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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

News From the Atlantic Division

The division looked as tight as ever as of Sunday afternoon, with the Devils leading the way just barely, their 41 points rendering them at the top of the Atlantic. With their win last night against Calgary (Martin Brodeur's 95th career shutout, 1-0), they were able to pad their lead to five points over the Rangers, who had a chance to climb closer to the top spot with a game against Ottawa last night, but fell short, 3-1, despite a strong showing and resident shock artist Sean Avery returning to the lineup after wrist surgery. The Penguins were in a three-way tie with the Islanders and Flyers prior to their game against Boston, in which they burned Alex Auld for four goals to win 4-2 and tie with the Rangers for second. Meanwhile, the Flyers' six-game losing streak leaves them at the bottom of the division with the least amount of wins, despite once being on top of the Atlantic; with the Isles winning their last two straight games, they have the same amount of points as Philadelphia.

So, in case you didn't understand that, here's how it looks:

Devils- 20-13-3, 43 pts
Rangers- 17-15-4, 38 pts
Penguins- 18-16-2, 38 pts
Islanders- 17-15-2, 36 pts
Flyers- 16-14-4, 36 pts

This is a very competitive division, with once-strong teams (the Rangers, Flyers) fading and once-struggling clubs looking to get back into the race (Penguins, Isles). Most surprising is that the Devils, who had a sub-par start, now heading the top of the Atlantic Division, mainly because Martin Brodeur has shaken off his early-season slump to return to top form, though you can't overlook the efforts of the offense either.

After the Christmas break, the Rangers and Isles both have home games on Wednesday night, against the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs, respectively. As the Isles look to keep up the steady offense, stingy D and 60-minute effort, the Rangers will no doubt try to rebound from losing 8 of their last ten, and try to get some offense going, to crack the 40-point barrier.

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