With a brand new season is another Sunday tradition returning to In Lou We Trust. It's the Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot. This is an opportunity for Devils fans and others to see what the division looks like on a week-to-week basis. Who did well, who did not do well, and who's priming themselves for a playoff position. Yes, playoff positioning doesn't mean much in October. However, all of the games count the same. What you don't win now can come back to haunt you later. The Flyers managed to overcome that by winning a whole lot later. The Devils, who won a whopping three games in all of October 2013, did not. So it's good to look at what's going on regularly.
For starters, the Devils are already close to matching October 2013's win total in just two games. They are technically in first based on the fourth tiebreaker: goal differential. Smashing Florida 5-1 added four to a differential of two, putting them ahead of the other three undefeated times for the time being. Therefore, they lead the first division snapshot of the season:
|Team||GP||W||L||OT||ROW||Pts||Last Week||Ptl. Pts.|
Source: NHL.com - Links to SBN Blogs
The Devils, Blue Jackets, and Islanders didn't just win their first two games. They also beat division rivals in the process, which will give them an edge in head-to-head matchups. The Devils survived a three-goal lead being blown up in beating the Flyers in a high-scoring game. On Saturday, the Blue Jackets smacked the Rangers down. The Islanders beat Carolina in a home-and-home. The Penguins, kings of the Metropolitan last season, got off to a strong start themselves. They survived a blown-lead scare against Anaheim and made the Toronto faithful angry in their house with a dominating win. Good for all of them.
The other half of the Metropolitan is halved between the haves and have-nots. The haves currently have a win; the have-nots, well, have not won a game yet. Washington and the Rangers got their first one out of the way. The Flyers started off with a busy schedule and came up with nothing. They lost a close one in Boston, couldn't keep up with New Jersey's goal scoring (ha ha ha) on the next night, and saw a three-goal lead disappear against Montreal on Saturday night. That last one was dragged into a shootout so they at least got a point. Carolina lost both their games to the Islanders and maybe Eric Staal on Saturday. Harsh start for the Canes.
Here's the schedule for all eight teams for the upcoming week. There are several games within the division, which should help break things up a bit. The "Ptl. Pts." for each team in the standings corresponds with how many points a team could potentially earn in this week based on this schedule. Teams in bold are inter-divison games.
|NJD||@ TBL||@ WSH||vs. SJS|
|CBJ||vs. DAL||vs. CGY||@ OTT|
|PIT||vs. DAL||vs. NYI|
|NYI||@ NYR||vs. SJS||@ PIT|
|WSH||vs. SJS||vs. NJD||vs. FLA|
|NYR||vs. TOR||vs. NYI||vs. CAR|
|PHI||vs. ANA||@ DAL|
|CAR||vs. BUF||@ NYR|
Starting from the bottom, Carolina has their best chance to add a "W" on Tuesday. Alternatively, it might be Buffalo's best chance too. It's really early in the season, but if Eric Staal truly suffered a significant injury, it's going to be a long season. They'll have a shot at trying to spoil the Rangers on Thursday, but I'm not terribly confident. As for the Flyers, they get some rest after playing three games in four nights to start the season. They'll host Anaheim and begin a three-game road trip on Saturday in Dallas. They could try to turn it around but it's not going to be easy.
Speaking of the Rangers, they'll get going right away as they are the only ones playing today. They'll get a Toronto team that got trounced by Pittsburgh on Saturday night before a rivalry game on Tuesday and Carolina on Thursday. All are at home, so Rangerstown denizens will get chances to see their team move on up. Washington also has three straight home games and a more intriguing set. They get San Jose - who's traveling through the division this week - followed by the Devils and then Florida. They could make a move up or maybe not. We'll see.
Among the undefeateds, the Islanders get three tough tests: Rangers, San Jose, and Penguins. I'm not confident they'll win all three but that would be a massive statement if they did. Winning the week would be a good one anyway. They had an awesome offseason so I'm not expecting to see them stuck in the basement in December like last season. It's still a tough week. Pittsburgh gets plenty of rest before their two games - hosting Dallas and the Isles - so I wouldn't expect them to get surprised by either. I would not be surprised if they remain undefeated. Columbus has Ryan Johansen back (and already producing) and the team has been productive. Eight goals for, three against, two wins. They get an interesting set as well: Dallas on Tuesday and a back-to-back with Calgary and Ottawa. That'll be a fun test; I don't think they'll stay undefeated but will stay near the top.
This brings us to the team that matters most on this site: the Devils. Their road trip will take them to Tampa Bay and Washington before a tough home opener against San Jose. If the Sharks can spoil the Kings' Cup ceremony, they can spoil a home opener. Also: they're rather good. So are Tampa Bay and Washington. Just ask Boston fans for the latter. Still, I'd like to think the Devils can take at least one win out of those three. That'll have them match last season's win total in October and keep them up in the Metropolitan. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and would be far better than standing still for, say, half of the month.
What do you think will happen in the coming week? Will Philadelphia and Carolina get their first wins of the season? Will the Rangers and Capitals move on up? Who will remain undefeated by next week? What do you expect out of the Devils? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the division and this upcoming week in the comments. Thank you for reading.