January 21, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek (26) celebrates a goal by forward Jason Pominville (29) during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Northeast Division Crowded At The Top

Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek are doing their best to make sure the Buffalo Sabres are an offensive threat against their opponents this year.

It seems like everyone else just wants to make it hard on opponents of the Buffalo Sabres.

Regardless, a quick look at the standings early in the 2012-2013 season sees a logjam of perfect teams atop the Northeast Division.

Three days into the shortened season, the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, and Boston Bruins are all tied with 2-0 records.  The teams are listed in that order in the standings based on respective tie breakers.

Inter division games are going to whittle out and make for separation amongst the teams – but if the Senators, Sabres and Bruins don’t lose all that often to the same opponents, it could be very difficult to break the Northeast out of the playoff picture.

Toronto has a lot of young faces, but with still a lot of talent left in the American Hockey League Toronto Marlies – I still think they are one or two seasons away from contending for a playoff spot.

Montreal seems to be in a downward spiral and haven’t hit rock bottom to start rebuilding just yet.

The Boston Bruins are a team built for war, and will contend for the Stanley Cup this year.  They have a solid deep roster – and will make a serious run at winning it all this year.  Ottawa and Buffalo have been on the cusp of greatness for several years, both teams just missing one or two pieces at the wrong time to prevent being that team that everyone wants to be like the next year.

It is no wonder that Steve Ott was excited to come and play in the hockey division.

The Northeast Division boasts three teams that have a positive goal differential, one that’s even.  Only the Montreal Canadiens have allowed more goals than they have scored, and that is because they played one game and lost by a goal.

If this were  a normal 82 game schedule, it would be less important that this article be written after two short games in the season.  The fact that we are two games into a 48 game schedule – means a lot more.

Buffalo’s success at the top of the division will be consistent if they can continue to play with the same intensity that they started the season with.  Every player has to play outside of the their comfort zone and play that role they might not be used to.

Drew Stafford is going to have to drop the gloves and stick up for his teammates.  Guys like John Scott will do their jobs no problem, but there will be times in the shortened grueling schedule that Patrick Kaleta will have to more dice rolling than Chesire cat impressions.

Toughness works, so does team defense, so does offensive output.  Three things that the Buffalo Sabres did well enough in two games to remain standing as undefeated – along with 12 other NHL teams at present.

2-0, can the Buffalo Sabres make it to 10 or more straight wins to start the season?

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Northeast

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