Devils top Metropolitan at Christmas

27 December 2017 08:14:32 GMTPlus11

Only for the stunning performance of the Vegas Golden Knights the New Jersey Devils would easily be the story of the year in the NHL.

A first step towards respectability was considered a realistic goal for a New Jersey side that finished last in not only the Metropolitan Division, but also the Eastern Conference.

Instead the Devils jumped out to a quick early start, but more impressively have maintained that through the Christmas break, winning their last four to lead the Division by a point over the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

New Jersey does not lead the Division in goals scored, goals conceded, goal differential or home win percentage.

That would instead be respectively the New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, but the Devils do have the best mark away from home.

Whether that is sustainable is debatable and that the top five teams in the Division all lead a stat category speaks to how tight the Metropolitan is and should be with a little over half a season to play.

And then there's the matter of the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins who find themselves tied for sixth and eight points adrift of New Jersey having also played two more games than the Devils.

New Jersey returns to the ice on Wednesday when they welcome in the Detroit Red Wings to the Prudential Center in Newark.

The Buffalo Sabres follow on Friday before the Devils are in Washington for a show down with the Capitals.

New Jersey are 5001.00 to win the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay are 1.62 while the Penguins are 5000.00 to retain their crown.

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