Top Ten Surprises Through the First Quarter of the 2019-20 Season

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Photo: @Capitals

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

About George Foussekis

I am a sports fanatic. I love hockey and football, and I enjoy writing about my two favorite sports. I am a proud Old Dominion University alum.
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3 Responses to Top Ten Surprises Through the First Quarter of the 2019-20 Season

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    We’ve had plenty of seasons where someone not named Ovechkin would be leading at the 1/3 or even the halfway point. But generally they would slow down. I doubt Pastrnak can sustain a 25% shooting percentage all season long.

    Like

  2. Diane Doyle says:

    One other surprise – there have been quite a few comebacks from 4 goal deficits this year, not just the Caps’ comeback vs Vancouver but some others as well. Jets vs Devils is one.

    Like

  3. Clifford Keefe says:

    Cale Makar was described by NHL scouts as a dynamic skater who creates offense whenever he’s on the ice. As I recall he was selected fourth overall by Colorado, the second defenseman taken in the draft, third overall after Miro Heiskanen. He was also the highest drafted player to come straight from the AJHL, and only the second player in the first round since Joe Colborne in 2008.

    With all of that in mind, George, why would you–or anyone–categorize Cale Makar’s performance this year as a “surprise”? Someone had to considered the best rookie defenseman in the league; why not him??

    End,

    Clifford
    Sta. Monica

    PS I think it’s a bit too early to conclude that Babcock’s replacement hasn’t had a favorable impact on the Leafs yet…

    PPS As for the Lightning, same thing. The sample size is too small to be concerned about their win total thus far. If they’re still playing .500 hockey halfway though the season then I’d be alarmed if I was a Tampa Bay fan…They’re too deep on both sides of the puck to panic just yet

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