Through the first quarter of the season, the NHL has had some wild moments. The league is as competitive as ever, with many the teams still having a chance to make the postseason.
The surprises have added up in a short period. Let’s dive in to the biggest surprises through the first quarter of the season.
1. ARIZONA LEADS THE PACIFIC DIVISION
Coming into Friday, the Arizona Coyotes lead the Pacific Division. The Coyotes are looking to snap a lengthy playoff drought.
2. JOHN CARLSON IS ON A SCORING TEAR
The Capitals star defenseman is getting on the scoresheet in just about every game. Through 30 games, Carlson has recorded 11 goals and 42 points. Carlson will most likely be in the running for an All-Star bid and a potential Norris Trophy by season’s end.
3. BOSTON IS CRUISING AWAY WITH THE ATLANTIC DIVISION
Entering late Friday, the Bruins have a 14-point lead over second place Montreal. There are six teams within seven points of each other in the Atlantic Division. The Division is still very wide open.
4. WHERE’S TAMPA?
Tampa has been a juggernaut in the Atlantic Division over the last several seasons. The Lightning finished with 62 wins and a Presidents’ Trophy a season ago, but only have 13 wins through 26 games.
5. THE RECOVERING WILD
The Minnesota Wild had a slow start through their first 15 games, but the Wild have recovered nicely over the last few weeks. They have won five in a row, and have crawled back into the Western Conference Wild Card spot.
6. MIKE BABCOCK FIRING
The Maple Leafs made a coaching change a couple of weeks ago, as they fired Mike Babcock after a slow start. They brought in Sheldon Keefe to lead the Maple Leafs, but the coaching change still has not provided much of a spark for the Leafs.
7. BILL PETERS RESIGNATION
Bill Peters resigned as the Head Coach of the Calgary Flames on November 29 after admitting he used a racial slur toward former player Akim Aliu several years ago. This news came out soon after the Mike Babcock firing, as Babcock was in the center of locker room controversy during his stints in Toronto and Detroit.
8. THE NHL LEADING GOAL SCORER IS NOT NAMED OVECHKIN
While the hockey world is used to Alex Ovechkin being at the top of the goals list, Boston’s David Pastrnak is the top goal scorer through the quarter season mark. Pastrnak has recorded 25 goals in 29 games. Ovechkin is second in goals, as he has recorded 20 goals through 30 games.
9. LAST YEAR’S DIVISION WINNERS ARE STRUGGLING
The Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames won their respective divisions a season ago. Both teams have had slow starts through the quarter season mark. If the playoffs started today, both teams would not make the postseason.
10. CALE MAKAR IS LEADING THE NHL ROOKIE POINTS RACE
Makar has burst onto the scene for the Colorado Avalanche. The rookie defensemen leads all rookie skaters with 28 points.
By: George Foussekis