For the last several days, all five Atlantic Division teams--the Penguins, Rangers, Devils, Flyers, and Islanders--have been in the top seven of the standings in the Eastern conference, their supremacy interrupted only by the respective division leaders of the Southeast and Northeast Divisions.
It's probably not reasonable to expect all five Atlantic teams to make it into the playoffs this year. Based on their starts, Ottawa, Buffalo, and Boston should all have a pretty good chance of making it into the playoffs out of the Northeast, as will Carolina from the Southeast if they can turn things around. And though they are currently in the #7 slot, the Islanders have still only won five of their first fifteen games.
But even if five Atlantic teams in to the playoffs, there's a pretty good chance there will be four. Since divisional realignment began in the 1998-1999 season, the Atlantic Division has never sent fewer than three teams to the playoffs, a mark to which no other division comes close.
There have been four Atlantic Division representatives in the playoffs each of the last three years. No division had ever sent four teams to the playoffs on three separate occasions, much less in a consecutive, back-to-back-to-back fashion as the Atlantic did in 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Here are some more things you may not know about the illustrious Atlantic:
- The Atlantic is by far the most compact of the league's six divisions. The two most distant locales in the division, Mellon Arena and Nassau Colliseum, are a mere 336 miles apart.
- The Atlantic is the only division in which all five teams have won a Stanley Cup, with no other division having more than three previous Cup winners. Not only has every team in the division won a Stanley Cup, every team has done it at least twice.
- In the 2008 Playoffs, the none of the four Atlantic Division teams lost to a non-Atlantic foe until the Stanley Cup Finals, when Pittsburgh lost to Detroit.
After the jump, a highlight reel of each Atlantic Division team beating another Atlantic Division team in the first month of the season. Because not only do we have some good teams here in the Atlantic Division, we've also got some semblance of parity.
Flyers @ Devils 5-2 10/3/09
Penguins @ Islanders 4-3 SO 10/3/09
Rangers @ Devils 3-2 10/5/09
Devils @ Penguins 4-1, 10/24/09
Rangers @ Islanders 1-3 10/28/09