Well here we are, about a month after my first blog where I pissed everyone off by saying the Flames are the team to beat in the Pacific Division (how’s that prediction looking Sharks fans?). Now we take a look at the Atlantic where I plan to piss off all Habs and Leafs fans. Of course this comes naturally for me considering I’m a Bruins fan who licks faces. The big question here though is which fan-base do I target first? I think we will start with the Habs.
So, this is going to hurt me more than you all think but I actually now believe the Habs could potentially grab a wildcard spot this year. What the hell am I thinking complimenting that team you may ask? Well, it’s kind of simple; they seem to all be on board with Julien’s game plan and with Price playing like we know he can, they have already made heads turn early in this season. The Canadiens don’t really have a true “superstar” outside of Price but they have a pretty special talent in Kotkaniemi who had a great pre-season which could translate into a solid rookie year. Honorable mention should go out to the Sabres, who much like the Habs could surprise some people and fight for a wildcard spot. Eichel’s change to #9 and gaining the C has appeared to give him a spark to start the season being a PPG player 4 games in.
Following the Habs we’ll move on to the Lightning and yikes they aren’t having a good start to this season having only scored 2 goals in two games. Furthermore, neither Stamkos or Kucherov have even tallied a single point. This is in stark contrast to last year when the two combined for 186 points on the year. I know this is an early sample size, however it should be something to keep an eye on as the season continues. Sharing the Florida based early season struggles is the Panthers, who are actually sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic. This is shocking to me because I have them pinned to actually place 4th in the Atlantic this year, but again it’s early in the season so they could still prove me right.
Next up, are probably the two worst teams in the NHL right now, the Sens and Wings. Granted, the Senators are proving to be a scrappy looking team who seem to like they like the idea of playing spoiler. The same can’t be said for the Red Wings who seem to be unable to get out of their own way. Their goaltending appears to be the biggest issue for them (still) and I don’t see the Wings making any kind of playoff appearance over the next couple seasons.
So well now we are here left with the Leafs and the Bruins. I guess I’ll start off with the Leafs. After being called the Maple Laughs for the past 20 seasons they finally have assembled a team that, on paper, is worthy of a Cup run. Matthews is on an absolute tear right now leading the league in goals. The Leafs currently hold the 4 of the 5 leading scorers in the NHL with Matthews, Tavares, Marner, and Reilly. They are an offensive powerhouse and their powerplay is mesmerizing. Honestly, as a fan of hockey the Leafs are flat out exciting to watch. With all of these fantastic offensive stats it’s hard even for me to say they are not the favorite in the Atlantic Division… but this is an “unpopular opinion” series so let’s piss Leafs fans off!
The team to beat is none other than THE BOSTON BRUINS! Did you all hear that? That was the collective heads of every Leafs fan exploding in rage. The Bruins already showed that even going against a high powered offense like the Leafs, they can and will exploit their weaknesses which is defense. The Leafs are great up front but highly suspect in their end still. Their best D-man is Reilly and we all saw DeBrusk absolutely embarrass Jake Gardiner last year in Game 7. The Bruins have the team to exploit the Leafs defense and they have done so multiple times in the past. Everyone had written off the Bruins for their lack of “big splashes” during free agency but when you look at their lineup they never needed to make a big move. The depth is still their at forward and I’d argue they have the best top 6 D pairings in the East. They are a young team and no one can deny that the Marchand, Bergeron and Pasta line was the best line in hockey last year and seems to be picking up where they left off last year, currently lighting it up with 31 points combined in the last 4 games.
In the end, I still feel like the Bruins finish in either 2nd or 3rd for the regular season but don’t be surprised if they make a strong playoff push this season and embarrass the Leafs… once again.
October 13, 2018
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