As the NHL season nears its midway point, a clear trend has emerged in terms of goal differential by division. In the Atlantic Division, teams have combined for a +89 goal differential, which is significantly higher than the other three divisions.
The Metropolitan Division has a relatively modest +20 goal differential, while the Central Division has struggled and currently has a -41 goal differential. The Pacific Division has been the weakest of the four, with a -68 goal differential.
The Atlantic Division’s success can be attributed to several factors. First and foremost, the division features some of the NHL’s top teams, including the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have been among the league’s best in terms of goal differential. Additionally, the division has seen strong performances from teams like the Florida Panthers and the Buffalo Sabres, who have both been impressive offensively. The Sabres actually sit bottom of the Atlantic, but have a +12 goal differential.
In the Metropolitan Division, the New Jersey Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins have carried the load and been the driving force behind the division’s modest goal differential. The Devils sit at +33 while the Penguins sit at +18. Both teams have consistently put up goals and have been among the league’s best offensively. The flyers and Blue Jackets are holding the division back, rocking a -27 and -35 goal differential.
The Central Division, on the other hand, has been a different story. Despite boasting some of the NHL’s top teams, including the reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche and the dominant Dallas Stars, the division has struggled to keep the puck out of their own net. In fact, the division has seen several teams struggle defensively, which has contributed to the negative goal differential. Four teams in the central have a negative goal differential, the Predators, Blues, Coyotes, and Blackhawks. They currently sit at a -15, -23, -25, and -36.
Lastly, the Pacific Division has been the weakest of the four in terms of goal differential. The division has been led by the Vegas Golden Knights, who have been one of the NHL’s top teams this season. However, other teams in the division have struggled offensively, which has contributed to the negative goal differential, with a league high 5 teams in the negatives in goal differential.
Overall, the Atlantic Division has been the strongest in terms of goal differential, while the Pacific Division has been the weakest. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see if these trends continue or if teams in other divisions can turn things around and make a push for the playoffs.
The Bruins have the highest goal differential at +49, while the lowest is currently held by the Ducks, who are -60.