The story in the Western Conference is how long the Wild can hold out before their own even strength play does them in and how long it takes Robert Luongo and Cory Schneider to bounce back and take the Canucks to the top of the standings.
In the Eastern Conference, the primary non-Crosby storyline is Bruce Boudreau's Capitals - supposedly a team divided, a room divided, filled with players who have tuned Boudreau out and no longer want to play for the coach. And there are those Penguins, playing incredible hockey without the best player in the world.
As I did with the Western Conference teams, I'll look at Fenwick tied and even strength save percentage in an effort to separate the wheat from the chaff.
*Data accurate as of 11/20/2011
- The Penguins are really good and they're about to get much, much better. Even without Sidney Crosby, they've dominated even strength play.
- Bruce Boudreau may be on everyone's hot seat, but the Capitals' skaters have been quite good with the score tied.
- The Lightning have been dominant in their 1-3-1 at...wait a second. Tampa is getting the puck fed to them at even strength. Maybe that 1-3-1 isn't all it's cracked up to be.
- The Bruins' slow start in the standings has largely hidden how good that team is. They should win the Northeast in a walk.
- Two things I was wrong about: the Panthers are good thus far, but they should be, considering the enormous amount of long-term commitments Dale Tallon made; the Islanders aren't very good at all. I thought they would be the surprise of the east this year, instead, they're the same old Islanders thus far.
- The Rangers should be better than .453 while tied. Whether that's Marc Staal's absence or there are deeper issues in New York are yet to be seen. But if they keep that level of play up going forward, they won't get close to the playoffs.
|Team||EV Sv Pct. Tied||EV Sv Pct|
Data courtesy timeonice.com and the irreverent Vic Ferrari