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NHL season update: East dominate standings

The top of the NHL standings is dominated by teams from the Eastern Conference, and with each seeking to tool up for the playoffs ahead of the March 3rd trade deadline, the battle for the Prince of Wales trophy is set to be a mighty one.

Boston Bruins continue to top the league and break historical NHL records, most recently becoming the joint quickest team to reach 90 points, doing so in 56 games.

They are -2500 to finish in first place and win the Presidents' Trophy which would give them home ice advantage through the playoffs where they have lost just twice this season (24-2-3 at TD Garden).

The Bruins are +200 to win the Eastern Conference and +400 to lift the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2011.

Ullmark enjoying great season

Netminder Linus Ullmark is -225 to win the Vezina Trophy as netminder of the year and not only does he lead the league in wins (30), save percentage (.938) and goals against (1.86) but in their most recent win, and sixth straight, the 29-year-old Swede became just the eighth goalie in NHL history to score a goal.

Nine points below Boston sits Carolina Hurricanes (+375 to win the Eastern Conference and +700 to lift the Stanley Cup), New Jersey Devils (+550 and +1000 respectively), Toronto Maple Leafs (+400 and +750) and Tampa Bay Lightning (+700 and +1200).

Vegas overcoming injury luck

Despite suffering terrible injury luck for a second season running, the Golden Knights are the highest team in the standings from the West and they are +550 to win the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl awarded to the Western Conference champions and +1400 to beat a heavyweight from the East and lift the Stanley Cup for the first time.

Vegas' 35-18-6 record and 6-1-3 in their last 10 is admirable after Captain Mark Stone was ruled out for the season and goalie Logan Thompson, already covering for number-one Robin Lehner, was placed on injured reserve week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Champions heating up

The reigning champions, Colorado Avalanche are 11th in the standings (33-19-5), but like the Golden Knights have had more than their fair share of bad injury luck, including to Captain Gabriel Landeskog who has been out for the entirety of the campaign.

With players returning and the playoffs getting close, the Avalanche have won five straight and gone 7-1-2 in their last 10.

Competitive West

Because no team in the West has been able to compile points like those in the East, it means the Central and Pacific Division titles are fully up for grabs.

The top four in the Central Division - Dallas Stars, Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild - are separated by just four points and six splits the Golden Knights, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Seattle Kraken in the Pacific.

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Seattle and Minnesota are the teams currently having to rely on a Wild Card spot from the West with Calgary Flames four points out but with all the teams so close, that could all change as the regular season reaches its dramatic climax.

Over in the East, New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins hold the two Wild Card places but face stiff competition from Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals who are all less than a handful of points behind.

O'Reilly a major addition for Leafs

Several major trade moves have already been made and more are expected with Arizona Coyote's highly sought-after defenseman Jakob Chychrun, Chicago Blackhawks' three-time Stanley Cup Champion Patrick Kane and San Jose Sharks' high-scoring Timo Meier the headline names on the market.

The Maple Leafs followed the Islanders' move for Bo Horvat in making a significant addition at centre by acquiring 32-year-old Ryan O'Reilly from St. Louis Blues as well as rugged bottom six forward Noel Acciari.

O'Reilly won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs in 2018/19 after scoring 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) as Captain in St. Louis' surprise run to the Cup.

Already, the 6'1" Canadian has made a big impression scoring five points in three games, including a hat-trick against a former team in Buffalo Sabres.

The Maple Leafs are all but certain to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs for a second consecutive season and O'Reilly's experience will prove important for a team with massive expectations, but who haven't won a playoffs series since 2004.

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