Last week was arguably the most successful week for the Metropolitan Division. Among all eight teams, only two had one regulation loss. Only three had a post-regulation loss. Everyone was positive. So, of course, not a whole lot changed.
|Team||GP||W||L||OT||ROW||Pts.||Last Week||Ptl. Pts.|
Source: NHL.com - Links go to SBN Blogs
If you're someone who's sick of hearing about the Metropolitan is awful, then this is the time to brag about it to someone who compares divisions. The Philadelphia Flyers had the worst week among them all and they went 2-1-0. The Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that can afford some losing streaks right now, continue to dominate the East. The New York Rangers aren't just in fourth place but they're currently in a wild card position. Thanks to Toronto and Detroit sputtering, the wild card is now a feasible option. It's a big mess since the Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and Columbus Blue Jackets are in direct competition with Detroit, Toronto, and Ottawa for two spots. Still, the Metropolitian made a lot of noise.
If you're a fan of the teams chasing a playoff spot, then you didn't like this week. There's no reason to be upset. The Devils took five out of six points. Carolina's winning streak ended but only at the end. Columbus and the New York Islanders could have not done any better than they did by sweeping their weekly schedule. And they are in the same spot they were in last week because everyone in front of them also succeeded. The only change within the standings is a flip-flop of Philadelphia and the Washington Capitals, which is only because the Caps have played one fewer game than the Flyers. For those on the lower end, this week is a reminder that it's not enough to win, but help is needed to make up ground in the standings.
I do believe that there will be some changes this week. Everyone except for the division leaders will play a lot and there are a few games within the Metropolitan teams (those games are in bold).
|WSH||vs. BUF||vs. SJS||@ PIT||@ CBJ|
|PHI||@ NYR||@ BUF||vs. NSH||vs. NYI|
|NYR||vs. PHI||vs. TBL||vs. DET||@ OTT|
|CAR||vs. CGY||vs. FLA|
|NJD||@ TOR||@ MTL||@ COL||@ PHX|
|CBJ||vs. TBL||vs. WSH||@ BUF|
|NYI||@ DAL||@ FLA||@ TBL||@ PHI|
The Pittsburgh Penguins only have one game and it's a game every fan except for the Caps faithful in the Metropolitan want them to win. Keeping Washington at least within reach is in everyone's best interests except for Washington. What helps the Pens is that the Caps have a really tough week ahead. After a two-game week, they get Buffalo today, an absolutely brutal back-to-back against San Jose and a well-rested Pittsburgh team, and a game against a Columbus team that has every reason to play it like a playoff game. Good luck, Capitals.
The New Jersey Devils have a similarly difficult (more difficult?) week ahead. After taking on a slumping Toronto team tonight, they continue to travel to Montreal, a top three team in the Atlantic; Colorado, a top three team in the Central; and Phoenix, who isn't in the top three in the Pacific but are tricky nonetheless. The Devils really need to come out of this road trip with points if only to keep pace with the Rangers, Hurricanes, Flyers, and Capitals. With the Hurricanes only playing two games, it's an attainable goal. However, any lead won't be much as everyone around them will have played fewer games than them. The goal remains the same: get wins if you can, get points because you must.
Sunday features a game that could make an immediate change to the playoff picture: Rangers-Flyers. If only there was a way for both teams to lose. I don't just write that as a Devils diehard but also as someone considering the standings. As long as it's decided in regulation, either way works. It may be best for Philly to win it if only because the Rangers have a way easier week on paper. Whereas the Flyers have to go through three Atlantic teams that are at least not bad; the Rangers get three opponents near or at the bottom of their respective divisions. Here's hoping the Isles at least spoil their notions on Saturday night.
Are you surprised at how well everyone did in this last week? What do you think will happen within the Metropolitan Division in this coming week? Who will be in playoff positions by next Sunday's post? What do you expect out of the Devils as they go on a road trip? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the division and the upcoming schedule in the comments. Thank you for reading.