did something right.

Eighth in the Atlantic: Ottawa Senators

Games played: 46

Points leader: Mark Stone

The Ottawa Senators are still in last place, but they came away with two wins from their California road trip. Sure, their wins came over the struggling Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, but wins are wins! The 2-1 win over the Ducks came in OT, while they beat the Kings 4-1 in regulation. Chris Tierney was probably channeling the LA/San Jose rivalry from his former club when he scored two goals on Jonathan Quick. They lost 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks, though. Regardless, you have to give them some credit on this road trip.