The Two Best Divisions in the NHL
By Patrick Hoffman
One of the best things about the National Hockey League today is parody.
Fans never know what they are going to see night and night out. There is also no such thing as an easy or gimmie game anymore so fans are able to see competitive hockey being played on a nightly basis in our favorite league.
In looking at the standings, it is very clear what the best two divisions are this season. That would be the Eastern Conference's Metropolitan Division and the Western Conference's Central Division.
As of this writing (Tuesday, December 19, 2017), in the Metropolitan Division, the New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals are tied for first with 43 points while the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets are two points behind both of them with 41 to take up the third spot in the division. One would think that based on these numbers, the rest of the teams in the division would be way behind, right?
WRONG. This division is extremely tight right now as both the New York Rangers and New York Islanders have 39 points while the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, and Philadelphia Flyers are all right behind with 37, and 35 points, respectfully.
When looking at the league standings, the division features three teams in the top ten in the league in the Devils, Capitals, and Blue Jackets. Even the Rangers (12th) and Islanders (13th) find themselves in the top 15.
In the Western Conference, the Central Division is just as competitive as the Metropolitan Division. This division features some of the league's elite clubs and come the last week of the season, all should still be in the running for a spot in the postseason.
Currently (Tuesday, December 19, 2017) the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues are tied atop the division with 46 points each. Sitting three points behind them are the soaring Winnipeg Jets, who appear to get better with each and every game they play.
When it comes to this division, you also cannot forget about the likes of the Chicago Blackhawks (39 points), Dallas Stars (38 points), and Minnesota Wild (37 points). Heck, even the Colorado Avalanche (34 points) have been a tough team to play against this season.
Obviously, the standings change on a nightly basis in this league. With that said, come playoff time, it can be said that a majority of the teams could potentially come from the Metropolitan and Central Divisions.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.